Today’s thoughtful guest post, brought to us by Taryn Westberg of Glo, covers the ins and outs of contemporary invitation etiquette. Enjoy!
Woo hoo! You’re engaged! After your first Instagram post about your engagement, you’ll probably want to start sharing more information about your wedding plans with family and friends (and you know they’re dying to know). With so much available technology, it’s never been easier to keep your guests informed and organized. All you have to do is give them the right information! So what is the right information and what is the right way to share it? That’s what we’re here for! While there are no hard-fast rules to follow, there are some things to consider to ensure your guests are informed in a thoughtful way. No matter which stage of wedding planning you’re in, you can keep your guests up-to-date with informative digital tools while checking every modern etiquette box in the book.
Read the full post after the cut!
When To Send
A quick online search for wedding planning timelines will turn up numerous “rules” about how and when to invite guests to your wedding. However, in the modern world, as weddings change, so do these antiquated “must do’s.” At the end of the day, timing comes down to being considerate of your guests and recognizing that most guests need adequate time to plan if they are going to attend your celebration.
Save the Dates: If you’re planning a destination wedding or have numerous out-of-town guests, it’s a great idea to send an online save the date as soon as you have the date and general location (e.g. city or region). This may be many months before the wedding, but it gives guests an opportunity to plan around other travel, holidays, and work. Better yet, is to send an email save the date that links to a first version of your wedding website. Even if wedding details are still in the works, you can use your website to inform your potential guests of key dates, general location and anything else they’d need to know in order to start planning. As an added bonus, websites are dynamic, so you can update, add and edit information as you continue further in your planning.
Wedding Invitations: Now, how about those official invitations? If you’re staying local, invites should simply give guests enough time to plan ahead. The general rule of thumb is six weeks prior to your wedding, but the biggest priority here is considerate timing for your guests. If the majority of your guests will need to travel, be sure to give them some extra time.
This seems like a huge task, but don’t get overwhelmed. This is what wine is for. Using an online invite platform can save loads of time with licking, stamping, and addressing envelopes, but how does it impact etiquette? The answer is, not at all. You can apply the same etiquette to addressing digital wedding invitation envelopes as you would to their snail mail counterparts.
Titles and Name Order: The titles and name order that you use on the envelope are driven by the guest’s household situation (i.e., married, divorced, co-habitating, single), any professional or honorary titles they hold (e.g., doctors, judges, royalty).
Who is Invited: An important role of invitation envelopes is to specify exactly who is invited to the wedding. If you are open to plus ones, then let people know they can bring a guest, for instance: “John Smith and Guest.” Envelopes are also a first indication of whether or not children are invited to attend: “The Smith Family” vs. “Harper and Casey Smith.”
Tone and formality: Wedding invites are the first glimpse your guests will see of the wedding you have in mind, and they will help them determine just how formal the wedding will be. For example, a wedding invitation with a classic design that is addressed to “Doctor and Mrs. John Doe” is going to appear more formal than an invitation addressed to “Harry and Sally Doe” or just “Harry and Sally.” Use discretion here based on the guest and the overall tone you want to set for your celebration.
Wedding Invitation Host Line
Who to Include: It seems like a small detail, but the host line on your invitation can be a touchy subject. This is because it traditionally is a way to recognize those who hosted (i.e., paid for) the wedding. In the olden days, the bride’s parents traditionally hosted (think: “Mrs. and Mr. John Doe cordially invite you to attend the wedding of their daughter…”). However, in today’s modern world, we often see more than one set of parents hosting or situations where the couple is hosting their own celebration. The simple “Together with their families” is great verbiage for keeping things classy, simple, and inclusive when couples take on the bulk of the responsibility. However it shakes out, it is important to word your host line to include the right people in the right way.
How to say it: Creating a host line can be as complicated as addressing the wedding invitations, particularly if your hosts are divorced, re-married, widowed, living with a partner, etc. No matter the situation, this host line guide goes into greater detail for more nuanced situations.
Wedding Invitation Wording
Above all, wedding invitation wording is meant to provide guests with straightforward details about the celebration. In addition to who is hosting the event, be sure to include specific details about date, time, and place so that guests know where and when to gather. If the ceremony venue is different from the reception venue, it is important that it’s made clear with phrases such as “Dinner and dancing to follow.” This way, guests can make appropriate plans for accommodations, transportation, and attire.
In an ideal universe, guests will be so excited and helpful and considerate that they will all send their RSVPs back to you within the week. In reality, they all have jobs and families and hair appointments to manage, too. This is why it’s important to include an RSVP deadline in your invitation.
When designating an RSVP deadline, be sure it lines up with your catering headcount deadline and gives you plenty of time to make a seating chart. Ideally, you will know exactly how many people will be attending three weeks before the wedding. Going paperless will make it easier for guests to reply to your invitation, particularly if they live in faraway places. As your RSVP deadline gets closer, don’t be afraid to send out kind, gentle reminders for guests to RSVP.
Your Wedding Website
Wedding planning is a lot to manage, especially because it’s rarely the only thing that modern couples have to worry about in their lives. By using a wedding website, all of your information, photos, stories and other details can be shared with your guests in one place, leaving you the necessary time and space to iron out the details. Technology rules.
Once you find the perfect wedding website tool, you can include useful information for guests including accommodation and transportation tips, registry information, dress code, and online RSVPs. Talk about a time saver! To give your site a more personal touch, you might also include couple photos or a story of how you met your sweetheart. This will make your guests feel included and really, really excited to see you get married.
Great, thanks Taryn! For more information about Glo, please visit their WeddingLovely Vendor Guide profile or head straight to their website. Do you have any questions or comments for Taryn? Add them to the comments below!