Invitation Basics

One of the best ways to set the tone for your wedding day is through the invitations you select. If you received an engraved invitation on ecru card stock with fancy black lettering, you can be pretty sure that the guys in the wedding party will be wearing tuxedos. These are wedding invitations rules of thumb, but you do not have to follow these invitation rules to have a good wedding!

There should never be an abbreviation on an invitation (exceptions include Mr., Mrs., St…). You have to write out every single word on the invitation, including a middle name or a street address. Even the year is spelled out (instead of putting 2020, it should be two thousand and twenty).

You have to remember that what is written on the invitation isn’t in complete sentences. An invitation is also not the place to tell your life story. All you need to include is the particulars: Who is getting married, when, where, and who is hosting the wedding. Keep in mind that etiquette states that the first names to appear on the invitation should be the names of the people paying for the wedding. However, in today’s world of blended families, I think it’s perfectly OK for the couple to get a little creative!

Besides the basics of who, what, where, and when, you must also include a response card with an invitation. This will help you calculate the headcount for the caterer. However, even with the response card, some guests still don’t understand that there’s a meal involved and they must respond in order for you to feed them. Instead, they think that they can not respond to your invitation, show up on the day of the wedding, and everything will be OK.

To avoid problems with nonresponsive guests, you must include a “respond by” day on the response card. It may not inspire the guests to respond by that date, but at least it gives you an in to get on the phone and call the people who did not respond by your set date.

Just as there are guests who don’t know enough to respond on time, there are some guests who ignore the names written on the envelope and respond with the names of the people they want to bring. For example, if you’ve invited Mr. Smith only and a response card comes back with the names Mr. Smith and Miss Jones, you need to call Mr. Smith and point out the mistake . I suggest saying something like this:

“listen, we’ve had to cut our guest list to include people who are the most special to us. I hope you can join us for a wedding, but I won’t be able to welcome your friend.” Don’t be shy for mission. I know that in Texas today, you can pay around $50 per person for a wedding. And that’s just the meal, not even the cake. If someone brings a person you’re not expecting, that put you in $50 over budget. If more than one person does this, you’ve got a serious problem. To avoid any last-minute financial headaches, you’ve got to nip the uninvited guest problem in the butt.

Besides uninvited guests, another big problem brides face is response cards that come back with no name on them. You can avoid this problem by keeping a list of all your guests with a number assigned to each person‘s name. Then you can pencil in the number on the back of the response card for that person‘s invitation. That way, if the card comes back unsigned, you can cross-reference it with the number on your list and know who it came from.

Many people like traditional, plain, and simple wedding invitations that have a very formal look to them. Unless you’re having a formal wedding, however, don’t use them. It won’t look right. Instead you can keep a classic format or paper stock but use more casual script or wording for a less formal wedding. How you decide to have your invitation look is also reflective of your community. What all your friends and family typically wear to other peoples weddings in town, they will most likely wear to your wedding.

Also, never write “black-tie optional”. That’s redundant, because black-tie is always optional. You cannot command someone to wear a black tie outfit to your wedding; you can only suggest it.

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