Wedding Invitation Etiquette – Getting It Right from the Start

Your wedding invitations are the first thing most people will see, and there are a lot of best practices regarding wedding invitation etiquette (for example, the wedding invitation wording and the timeliness of them being sent out). Thus, so it’s essential to get it right. Simple wedding invitation wording and style

Whether you’re having your own wedding invitations designed or hand crafted, or are planning to buy personalized invites,
you’ll want to make sure that you get the perfect design at the right budget.

Creating Your Guest List

Before you really start on this, you’ll need to have discussed the wedding budget which for most couples dictates how many
people they can invite to both the wedding and the reception. 

You may find that you will invite everyone on your list to the wedding, but only a select few to the
reception.  This is increasingly common and is perfectly acceptable wedding invitation etiquette. Many couples compromise by having an evening event such as a
party or disco which all their friends may attend.

It may take you several weeks to put together your final list of wedding guests. 

Start with both the bride and groom writing down a list of family and friends that they would
like to be present for their wedding day.  Then both the bride’s parents and the groom’s parents create
their own list of friends and family that they wish to invite. 

The next step is one that requires tact, diplomacy and infinite patience – how do you whittle down the massive
list to the number that you are able to invite?  This may be done by negotiation between all parties, but
remember that it’s tradition to have the guests of the bride and groom on different sides of the church, so
having widely differing numbers may be a little awkward. 

Wedding Invitation Etiquette

Once a final guest list has been agreed upon, it is usually seen as the duty of the mother of the bride to send
out the wedding invitations, together with her husband (if married) and her daughter.  However, in practice, it
may well be something that the mother and
enjoy and prepare together.

Do ensure that you check the final list with the groom’s family, and let them have a copy of the list, where
possible, so they can help you in planning for the final numbers (not everyone will RSVP!)

You may need to liaise with various family members to get the latest correct addresses for people that you
haven’t been in touch with for a while, but it’s worth checking now, rather than having a last minute panic attack when you
realize that they haven’t replied and you have to chase them in the weeks just before the wedding. 

Wedding invitation etiquette dictates sending them as early as possible. The earlier you send out your wedding invitations, the easier it is for people to make plans to be able to
attend and join in with your celebrations.  However, if there is likely to be a delay in selecting, printing
or making the final invitations, some people choose to send out a “save the date” card, which allows people to book
the date of the wedding day in their diaries, without having to have a formal invitation.

For a cocktail wedding party invitation, which can be a classy but low stress option, you’ll want to ensure your
guests know what to wear and what to expect, and the wedding invitation wording will help to convey this.  In
particular, a more casual invitation, will imply a more relaxed style of event. 

If you’d like to help guests with a little advice on what to wear to a wedding, you could include an enclosure with your
invitations with some simple tips on whether it’s formal, semi formal or casual, and what styles of dress would
therefore be appropriate.

Of course, with many of the social networking sites, it’s easier to let everyone know, but for older relatives,
a save the date card or phone call may be all it takes to ensure they are able to attend.

Wedding Invitation Wording

Your wedding invitation wording is a key element of wedding invitation etiquette, and will largely depend on the formality of your wedding, and also whether your parents
are married, separated or divorced.

This is a point at which some couples panic, but it’s unlikely that your own unique family situation hasn’t
arisen before, and there will be a template for the correct etiquette for wording your wedding invitations available.

Recommended Resources

Etiquette on Wedding Gifts – tips on buying gifts for the newly married

Mother of the Bride Dresses –  ideas on suitable clothing
& outfits for the mother of the bride



  1. What to do about people who invite themselves to wedding thru family member?

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