Photo: Camille Fontanez Photography
When it comes to sending out your wedding invitations, the process can be a little nerve-wracking. From addressing the envelopes to dealing with plus-ones and kids, there are a lot of etiquette issues that come with sending out your save-the-dates and invitations—and fortunately, we’re here to answer your invite-related questions!
What is an inner envelope? Do I need one?
An inner envelope is technically a way to further protect the invitation and keep the whole suite looking clean and pretty after going through the mailing process. The inner envelope also is supposed to spell out exactly who is invited to the wedding. For example, if you are inviting a family with children, the inner envelope would list out all of the children’s names. While you don’t have to include inner envelopes with your invitation suite, it is a nice tradition, particularly for more formal invitations.
When should I send my save-the-date and invitations?
Send out save-the-dates as soon as you can—particularly if many of your guests will have to travel to your wedding. For a hometown wedding, at least four months is a good rule of thumb, but six months is ideal (start a wedding checklist to make sure you stay on track!). For a destination wedding, you can send your save-the-dates up to a year in advance if possible. Wedding invitations are typically sent out six to eight week before the big day. If you’re having a destination wedding, however, we recommend sending out your invitations two to three months in advance to ensure that guests secure their travel with ample time.
Can I include registry information on my wedding invitation or save-the-date?
Any invitation that is sent by you or your family members should not include registry information on it—it looks like you are directly asking for gifts, which is a no-no. So that means you can’t include registry information on your wedding invitations or save-the-dates. However, there is a way to get around that. On your save-the-date, include your wedding website information and then include links to your registry or registries on your website.
What information must I include on my invitation?
Here’s a brief rundown. You’ll need to include the three w’s—who’s getting married, when the wedding is taking place (both date and time), and where it is (name of venue and address). You’ll also want to include the names of who’s hosting (if your parents or others are paying for a portion of the wedding, it’s an important courtesy to give them a shout-out). You’ll ideally want to keep the information on your actual invitation relatively short, so any additional information can be included on inserts within the envelope.
When should the reply deadline be?
Ideally, your guests will reply to your invitation shortly after receiving it, but we all know that isn’t always the case. We recommend making your RSVP deadline about three weeks before your wedding day. That way, you’ll have enough time to track down any stragglers if necessary and still be able to create your seating chart and escort cards in a timely fashion.
Is there a polite way to tell people on the wedding invitation that they can’t bring plus-ones or kids?
Not really. The best thing you can do is be as clear as possible when addressing your envelopes—and use an inner envelope (see above) if you can. By listing the exact names of those who are invited will leave little room for other guests to be added on. Another idea is to write the exact names of the invited people to the RSVP card so that guests can’t write in additional names. Of course, there may very well be guests who will try to add their plus-ones and/or children to the RSVP. In those cases, you or your future spouse will just have to calmly and politely reach out and let them know that there isn’t space or budget to include extra guests.
How much postage will I need per invitation?
Many couples don’t factor invitation and save-the-date postage into their budget—and it actually can cost quite a lot—sometimes over a dollar each! The amount of postage you’ll need per invitation depends on its shape, size, and weight. Before mailing your invitation, take a fully assembled invite to the post office and weigh it to ensure you’re including the right postage. Also, as you’re picking out your invitations, note that there’s an additional 21-cent surcharge for square envelopes, those that don’t bend easily or those with “non-standard closures” because these invitations can’t go through standard post office machines.
What inserts do I need to include?
Aside from the main wedding invitation, you may need to include the following: RSVP card with self-addressed and stamped envelope, a reception card (if your ceremony and reception are in different locations, this is a nice-to-have), and a direction card. You may also choose to include a card that lists options for accommodation or a card that includes your wedding website information. And if everyone on your guest list is invited to a post-wedding brunch or other event, you can include a short insert with the details. Note that rehearsal dinner invitations are typically sent separately, particularly if not all guests are invited.
Do we have to include dress code information on our invitation?
If you’re not having a strict dress code, you don’t have to include dress code information on your invitation—you just have to be okay with your guests dressing however they want. But if you would like your guests to dress in a certain formality—for example, black tie or semiformal—you can include this information on the lower right corner of your invitation or reception card.
What is proper wording to address the envelopes? Do the addresses need to be hand-written?
Yes, it is proper etiquette for wedding invitation envelopes to be hand-written—this is an important event and your invitations and envelopes should feel just as special. If you’re having a calligrapher address your envelopes (a beautiful and classic touch!) they will be able to assist you with proper envelope addressing etiquette. You can also check out our guide to envelope addressing etiquette to help you figure out any tricky situations.