Invitation P's & Q's Answered




In preparing for your big day I'm sure you are finding there is a lot to "study" up for. I have compiled a list of comonly asked questions on etiquette specifically related to wedding invitations. Please keep in mind these are just guidlines to give you a foundation to start with in what can seem to be an overwhelming task.
Always remember to let your personal style and personality shine through on every aspect of your wedding to show off to loved ones and the world how you plan to emerge, full of pride,
Mrs.------- on your wedding day!

Congratulations, enjoy.

Q.
What is the etiquette regarding hand-delivered wedding invitations? I want to bring them to my coworkers and a few friends who live near my office. Is this appropriate?
A.
Delivering some of your wedding invitations by hand is a fine and acceptable option. However, rather than slipping them into your coworkers' mails slots or onto their desks, make sure it is an actual hand-delivery -- from your hands to theirs. This way, you will get to say a few words to each guest while you present the invitation and, most important, the invitation will not be overlooked.





Q.
My fiance and I do not want to have any children at our wedding. Should we indicate this on the invitations?

A.
This is always a touchy subject. Never print "no children" or "adults only" on an invitation. The way an invitation is addressed, whether on the outer or inner envelope, indicates exactly who -- and by omission, who is not -- invited to the wedding. Make sure your wedding party and family members know that there will be no children at the wedding so they can spread the word if necessary. If people ask to bring their children even after receiving their invitation, it's best to be as direct as possible, saying that your wedding plans really do not include children.





Q.
What is the correct wording to tell people where we're registered? How do we let the guest know we'd prefer cash gifts?

A.
It is never proper to include information about gifts in the wording of the invitation. Traditionally it was also considered improper to include any sort of announcement of your gift registries as inserts with your invitations. But times have changed, and many couples choose to include these enclosure cards, which guests find convenient. Often the company at which the couple is registered will provide these cards, making it appear that the store itself, rather than the couple, is informing guests about the registry. If you do not wish to include enclosure cards, the more traditional route is to let your family and wedding party know the details. They are the best resource for the guests. Some couples would prefer that their guests bring no gifts to the wedding. It is not appropriate to print "No Gifts Please" on the invitation, instead you should rely on word of mouth generated by your attendants and wedding party. If you would prefer guests to donate to a certain charity, the wedding party can pass along that information, too. Guests want to show their happiness by bringing a present, so no matter what you do you're bound to receive several. Never print a request for cash gifts on your invitations. Asking your wedding party to spread the word of your desire for cash is also impolite, both to the wedding party and the guests. If the "No Gifts" request is spread, guests wishing to offer some sort of token will often bring or send cash. The giving of cash is common in many cultures, so it may be appropriate for you to have a money box or designated place where cash gifts can be left. The bottom line is, it is never appropriate to mention wedding gifts in the wording of the wedding invitation.





Q.
Can I use printed labels on my wedding invitations?

A.
Affixing labels to your wedding invitation envelops makes them appear far less personal than they should be. Even if you are inviting many guests to the wedding, hand-address the invitation or, budget permitting, hire a calligrapher to handle the project. If you are worried about not being able to complete a large number of invitations, plan to order them as early as you can so you'll have enough time to finish them. Printing is always an option since there are many fonts to choose from and is much cheaper than a calligrapher.





Q.
What are the correct titles to use for guests when addressing my envelopes?

A.
Most of the titles we use in addressing envelopes will be familiar, but here is a breakdown:

A married couple: Mr. and Mrs. Carl Fallow
A married couple in which the woman has kept her name Ms. Janice Collins and Mr. Kevin Black
A widow Mrs. Carl Fallow
A divorced woman Ms. Sally Fallow (or her maiden name if she's reclaimed it).
Married doctors The Doctors Stevenson, Dr. Carmen Stevenson and Dr. Andrew Stevenson, Drs. Carmen and Andrew Stevenson.
The Doctors Stevenson, Dr. Carmen Stevenson and Dr. Andrew Stevenson, Drs. Carmen and Andrew Stevenson. A couple living together or a gay couple (written on two lines) Robin GossettMatthew Doring
Husband is a doctor Dr. and Mrs. Andrew Stevenson, Dr. Andrew Stevenson and Ms. Carmen Gomez.
Wife is a doctor Dr. Carmen Stevenson and Mr. Andrew Stevenson
Teenage girl Miss Gloria Johnson
Teenage boy (under 18) Christopher Jones
Judge, Governor, Mayor,United States Senator,Member of Congress,Cabinet Members,AmbassadorsThe Honorable
Husband is a colonel Colonel and Mrs. Michael Jones
Husband is a major Major and Mrs. Lawrence Tanaka
Husband is a lieutenant Lieutenant and Mrs. John Warren
Wife is a captain Captain Alicia Huang and Mr. Albert Huang
A Catholic Bishop The Right Reverend Mark Wells Bishop of [insert city name]
A Catholic Brother Brother Coleman Harris
A Catholic Sister Sister Anita Canesto
A Catholic Priest The Reverend Father James Keough
Husband is a Rabbi Rabbi and Mrs. Adam Lohman
Wife is a Rabbi Rabbi Ellen Freed and Mr. Robert Freed
Husband is a Protestant Clergyman The Reverend and Mrs. John Smith
Wife is a Protestant clergywoman The Reverend Susan Carlson and Mr. Thomas Carlson





Q.
Is it acceptable to use a nickname when addressing an invitation to a friend?

A.
In formal communications such as a wedding invitation never use a nickname in the address. If you don't know a person's real name, ask them or a mutual friend for clarification. If either member of the couple getting married is typically known by a nickname, it is not appropriate to refer to the individual by that nickname on the invitation. When a name appears on an invitation it should be the full, legal name.

Q.
How should I write times and dates on my invitations?

A.
For traditional invitations, all numbers in the date and time should always be spelled out, for example, "the thirty-first of July". The exception to this is a long number in a street address, for example, "1853 Glenn Road". The year is also written out in full, for example, "two thousand and one". Half-hours are written as "half after two o'clock" -- never as "two-thirty." Less formal invitations use numerals in the date only, for example, "January 5th 2002". The time is still written out in full.

Q.
What is the proper etiquette about mentioning a parent on the invitation if that parent isn't hosting the wedding?

A.
When one parent is not hosting (which may occur for any number of reasons), it is up to the couple and the host parent to decide if the non-host should be included. Generally, the host alone is mentioned on the invitation, but including both parents' names is perfectly acceptable. The etiquette on this issue is not influenced by the gender of the parent who is not hosting.

Q.
When should I address and send my invitations?

A.
Begin to address your wedding invitations two to three months before the event. Err on the side of three months if you're addressing them yourself and you have a large guest list. At six to eight weeks before the event you can send out the invitations. This will give you plenty of time to receive the responses and make final head counts. Some people you expected to attend will probably decline, and with this lead time you can send out invitations to people you thought you couldn't invite. If you are mailing some invitations overseas, allow ten weeks. Send your wedding announcements out on the day of your wedding or the day after. Use our convenient timeline to find out more about when to accomplish you invitations tasks.

Q.
There are so many rules of etiquette about wording for my invitations. A lot of these rules don't feel comfortable or natural to me. Do I have to follow them all?

A.
That's a very interesting question, and you're right, the etiquette rules can seem overwhelming. Think of these rules more as etiquette guidelines or recommendations. If certain wording doesn't feel natural or appropriate to you, find a way to convey the information in a manner that feels right. Many of the so-called etiquette rules are designed to keep events on schedule and ultimately to make life easier for the couple (the mailing time for invitations, for example). You shouldn't follow guidelines that don't work for you, but by the same token, think twice before you reject all etiquette suggestions. Often they'll help to make the event turn out just right.

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