Thursday, 16 February 2012

Invitation Ettiquette - How to word, send and address invites

It's not always possible to invite all your friends and family to every part of your special day.  This is taken as a given nowadays and as time has gone on people have become less offended at receiving 'Reception only' invitations.  What's more, if you're having a religious ceremony, some non-religious people may prefer to receive an evening only invite.

Invitations are the first indicator your guests will have about the day so it is important to give them a flavour of what to expect.  Setting the right tone in the words is also critical.  There is no right or wrong way to write this; it's all about the kind of day you're having.  There's nothing wrong with sending an email if you're planning a very informal event.

The first thing to get right is "Who is hosting the wedding?"  Long gone are the days of the bride's parents hosting the day as most couples pay for their wedding themselves now, although some feel that this is a nice way to include their families in the planning: by asking them to look after the guest list and chase up responses.

If the bride's parents are hosting:

Mr and Mrs P J Brown request the pleasure of your company

at the marriage of their daughter

Mary Anne


Mr John Andrew Smith

The wording is altered slightly if the groom's parents are hosting and the order of the names is changed.

If the parents are seperated and one has remarried, the invitation should read as follows:

Mr P J Brown and Mrs S A Jones request the pleasure of your company

at the marriage of their daughter

Mary Anne.... etc

If the parents are merely seperated but not remarried, use the above wording but giving the mother's unchanged surname.

If the couple are hosting, an invite should read:

John Smith and Mary Brown request the pleasure of your company

at their marriage on....

In this context, middle names are not appropriate.  This wording is also suitable if another family member or a good friend is hosting the event.  However, ensure you include the names of the bride and groom as per the previous two descriptions.

 Charlotte Balbier

Whilst many guests will not be offended at only being asked to attend the evening of wedding reception, it is still a HUUUUUGE faux pas to invite guests on paper to the church and not to the formal reception.  Worse is to invite them to the church and then the evening.  You are effectively banishing them and sending them away from the festivites to fend for themselves.  This is simply unacceptable, especially if those guests have had to travel any way to be with you.  Guests deserved to be treated to pleasant day out just as much as you deserve to have a day you'll remember for the rest of your life.  If you want guests to attend the church and then an evening reception, send an invitation for the evening do and then verbally invite them to the church.  Churches are opening buildings and are not permitted to exclude anyone from a wedding service.  Guests should be made to feel that they are welcome to attend the ceremony, but it is not essential.

I Source unknown

Other things that are important to include with the wedding invite are maps - particularly important if you have guests who are not familiar with the area you're getting hitched in; wedding gift list - not the taboo thing it once was; any hints/ideas for your dress code (if you're having one); and any protocols that might be pertinent to your venue.  For instance, many churches and hotels do not permit the throwing of confetti, so you might like to suggest your guests blow bubbles instead.

 For most wedding invitations, you need to allow at least 6 weeks notice before the event.  This should double if you're expecting people to travel abroad for the day.  Set a date on the invite for guests to RSVP by.  To ensure you get all your responses, include a response card and a stamp-addressed envelope so that invitees do not have to think about sending their response back.  You can also set up a dedicated wedding email for extra busy people in your life.  Webmail accounts from Google and Yahoo are free.  This email account can also be used strictly for wedding  business, such a liaising with venues and caterers.  Try to keep the address short but memorable: robjanewedding20062012@.... etc.

1 comment:

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