Wedding invitation etiquette

When should we send out our wedding invitations?

Traditionally, invitations go out 6-8 weeks before the wedding to give guests plenty of time to clear their schedules and make travel arrangements if they don't live in town. If it's a destination wedding, give guests more time and send them out 2-3 months ahead of time. Most couples also send out save-the-date cards which go out at 6-8 months.

When should we make the deadline for RSVPs?

Make your RSVP date two to three weeks before your wedding date to allow enough time for you to get a final head count to the caterer and venue and to finalize your seating chart. If some guests still haven't responded by your deadline, give them a quick call and ask for their reply.

What some guests are late to send it their reply?

I’d recommend calling to say something like, “Hi Lauren, it’s Joe. I’m calling to make sure you received the invitation to our wedding since we haven’t heard back from you yet. I hope you and Alex can make it. I need to give a final number to the caterer by Monday, so please call me back and let me know if you are able to be there. Thanks!”

Where do we include information about our wedding website?

Your wedding website should be included on your save-the-date. A simple "," is all you really need. If you'd like (or if you don't have save-the-dates), you can include the web address in the formal invitations with an insert, a small card that informs guests they can find more details online.

Where do you put the return address on wedding invitations?

The return address usually goes on the back flap of the envelope. Also, the return address used should be that of the person(s) whom you've designated to receive response cards (your parents, planner, or yourself). Traditionally, whoever is hosting the wedding handles response cards. Don't forget that the RSVP envelope should also be printed with this address and should include postage to make it easy for your guest to pop those reply back in the mail once they’ve filled out the card.

Can we include our registry info on our invitations or save-the-dates?

Including registry info on the wedding invitations or save-the-dates is still considered impolite because it can come off as though you're asking for gifts. Go ahead and put your registry info directly on your wedding website. 

How do we let guests know our dress code?

The easiest way to get your point across is to include a dress code in the lower right-hand corner of the invite or on a reception card. "Black tie," "cocktail attire" or "casual attire" are all acceptable. Your invitation design will also clue guests in. Another way is to direct guests to your wedding website, where you can go into more detail about the weekend events and dress code in a more informal forum.

Do we have to invite every guest with a date or a "plus-one"?

No, you don't have to. If a guest isn't married or in a serious relationship, it's perfectly acceptable to invite them solo. Most guests will understand that without "and Guest" or another name on the invitation means they aren't invited with a plus-one. While it's always nice to invite everyone with a guest, if you're having a smaller wedding, your family and friends should understand your reasoning. What should you do if a guest replies that they’re bringing a date when you hadn’t invited them to? Call them up and explain you're having an intimate wedding and, unfortunately, you were not able to invite everyone with a guest. If you realize that nearly everyone will be coupled up though, it’d be kind to extend a plus-one invitation to your few single friends and family.

These rules are not written in stone though, so do things your own way.