Planning a wedding? Take a deep breath, because we’re here to help. We are your exclusive resource for wedding etiquette tips, and we specialize in assisting our customers with save the dates, wedding invitations, thank you notes and so much more. Let us be your guide during the process of planning your wedding and designing your stationery, so you can kick back, relax, and enjoy a stolen moment or two with your soon-to-be-spouse. Wedding propriety and traditions have changed over time, but there are still some basic guidelines that everyone should be familiar with.
Celebrating the Engagement and Planning
From all of us here at eInvite, congratulations! Engagement will be one of the most exciting times of your life, and all your friends and loved ones will love being part of the celebrations. Before rushing off to design your save the dates, you should start by doing some research. Bridal magazines and Pinterest are great sources of inspiration, but you should also have a conversation with your soon-to-be-spouse. Both of you should be on the same page about how you want to get married and what kind of budget is realistic for the ceremony, reception, and all the other details.
No one wants to start planning a wedding only to realize he or she spent too much money on one thing. Make the planning process much easier on you and your loved ones by setting approximate spending limits for every detail of the big day. As you begin the process of planning, remain conscious of how much time, money, and resources you are allocating to each aspect of the event. Every friend and family member will share their opinions or experiences, but it is important that you stay true to what you and your partner want most from a wedding.
Creating the Guest List for Your Event(s)
Weddings take every shape and form these days. Some couples are trading in the traditional vows for destination weddings or unconventional wedding weekends, so they can squeeze in as much time with loved ones as possible.
Finalizing your guest list is not a priority as soon as you are engaged, but it is helpful to have a rough guest count when you are searching for venues. Your guest list should include all your closest friends and family members, as well as aunts, uncles, cousins, and other extended family members. Your guest list might also include old college roommates or best friends from childhood. Having trouble trimming your guest list? You can restrict plus one options or host an adults-only event.
Once you have your guest list and have chosen your wedding invitation, consider using our Guest Addressing service to add a professional look to your envelopes AND save you the time and hassle of all of that writing!
Choosing the Perfect Wedding Venue
Finding the perfect venue may seem like an uphill battle, but there are several ways you can save time and energy. Start by looking at where you want to host your event. An approximate guest count can be very helpful because some venues are limited by capacity due to space or resources. Your venue decision may also depend on the kinds of guests you invite. If a lot of children or out-of-town guests are attending your event, access and ease of travel may influence your final decision. You may also want to consider whether you want to host the ceremony and reception at two different locations or make it easy for everyone by hosting them in one convenient place.
Wedding venues usually have or provide preferred vendor lists to help you with other products or services you may need for the big day, such as florists, entertainment, photography, videography, and much more. Before signing any contracts or paying your deposit, you should take time to carefully read all the fine print of your chosen venue. You might also ask for any discounts or specials to find unique ways to save or bundle amenities.
Finding a Creative Catering Company
Although sit-down meals are still quite popular, contemporary couples are getting creative when it comes to the menu or buffet of their events. Look for caterers with unique menu selections or food station options. Your food is one of the most important components of the big day, and your guests will remember the way you made their taste buds feel.
Once you have chosen your venue and have an approximate guest list, make a budget for food by calculating costs per person. You may find ways to save money by hiring a food truck or mobile catering company. Some couples are swapping traditional wedding cake for more creative desserts, such as cookies, donuts, ice cream, pies, s’mores, or other tasty treats that will satisfy any sweet tooth.
Attire for Bridesmaids and Groomsmen
While keeping your budget in mind, start shopping for bridesmaid dresses and groomsmen attire. Again, Pinterest is an excellent resource for inspiration, but you can also request fabric samples from most of the top wedding retailers. Designer brands will be more than happy to send you swatches of dresses, suits, or tuxedos.
Sending Save the Dates and Invitations
Traditionally, save the date cards are sent up to six months in advance. If you decide to send your save the dates earlier than six months, there is a possibility that your wedding date or venue could change. Save the dates are not essential, but they are very helpful when you are planning one to two years in advance.
Wedding invitations are traditionally sent six to 10 weeks prior to the event, but they can be ordered much earlier if you would like to get a head start on planning and designing your stationery. While shopping for wedding invitations, you should look for ways to save by bundling your invites with RSVP cards or thank you notes. Your wedding invites should include all the important details your guests need to know: date, time, location, directions, etc. Double check that all addresses are correct before finalizing your order or sending your invitations in the mail. You should always order a few extra invitations just in case because reordering can become quite the nightmare.
Wedding invitations accomplish two things. The wording provides essential information and details of your wedding, while the appearance of the invitation gives your guests the first glimpse of what they can expect at your event. As one of the first communications your guests will receive from you, your wedding invitations will set the tone for your big day. With such a wide variety of invitation styles to choose from, we are confident that you will find an invitation both of you will fall in love with.
Begin by determining whether you will be having a traditional or a contemporary style wedding, then choose your invitation to match.
If you choose a more traditional invitation, you will want to word all the details in a traditional way too. Formal invites usually include the names of both sets of parents and will request the presence of an invitee. Sometimes even the most elegant of wedding invitations use less conventional languages, so don’t be afraid to have fun and experiment. Traditional wedding invitations should be simple and sophisticated with black ink printed on a white or cream-colored card. Popular card styles include flat or folded, with print on the front in a beautiful typesetting.
Contemporary invitations are available in an immense selection of styles. Modern couples love having the freedom to tailor their stationery to uniquely suit their personalities. If you have a color scheme in mind, you already have a head start on the style or theme of your invitations, RSVP cards, and thank you notes.
When to Order Your Invitations
Order your invitations as soon as your date, time and place have been confirmed. Most expert planners suggest ordering three to six months before the ceremony. The more time you give yourself, the less harried you'll feel and the more carefully you'll make decisions. Of course, with eInvite's fast turn around time, if you do wait until the last minute, we can help!
How Many Invitations to Order
To calculate the number of invitations to order, count one invitation for each of the following: couple (married or living together), family with children under 18, each child over 18 living at home, single guest, fiancé(e) of a guest, and invited boyfriend or girlfriend of a guest. Add 10-12 more for keepsakes, plus extras for last-minute guests.
Wedding Invitation Wording Suggestions
- All phrasing should be in the third person, so avoid using “we” or “you” while addressing guests.
- Don’t use abbreviations. Everything should be spelled out: middle names, streets, numbers, etc. However, there are a few exceptions. The abbreviations "Mr." and "Mrs." are appropriate. While it is preferable to spell out 'Doctor" and "junior" (note the lower case "j"), the abbreviations "Dr." and "Jr." are acceptable.
- Punctuation (commas, periods, colons, etc.) is not traditionally used at the ends of lines. However, commas are used within lines to separate the day from the date, city from state, and a man's surname from his title.
- Days, dates, and times are always spelled out. Only proper nouns are capitalized with exceptions, including the year or where a noun is at the beginning of a new sentence or thought.
- Phrasing your invitation with "request the honor of your presence" implies that the ceremony will be held in a place of worship, such as a church or synagogue. If you phrase your invitation with "request the pleasure of your company,” you imply that the ceremony will not be held in a place of worship.
- Be consistent with your usage of "honour/favour" or "honor/favor." Traditionally formal, British spellings with "u" are preferred in proper wedding etiquette but whichever form you choose, use it in both words.
- If you want to suggest a specific dress code, the words should go in the lower right corner of the reception card (i.e., "Black tie" or "Beach casual”).
Creating Your Gift Registry or Registries
Create your registry or call ahead and make an appointment with a consultant at whatever store you choose. List items in different price ranges to help any guests with budgetary restrictions. You can also register for gifts at multiple locations or online stores to provide your guests with a wider selection of options. Couples might request charitable donations, gift certificates, or money in lieu of material gifts.
Remember to keep a detailed list of invitees and the gifts they gave, so you can send thank you notes as quickly as possible once you get back from the honeymoon. You should also keep track of receipts, in case you need to make exchanges or returns in terms of duplicates or unwanted items.
Last-Minute Tips for Mailing Your Invitations
- All outer envelopes and single envelopes should show full names and titles with the address information on the line below. Do not use any abbreviations other than “Mr.” or “Mrs.”
- Spell out “Avenue,” “Road,” and “Street,” as well as the state name.
- Use only the last names of invitees while addressing any inner envelopes.
- List the names of children below the names of their parents.
- Make plus one preferences clear while addressing invitations to single invitees.
- Printing a return address is easier than calligraphically adding it after the invitation is printed.
- Consider using our guest addressing service for a professional look.
Remember: Weigh one of your fully-assembled invitations at the post office to determine the appropriate postage amount, and don’t forget to purchase stamps for respond envelopes and other stationery too.
If you have any questions about our guide to wedding etiquette, please contact a member of our team today for additional information or further assistance. Let us know how we can help turn your vision into a reality today!