Wedding Invitation Etiquette – Tips on Timing, Addressing & Mailing

Your wedding invitations are the first glimpse your guests get at your wedding style so chances are you will spend a lot of time choosing the perfect invitations.  Whether you chose a folded invite, an invite with cute pockets for all of your inserts or an invite embellished with ribbons in your own custom color scheme, you still have to address them and get them to your guests on time.

  • Count the addresses, not the guests. When ordering wedding invites you want to use the number of addresses that will be receiving invites as your final count, not the number of guests.  Be sure to order extras to allow for mistakes in addressing as well as a few for scrapbooks or a hope chest.  You will probably want at least one copy of everything you send out to keep for yourself as a memory.
  • Use save the dates. This is especially important if you will be having out-of-town guests.  You will probably not send your invitations until a few months before the wedding.  Save the dates let people know to reserve the date and allows out-of-town guests time to make travel and lodging arrangements with minimal cost and effort
  • Double check who you invited. It is perfectly acceptable to invite people to your reception and not your wedding.  It is not acceptable to do the opposite.  Double check your guest list to make sure you don’t violate this important rule.
  • Always send a thank you. We all know to send written thank yous for gifts received as soon as possible.  Verbal thank yous are not acceptable.  You will also want to send a thank you note to anyone who attended your wedding whether or not they brought a gift.  Instead of mentioning the gift in these thank you notes, just thank them for coming.  Gifts are not to be expected so everyone who helped you celebrate your wedding day should be thanked for doing so.
  • Timing is everything. Your save the date cards can be sent as soon as you set the date for your wedding.  In order for you to finalize plans with your vendors, your invitations should be sent a few months before the wedding with enough time for your guests to respond.  Thank you notes for gifts received before the wedding should be sent within two to three weeks of the gift being received.  Gifts received at or after the wedding should be acknowledged as soon as possible after the wedding or the return from a honeymoon.  As a general rule there should be no more than a 2 month wait for the sending of a thank you.
  • Use a fresh set of eyes. Have someone else proofread your stationery before you order it.  You may have missed an obvious mistake after hours of pouring over color and embellishment choices. Having someone review the addresses and pretty much everything you send out can also help take some of the worry out of your planning process.  Better yet, have the stationery company do as much of the work for you as you can.  Splurge and have your envelopes addressed and assembled before they even arrive at your door.  This will take some extra time so be sure to allow for that when placing your order.
  • Be considerate with postage. In addition to giving your guests ample time to respond to your invitation, you want to make it easy for them to do so.  Be sure to place postage on all of your reply cards so all that your guests have to do is fill it out and drop it in the mail.  Take a loose response card to the post office to be weighed to make sure you are including the right amount of postage on each card. You will want to do the same with your completed wedding invites before mailing them. Having all your invitations returned stamped in big red letters with the words insufficient postage can be a costly and time consuming mistake.

Ask your local postal worker to assist you in hand canceling the postage to help preserve the invites as a nice memento for your guests.  This looks much nicer then the stamp generally used and most post offices would be glad to show you how to do it properly.  The invites will need to be mailed as soon as the postage is canceled and you will need to do the canceling at the post office.

Send invites to your local guests on a Thursday. They will be more likely to receive them on a weekend when they have time to read and enjoy them. Mail invitations to out-of-town guests earlier in the week to allow extra time for delivery.

Always include your return address.  This way your invitation will be returned if the address is incorrect and you will know to resend it.

  • Keep current. Review your guest list every time you are sending something out.  Check to be sure all addresses are current and all names are spelled correctly.  Also update your list with any marriages or other name changes that may have occurred.
  • Spell it out. Never use abbreviations.  Spell out your guests’ full names and addresses.  The only acceptable abbreviations are Mr., Mrs., Ms. and Jr.  Junior should always be preceded by a comma.

For more advice, don’t miss our Friday blog, Helpful Suggestions when Addressing your Invitations.

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