10 Wedding Invitation Etiquette Questions Answered

What to say, when to send, how to address - fear not! On Three has the answers to the top 10 questions brides & grooms have about their wedding invitations.

Photo by Laura Ann Miller Photography

Photo by Laura Ann Miller Photography

Your wedding invitations are one of the most important pieces of the wedding planning puzzle. They offer your guests valuable information. They can also be used as a tool for giving your guests subtle answers on the how-to's and who to's. Make sure to skim through these etiquette Q&A's for all of your pressing wedding invitation questions. If you have chosen to reserve a block of rooms at a specific hotel, be sure to communicate that clearly to your guests on the Save the Date or on your wedding website. As a reminder, this information should also be included on a separate accommodations card to be sent along with your wedding invitation suite.

1. When should I send out our wedding invitations?

Wedding Invitations should be in the mail 6-8 weeks before the big day. If you're wedding is a destination wedding or over a holiday weekend, make sure they are in the mail 8 - 10 weeks ahead of time. This will allow your guests plenty of time to make the necessary accommodations and reservations for your big day.

On Three's word to the wise: This may seem like a given, but make sure you have the proper amount of postage on your envelopes! Be sure to bring a fully assembled invitation to your post office prior to buying postage. They will help you determine the correct amount so you can be sure your invitations will arrive on time and with no problems!

2. When should the deadline be for the return of the RSVPs?

Your RSVP's should be sent back two to three weeks before your wedding date. You will want to give your venue/caterer the final guest count so they have ample time to prepare. Make sure you give yourself enough time to contact anyone who has not responded.

3. Where should I include our wedding website information?

The best place to include your wedding website information is on the Save the Date. If you are opting out of the Save the Date, add a small insert along with your wedding invitations that includes the website and any other valuable information that your guests might need.

On Three's word to the wise: In this digital era, many of us are over-posting online and on social media. It is fine to post what you ate for breakfast but it is definitely not Ok to post your wedding website. Unless of course, you plan on inviting all 2,500 of your closest Facebook friends. (Seriously though, just don't.)

4. Is it OK to include our registry info on the wedding invitation or save the dates?

For the sake of being polite, it is not OK to publish your registry information on the invitation or save the date. To your guest, this may seem like an aggressive way to demand gifts. The best way to spread the word is to tell your close family and friends and ask them to help inform the other guests. You may also take advantage of your wedding website to list the stores in which you are registered.

5. How do we tell our guests about the dress code?

The first clue you can give your guests is to reflect the tone of the event in your invitations. For a black tie event, go with a more traditional or classic invitation with elegant script fonts for your invitation suite. If your invitation includes more casual fonts and fun, bright colors you might suggest a more casual atmosphere to your guests. Again, your wedding website might be your best friend here! Feel free to listing this information in a Q&A section on your wedding website. If you wish to take a more direct approach, it is OK to list the dress code at the bottom of your reception card with a simple note such as "black tie optional" or "semi formal attire".

6. We're having an adults only ceremony/reception (no kids). How can we make sure that this is clear to our guests?

The best and most appropriate way to make your invitation clear is in the way you choose to address your invitations. Be sure to include everyone by name as opposed to "Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Jones and family". That way, there is absolutely no confusion on who is and is not invited. It may be a nice gesture to offer some type of childcare service for the night of your wedding so the adults can have a fun, child-free evening with you.

7. Do we have to invite all of our single guests with a date/+1?

Nope! As a general rule of thumb, I always suggest if guests are in a serious relationship or living with someone, you should invite that person. Make sure that you address your invitation to that person by name on the envelope (more on this below). If your venue and budget allows, it is a very nice gesture to extend a +1 to your single guests, especially if most of your guests are paired up. You want to be sure that everyone is having a good time and if you think that person would feel uncomfortable alone, giving them someone else to hang with is worth consideration!

On Three's word to the wise: If you have a guest who has RSVP for someone that you did not invite, it is completely OK for you to contact that person and tell them "no". Explain to them that you would like to keep your wedding intimate and you are regrettably unable to give every guest a +1.

8. If our wedding reception is small, is it OK to invite people to the ceremony only?

Unfortunately, this is a big no. Anyone that is invited to the ceremony needs to be invited to the reception. If you do not invite certain guests to the reception, it is almost as if you are telling them that they are not worth the money to provide them with a meal. Always, always invite ceremony guests to the reception.

9. I invited a friend and his girlfriend (by name on the invite) to our wedding. They have recently broken up. He wants to bring another date that I don't know/don't like. Can I tell him no?

You sure can! The key here is in how you've addressed your invitation. As long as you have invited your friend and his girlfriend by name, you are OK to say no to the new beau. If you've written "and guest", that suggests free reign to invite whomever your friend likes, whether you approve or not.

On Three's word to the wise: ALWAYS, always address your invitations to your guests by name unless you are extending a general +1 to a single guest.

10. Who's address should be printed as the return address and address for the return of the RSVPS?

Generally, whomever is hosting the event should be in charge of the RSVP's. Make sure to have the address of the host(s) on the back of the outer envelope and the front of the RSVP envelope. Don't forget to include proper postage on your RSVP envelope. This will ensure that your guest will return your RSVP with ease and (hopefully) in a timely manor.