Thanks to internet registries and event websites, wedding invitation etiquette has significantly changed over the years. While there's no right way to approach writing and sending out your invites, there are some serious mistakes people have made in the past. Avoid unnecessary drama in the weeks leading up to your big day by following these modern etiquette guidelines for all of your wedding invitations.
Confirm Everyone's Current Name and Address
When you're filling out your invitations, you want to make sure that none get lost in transit. To avoid this, double check with all your potential guests about what their most current names and addresses are. Just because you know where their house is doesn't mean that their mailing address matches their street one.
Additionally, friends and family might have changed first names, last names, or pronouns since the last time you spoke. To make everyone feel included, check in with them so you know that you're putting the right information down the first time.
Organize Your Addresses by Last Name
If you're physically filling out your invitations yourself or are having a friend/family member do it for you, there are bound to be a few mistakes made along the way. A quick tip for avoiding any mismatched names and addresses is to organize your list by last name and then first name. You'd be surprised at the number of people who have multiple friends with the same first or last names.
Taking this extra step to double organize your list will let you catch any preliminary mistakes before you commit them to paper and send them off to the wrong person.
Send Invitations Out at Least 6 Months in Advance
When you're planning a wedding, you need to be conscious of the fact that most people's jobs need more than a few weeks of notice for them to get the time off, and that people need time to make any arrangements, such as buying plane tickets, reserving hotel rooms, etc. To make things go as smoothly as possible, send out your invites six months in advance.
Realistically, if you're expecting everyone on your guest list to attend the wedding, then you shouldn't plan a wedding date that's only a few weeks after you've sent out the invites.
Keep Information to One Page
Being concise is hard, especially when it's about something you're excited to share. Yet, people don't need to be overwhelmed with a ton of information on your wedding invite. The purpose of a wedding invitation is to let people know the absolute necessities of the event, and where they can look or who they can contact for more information. Keep it simple and stick to only one page of info.
Specify When Someone Gets a +1
There's no rule that you have to give every guest a +1. But, you don't get to choose who your guests bring, and it's impolite to ban someone from coming ahead of time. If you're concerned about who someone might bring along, don't give them the option of a +1.
If you're using a wedding website, these often come with customizable RSVPS where they can include their +1 or prevent people from listing one. If you're sticking to traditional mail-in RSVPS, then on the return invite, write out the people's names who you don't want to get +1s on the return line. That way, there's no other write-in options or any space to indicate that you're inviting anyone else other than them.
If Possible, Go Digital With RSVPs
We recommend that if you have the opportunity to, you go digital with your RSVPs. This can look like designating one person's phone number to receive texted RSVPs or using a website like Paperless Post that lets guests respond directly there.
It's eco-friendly, less expensive, and more efficient. You're much likelier to get RSVPs within a few days of sending out your invites if all people have to do is click a link and press yes or no. The digital age is well and truly upon us, so it's better to embrace it with open arms.
Be Clear About Any Expectations You Have
A wedding invitation isn't only a piece of paper letting someone know the date, time, and location of your wedding; it's also a guest's lifeline for any information they need to know ahead of time to determine if they're even interested in RSVPing.
The harsh reality of wedding planning is that not every guest wants to abide by the rules you set out. Destination weddings, for example, are a huge barrier to entry for so many people because of the time and cost commitments. Additionally, some families aren't comfortable with leaving their kids at home to attend a child-free wedding.
This isn't to say you should compromise on the aspects of your wedding that you want to have. After all, the event is, first and foremost, for you and your partner. But, you should respect your guests' wants and needs enough to be clear about what you expect before they commit to showing up.
Give Guests Access to Your Registry Information
Inevitably, guests are going to ask if you have a registry and where they can send any gifts. To prevent any family member from getting a thousand text messages about what you and your partner need and if they can bring it to the wedding or should ship it ahead of time, include a link or QR code to your wedding website that has your registry information on it.
This way, you're not directly telling guests to spend more money on you, but giving people who want to celebrate in a material way the chance to do so. This is especially important to do if you're not going to have a wedding shower. Showers are less and less popular as people take long vacations for their bachelorette and bachelor parties instead, so clearing the air right away is a must.
Most Importantly - Only Send Invitations to People You Want to Attend
There's an age-old hack that people have used when it comes to special events where they send out invites to every family member they know in order to get as many gifts as possible. But when it comes to a wedding, that's a dangerous game to play.
Don't send out wedding invitations to anyone that you don't want to show up. Your sketchy great-uncle Larry might slip you a $20 bill in the mail as a congratulations, but he also might turn up on the day (even without RSVPing). To avoid any uncomfortable conversations or stress about finding extra seating and dinner plates, just stick to an invitation list of the guests you're hoping show up.
Wedding Invitations Don't Have to Be Complicated
Sending out your wedding invitations should be the least stressful thing you do in the months before the big day. As humans, we love overcomplicating things and worrying about every little detail that most people aren't even going to notice. Prevent the stress from sparking in the first place by being intentional and thoughtful with what you include on your wedding invites. Guests want to share the love, and you should make it easy for them to do so.