The Etiquette of Wedding Mailings

Feeling overwhelmed trying to remember all the wedding related etiquette?  You’re not alone!  This week, I’m starting a new series and will be sharing lots of info on commonly asked questions about everyone’s favorite topic, etiquette do's and don’ts! 

Today’s topic covers wedding invitations, save the dates, and rehearsal dinner invitations.  I’m giving you the details on when to send them, what to say and other helpful hints and tips, so get out your pens!

SAVE THE DATES

When To Mail: 6-8 months before the wedding date

What To Say: You can keep it brief on these cards and add pertinent information to your wedding website.  You need to let your guests know to put the date on their calendar, where your wedding will be (city and state), where to get more information and “formal invitation to follow.”  Here’s an example:

SAVE THE DATE

FOR THE WEDDING OF

MARGARET PENHAUSE & ZACHARY GATESMITH 

SEPTEMBER 8TH, 2017

KEY WEST, FLORIDA

FORMAL INVITATIONS TO FOLLOW

WWW.MARGARETANDZACH.COM

Hints and Tips: You don’t have to send a save the date if you don’t want to or are not prepared with your final guest list.  Don’t send a save the date to someone and then later decide to cut him or her from your list.  That’s a major no no and could lead to a pretty embarrassing exchange later on!  Be sure your wedding website is ready to go before you put these cards in the mail.  Your site should include information about where your guests can stay, and your wedding gift registries.

WEDDING INVITATIONS

When To Mail: 6-8 weeks before the wedding date

What To Say: There are a lot of variables that are relevant for a wedding invitation but here are the basics to include: who is hosting, who is getting married, where and when.   The level of formality should be conveyed in the invitation and there are definitely some traditional etiquette rules to follow. The beginning of the invitation should list who is hosting the wedding. "Honor (or Honour) of your presence" is used when the wedding is held in a church. "Pleasure of your company" is an appropriate substitution when the ceremony is held somewhere other than a church.  Here is a basic example of a traditional invitation:

MR. AND MRS. ZACHARY JAMES PENHAUSE, II

REQUEST THE HONOUR OF YOUR PRESENCE

AT THE MARRIAGE OF THEIR DAUGHTER

MARGARET SUSANNE

TO

ZACHARY MICHELL GATESMITH, III

SATURDAY, THE NINTH OF SEPTEMBER

TWO THOUSAND SEVENTEEN

AT HALF PAST FIVE O’CLOCK

SAINT ANNE’S CHURCH

KEY WEST, FLORIDA

Here is an example of wording for an invitation in which both families are hosting the wedding.  In this example the ceremony and the reception are at the same location, so it is acceptable to add “Dinner and Dancing To Follow” on the same card.    

 TOGETHER WITH THEIR FAMILIES

MARGARET SUSANNE PENHAUSE

AND

ZACHARY MICHELL GATESMITH, III

REQUEST THE PLEASURE OF YOUR COMPANY

AT THE CELEBRATION OF THEIR WEDDING

SATURDAY, THE NINTH OF SEPTEMBER

TWO THOUSAND SEVENTEEN

AT HALF PAST FIVE O’CLOCK

HEMINGWAY HOME & MUSEUM

KEY WEST, FLORIDA

DINNER & DANCING TO FOLLOW

If the ceremony is in a church and the reception is in a second location (like the first traditional example), you’ll also need a reception card to share the party location information.  It is not appropriate to list the address of the church on a formal invitation; however, it is okay to list the complete address for the reception on this card.  Here is an example:

PLEASE JOIN US FOR

COCKTAILS, DINNER & DANCING

IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING THE CEREMONY

THE HEMINGWAY HOME & MUSEUM

907 WHITEHEAD STREET

KEY WEST, FLORIDA

You’ll also need an RSVP card with an addressed and pre-stamped envelope for guests to let you know if they will be in attendance.  You’ll need to include the reply by date (a minimum of 2-3 weeks before the wedding date), space for names, space to accept or decline, and space to note allergies or dietary considerations.  Here is an example:

THE FAVOUR OF YOUR REPLY

IS REQUESTED BY

THE NINETEENTH OF AUGUST

M________________________________

______ JOYFULLY ACCEPT

_____ REGRETFULLY DECLINE

__________________________________

PLEASE NOTE ANY ALLERGIES OR SPECIAL DIETARY CONSIDERATIONS 

Hints and Tips:  Don’t try to do your wedding invitations on your own!  Be sure to consult an expert who is well versed in etiquette to make sure you’ve crossed your t’s and dotted your i’s before sending your invitations.  Also be sure to take your invitations to the post office to check for weight and size before purchasing all your postage.  Remember you’ll need one stamp for your RSVP envelope too.

REHEARSAL DINNER INVITATIONS

When To Mail: 1 week after the wedding invitations

What To Say: There is no hard and fast etiquette for this invitation verbiage, so feel free to have fun while you convey the basics of who is hosting, where and when.  You’ll also need an RSVP option for this party too, but an electronic RSVP can be acceptable depending on the level of formality of the party.  Here is an example:

ON THE NIGHT BEFORE THE BIG DAY

JOIN US AS WE CELEBRATE

MARAGET PENHAUSE & ZACHARY GATESMITH

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 8TH, 2017

AT 5:30PM

KEY LARGO LIGHTHOUSE

KEY WEST, FLORIDA

HOSTED BY ZACHARY AND SARAH GATESMITH

RSVP TO: GATESMITHREHEARSAL@GMAIL.COM

Hints and Tips:  It’s a common misconception that the rehearsal dinner invitation should be mailed in the same envelope as the wedding invitation.  Any party that is hosted by someone different should have a separate invitation, with a separate envelope and unique method to RSVP.  It is proper etiquette to send a wedding invitation and then a separate rehearsal dinner invitation 1 week after.

So there you have it, wedding mailing etiquette 101.  You won’t want to miss later this week as I’m sharing tips and hints for addressing all this pretty mailings.  Until then, try your best to keep it proper and I will too! 

BK