Invitation Etiquette in 140 Characters or Less

The oh-so-talented Anita from 2bsquared designs is guest posting today about invitation etiquette. This is a very important subject, and she did a wonderful job explaining it all with great detail. Thank you so much, Anita!

So you are engaged…literally you think “what could possibly be more exciting than that”? And then it’s time to pick your dress… you look like a fairytale princess and it’s these best moment of your life. Then before you know it, you’ve picked a date, chosen the most perfect venue…EVER, decided on your flowers (original, affordable and exotic all at the same time and how you did it nobody will ever guess), booked a DJ who rocks, and a photographer who promises to make your entire wedding party look like supermodels. What could possibly be left now that all your wedding dreams are all coming true? Yes! Yes! your wedding invitations… screams the stationer. Oops, was that my outside voice? Sorry about that. Anyhoo… Shouldn’t your guests open their mailbox to find your invitation screaming…”Oh, you so wanna come to this shindig!” After all it’s not a party until their invited, right?

Jen Simpson Design Stationery Designer WeddingInviteLove

Getting them to the Party

Once upon a time, a long long time ago, in a galaxy far far away…wedding invitations came in two colors- white and off-white– and the hardest decision you had to make was whether they were engraved or not. We’ve come a long way and it’s now big world of choice. Don’t get overwhelmed by your options. Consider a few keys things when choosing what works for you:

Be You – keep your invitation style as close to your personality as possible. Don’t rock the bling and bedazzle your invitation unless that’s your style. Guests should not open your invitation, see your full name in bold zebra print and say who the heck is this from because they don’t recognize you in your invitation.

Be Creative – your invitation should match the style of your event. Now that doesn’t mean you can’t think outside the box a little. A formal sit dinner for 200? Turn it up a notch and instead of the classic black and white engraved invitation, engrave white ink on dark colored stock, or add a brightly colored or patterned envelope liner. A wee bit o’the Irish…work some plaid. Boating enthusiasts…anchors away!

Faue amd Co. Stationery Designer WeddingInviteLove

Be Careful – there are many extremely talented and reputable vendors to be found on line and in your neighborhood. Do your research. Before purchasing invitations from anyone, really understand what you will be getting for money. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or order samples of their work. Peek at your favorite blogs including this one for preferred vendors, ask your married friends who they used and recommend. Then pick a few designers who match your style and start an honest conversation with them.

Be Calm – it takes a village to put on a wedding and that means there will be a lot of voices and opinions clamoring to be heard as visions of sugar plum fairies dance in your head. Remember everyone is entitled to an opinion but not always a vote unless they are holding the checkbook. If so then listen close! Otherwise, refrain from the overwhelming desire to shout “because I am the bride that’s why” and consider that most of those people have your best interest at heart. So it may be a good thing when its suggested you take a break from obsessively combing blogs looking for invitations. Listen to the voices of reason and the squeals of your piggy bank. Take breaks so you keep perspective. You’ll make better choices.

It’s all in the Details

A wedding invitations sole purpose is to invite your guests and to tell them when where they should show up if they are even remotely interested seeing you marry the love of your life and perhaps partake in a bit of feasting and merriment while they’re at it. So once you find one you like, here is a quick primer in 140 characters or less on getting them written right:

  • He /She who pays invites. Invitations are issued by the holder of the checkbook or checkbook(s).
  • All invitation phrasing is in the third person. Use “their” not “our”
  • Spell out all words. Yep, all of them.
  • Do not abbreviate. Only exceptions are Mr., Dr., Mrs., Jr., Sr. and Ms.
  • Going to the chapel or not. You “request the honor” of a guests presence as it’s naughty to “request the pleasure” in a house of worship.
  • What’s in a name? If her parents invite, first and middle for her and full name for him. Both parents invite – first and middle only for him and her.
  • Days and dates are always spelled out. Always.
  • The time. The hour is “at” and followed by o’clock except at noon. Married on the half hour is “half after” or “half past”. No caps please.
  • The year. The word “and” is either in or out but the first word in the year line is always capitalized.
  • Location. Location. Use the complete name of the facility. The street address of your location is only needed if you’re not using a map or direction card.
  • Only punctuation used on invitations are commas. Period.
  • Do not print zip code on invitation. If they really need it they can find it on the envelope.

White Aisle Stationery Designer WeddingInviteLove

Traditional invitations consist of eleven lines and they are the:

  1. Invitational Line - this line tells your guest who is extending the invitation. While, traditionally invitations are sent by the bride’s parents, they may also be issued by the bride and groom or a combination of the bride and groom and their parents.
  2. Request Line - the request line invites your guests to your wedding. The wording varies according to the type of service and where your wedding is held. “Request the honour ( honor) of your presence” is always used when the wedding is in a house of worship as you cannot request the pleasure of one’s company in God’s house. Weddings held at a club, reception hall or residence use “Request the pleasure of your company.”
  3. Bride’s Name - the brides first and middle name should appear when the invitation is issued by her parents. If invitation is issued by bride and groom her full name is written.
  4. Joining word - the word “to” is used to join the names of the bride and groom on invitations issued by the parents. The word “and” is used on invitations issued by the bride and groom.
  5. Groom’s Name - the grooms full given name should always appear unless the invitation is issued by both the bride and grooms parents, then only his first and middle name is required.
  6. Date Line - the day of the week and the date of the month should be both spelled out i.e. Saturday, the twenty -ninth of July The day of the week can be proceed by “on” but is not necessary.
  7. Year Line - you can choose to write the year with as “Two thousand and thirteen” or “Two thousand thirteen” either is fine. Just remember the first word in the year line is always capitalized.
  8. Time Line - the time always appears on one line and is preceded by “at.” No uppercase letters are used. The word o’clock should always follow the hour except when married at noon. For weddings held on the half hour, they are written as “half after” or “half past” followed by the hour. Ex. half after four o’clock in the afternoon.
  9. Location - the name of the facility where your wedding will take place appears on this line. The complete name of the facility is used.
  10. Address - the street address is only necessary when there is more than one of the facility with the same name in the same town. The street address is not used when maps or direction cards are included.
  11. City and State - the last line of your invitation shows the names of the city and star where you wedding is being held. Both city and state are included but not the zip code.

Lisa Samartino Atelier Stationery Designer WeddingInviteLove

Thank you Anita! Check out 2BSquared on WeddingInviteLove, or head straight to the 2BSquared’s Etsy shop to order a custom invitation directly from Anita!

Posted on by Marit.

  • http://blog.ct-designs.com Christy Toney

    Very nice post. Enjoyed the detail and the 11-line section! Great primer for bride-to-bes!
    –ct

  • http://www.marithanson.com/ Marit

    Thank you, Christy! Anita did a wonderful job compiling this info into a blog post that is easy to digest. We hope that it is something bride-to-bes will find useful!

  • Shannon

    Fantastic post – very thorough and easy to understand. I hope a lot of brides get a hold of this – I always cringe when I see abbreviations or zip codes!
    I’ve been trained into the thought that by etiquette it should be half after – not past. Anyone able to back that up? You never see it in crane or emily post, they like even hours.

  • http://www.marithanson.com/ Marit

    Thanks, Shannon! It is a gold mine for brides creating their invitations. :)

    I’ve heard of using “half after” and “half past.” Traditionally, it is considered to get married on the half hour because it keeps things on the “up swing.”

  • http://www.JPanterCalligraphy.com JP

    I love this page. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve sent parts of this, or links to another version similiar to this on Crane & Co. website to my brides. Thank you so much for posting this, it’s brilliant.