Where to begin? There's dozens of resources and opinions in the ever-changing social landscape of wedding etiquette. We've laid-out the traditional basics, sourced from high and low, as a guide for developing your wedding correspondence. Keep in mind, it's your wedding and the invitations should be a complete reflection of you as a couple.
SAVE THE DATES
You've nailed down a date, and it's time to get the word out to your guests so they can attend your special day. Typically sent three to 12 months before the wedding, Save the Dates offer the first glimpse of the wedding celebration. Don't fret if you haven't decided every detail of your big day when creating this piece. Think about a style that captures the spirit of you and your fiancee' or nod to the location, if it's someplace special. The piece can be a pretty postcard or an sensational surprise to get your guests pumped about the celebrations ahead.
Let the celebrations begin! You may find that as soon as you announce your nuptials, close friends and family will generously offer to celebrate your forthcoming nuptials. Here's a quick run-down of pre-wedding celebration events:
Typically hosted by the bride's parents. Guests are not expected to bring gifts, but may bring a festive beverage or congratulatory card. Invitations are issued by the bride's parents three to five weeks before the event.
Back in the day, bridal showers were designed to beef-up the bride's dowry before being married of to her prospects. Today, bridal showers come in all forms - teas, luncheons, dinners and brunches with themes galore! Often hosted by bridesmaids or close friends of the bride, invitations are issued three to four weeks before the event and include bridal registry information as a separate insert or at the bottom of the invitation.
Hosted by the bride to show her appreciation for her best gal pals, sometimes with the help of the bride's mother or close family members. This event happens one to two weeks before the wedding, or sometimes the weekend of and is a great time for your your maids to spend quality time together if some haven't met before. Traditionally, the bride will gift her maids with tokens of gratitude - sometimes jewelry to be worn on the wedding day, or spa pampering to get everyone feeling relaxed and polished. Invitations are issued by the bride or her mother two to three weeks before the event.
REHEARSAL DINNER INVITATIONS
Traditionally hosted by the groom's parents to feed the wedding party after the rehearsal. But today, close family members, wedding party spouses and out-of-town guests are often included. Invitations are usually sent two to three weeks before the wedding, and are never sent before the wedding invitation. The rehearsal dinner invitation may coordinate with the wedding invitation, but has a more casual tone.
The wording on the wedding invitation should reflect the nature of the event and the personalities of the couple. Is it a black tie affair or a no-shoes-required beach bash? We can help you craft the perfect wording for your event, whether it's hosted by the bride's parents, close family members or the couple to-be-wed.
ADDRESSING & MAILING
Invitations are issued 6-8 weeks before the wedding if local, and 8-12 weeks if the majority of guests are traveling from afar. For the most respectful, and appealing envelope addressing, spell everything out, with the exception of numbers (i.e., P.O. Box should be Post Office Box, Ave. should be Avenue, CA should be California, etc.). There's dozens of scenarios by which you would address a guest depending on their relationship statuses and job titles.
Registry information should not be included on the wedding invitation. Treat your guest like a guest, and don't presume they should get you a gift. Wedding registry information can be included on your wedding website, which may be listed on an informational insert in the wedding invitation.