Your ultimate guide to wedding invitation etiquette: when to send them, what to include, who to include and more!
Quick etiquette tip before we dive in: If someone received a Save the Date from you, they will be expecting an invitation!
To hopefully clear up some confusion early on, I would include exactly who is invited on the envelope of the Save the Date. Address it with the exact names of those invited. Don’t say “Smith Family” if you intend to only invite the parents, and not the kids. Then, you’ll of course do this again on your invitations.
If you didn’t get this specific on your Save the Date cards, that’s okay! Just make sure you’re as specific as possible when addressing the envelopes of your wedding invitations.
When to send out Wedding Invitations
It is recommended that you send out your formal invitations 6-8 weeks before your wedding. If you are having a destination wedding, 3 months out is the recommended time.
Wedding Invitation RSVP deadline
Make your RSVP deadline no later than 1 month before your wedding. You’ll need plenty of time to get your final guest count to your vendors, especially your caterer and venue. Of course, pay attention to those deadlines before you set your RSVP date.
Unfortunately, you’ll probably need a little wiggle room to chase down those who struggle to RSVP on time. Give yourself enough time to do that so it doesn’t cause you extra stress (or better yet, delegate that task to an organized wedding party member or family member.)
What to include on your Wedding Invitations:
- Your names
- Your wedding date
- The starting time of your ceremony
- Your wedding venue and address
- A link to your wedding website (if you have one)
- Your registry options
- Accommodations and the name for room blocks if you have them
- If your ceremony and reception are at the same venue, you could just say “reception to follow” or “cocktail hour and reception to follow”
- If your ceremony and reception are at separate venues, you might want to include the start time for the cocktail hour, and of course include the addresses of both venues
- If your guests have to make food choices, you’ll want to include that on their RSVP cards as well
- If you are having a kid-free wedding, many couples opt to include a line about that on their invite. You might be shocked at how many times we’ve heard of guests just showing up with their kids, even though it was fairly obvious on the invitation that they weren’t invited.
And remember, include the names of the exact people you are inviting on the envelope of the invitation. For example, “Bob and Sally Smith.” Or “Bob, Sally and Lisa Smith” if their daughter Lisa is invited. It is pretty customary to include a guest with a single person. In that case, you would write “Bob Smith and Guest.”
If you do have a wedding website, you can include more information on your website, and less on your actual invitations. You can include registry options, accommodations, a day-of schedule, extra addresses and locations, etc. You can then remove those things from your invitation and just include a line that says “for more information, visit our wedding website: ___.com.”
Wedding Invitations Pro Tip
Number your RSVP cards!! On the back of your RSVP card, put the number in small writing in the corner. On your guest list spreadsheet (or handwritten list), assign each guest a number. Then put that number on their particular RSVP card. It’s a little extra work, but again, another surprising detail – a LOT of people fail to put their NAMES on their RSVP cards. Kind of crazy, but it happens. With your number system, you won’t have to figure out who sent it.
One card, or an invitation suite?
If you are trying to fit all of this information on one card, you’re probably better off including a link to a wedding website, where you can include more detail without making the card too crowded.
If you want my advice on what makes your wedding look a little more formal and high end, and what looks BEST for photos and leveling up your details – it’s always going to be a multi-piece invitation suite.
These are one of my favorite things to photograph because you can include so many other little details from the day – like flowers, rings, jewelry, ribbon, etc. – in a gorgeous flat lay. The pieces bring out your wedding colors and style, and look beautiful together. It also allows you to include more information, without relying on your guests going to your wedding website.
Do you have more questions about wedding invitations and save the dates? Leave a comment below or contact me here! I love connecting with wedding couples!
Did you know you can order a free sample of wedding invitations and save the dates from Minted? It’s a great way to get a feel for the type of paper, colors and style you like best!