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Wedding Invitation Etiquette 101: What You Need to Know

meet ALLISON  →

A wedding stationery designer with a love of coordinating envelopes, watercolor envelope liners, wax seals and classic letterpress!

Designing timeless stationery in Findlay, Ohio for romantic couples.


As soon as you say “yes,” a whirlwind of wedding planning begins. And one of the things couples are most excited about (okay – as an invitation designer I might be biased) is the wedding invitation! Your invitation is the first peek your guests will get into your wedding day, and setting the tone with a beautiful and informative invitation is key. But where do you start? What if you don’t want to invite kids? What names do you use to address your envelopes? From who to invite to addressing envelopes, and everything in between, keep reading for the ultimate wedding invitation etiquette guide.

While we are on the topic of guests, have you downloaded my free guest list tracker yet? This is a must-have for all engaged couples! Grab your copy here.

green and pink wedding invitations
Photo Credit: Bri Cibene

What to Include on Your Wedding Invitations

When writing your wedding invitation, you should be sure to include essential details like the date and time of the ceremony, the name of the venue, and a dress code if you have one. When it comes to wording, use formal language and avoid abbreviations or slang. Include both your names and any relevant family members’ names as hosts. Additionally, if you have an RSVP website, it’s important to make sure that information is included as well.

One important thing to remember is not to include registry information in the invitation. This can be spread by word of mouth or through other means. This is one of the biggest rules when it comes to wedding invitation etiquette.

Should I say that children aren’t invited on my invitation?

Personally I’m not a fan of including a statement on the wedding invitation that excludes children. While you do need to communicate that information, I prefer to say something along the lines of “we have reserved __ seats in your honor”. Trust me – your guests will get the message!

lavender wedding invitations

Addressing Your Envelopes

I have a more detailed breakdown of how to address your guests in my free guide here (with mocked up examples).

Addressing wedding envelopes etiquette is an important part of any wedding stationery suite. Good etiquette includes the use of proper titles, abbreviations and capitalization. For example, married couples should be addressed as “Mr. and Mrs.” on the outer envelope and by their first names on the inner one. If one partner has a professional title such as Dr. or Reverend, that title should be used in place of Mr./Mrs.

When addressing a single female the title “Miss” or “Ms.” is typically used depending on their marital status but if the recipient’s preference is known it is best to address them accordingly. When addressing an unmarried couple living together, listing each name on separate lines with no titles is technically the most formal way to do address them, but it’s also okay to put them on one line and use titles. In general, use whole words instead of abbreviations for both titles (i.e., Street instead of St.) and states (i.e., Pennsylvania instead of PA).

Then, for a more personal touch, choose to write out each name by hand or hire a wedding calligrapher. This adds an extra layer of thoughtfulness to each invitation (and makes it even more exciting to receive in the mail!).

handwritten guest addresses done by wedding calligrapher

Tracking RSVPs

Then, once your guests receive your invitation, it’s essential to have a plan in place for RSVPs. Set a specific date (usually 3-4 weeks before the wedding) for guests to respond by. Make sure to include it on your response card. You’ll need to follow up with any guests who haven’t responded by the deadline.

As an added personal touch for my lovely couples, I’ve recently started offering the service of printing return addresses on the back flap of the RSVP envelopes. This thoughtful addition ensures that even if guests forget to write their name on the card, you will know exactly where it came from. It’s a modern and convenient alternative to the traditional advice of numbering RSVP cards. I believe it adds an extra level of sophistication to the overall wedding experience as well. Your guests will surely appreciate this attention to detail (and so will you – because there WILL be at least one person who forgets to write their name on the card!).

When to Send Out Your Wedding Invitations

It is best to send out invitations at least 6-8 weeks prior to your wedding date. You want to give guests plenty of time to RSVP and plan accordingly. If you’re planning a destination wedding or getting married during a busy time of year, send out your invitations even earlier, around the 12 week mark. I’m always sharing more wedding invitation etiquette advice on Instagram so be sure to follow me there too!

gorgeous wedding invitation suite on post about wedding invitation etiquette

Wedding Invitation Etiquette

I hope these wedding invitation etiquette guidelines help you as you start thinking about your own invitations. With that in mind, when it comes to weddings, no one can dictate exactly what you should do. Ultimately, it is your wedding day and your opinion really is the most important one. So if something doesn’t quite fit in with the standard etiquette rules for invitations, don’t be afraid to break them. After all, it’s your special day and you should be able to create the event that best reflects you and your partner.

Finally, as I mentioned before, the key to successfully managing your guest list (and following traditional wedding invitation etiquette) is staying organized. If you’d like a little help, my free guest list tracker is here. I designed it to help you create, manage, and monitor your guest list in one place. Plus – then you’ll have my email to ask me any additional wedding invitation etiquette questions.