Etiquette

wording your invitation

There are certain rules of etiquette that are observed when wording a formal invitation. For less formal invitations, you can be more creative. Here are some details to remember when you are wording your wedding invitation:

  • Write out names in full, including middle names. Omit a middle name rather than using an initial.
  • It is appropriate to use the British spelling of words like “honour” and “favour”, however you can use the American spelling if you prefer.
  • The correct wording for a wedding held in a house of worship is “request the honour of your presence.” For weddings held in any non-religious settings you should use “request the pleasure of your company.”
  • Spell out all words, including the time, date and year.
  • Afternoon begins at twelve o’clock. Evening starts at six o’clock.
  • Spell out all words in the address, including Street, Road and Avenue. The two exceptions to this rule are Saint (St.) and Mount (Mt.).
  • Zip codes are not included on the invitation.
  • Invitations are written without punctuation.
  • Use Roman numerals in names rather than “the second” or “2nd”.
  • Do not write “no children, please” on the invitation. Only those listed on the envelope are invited.
  • Do not make any mention of gifts or registries.

Because so many different types of families and situations exist, wording your invitation can be complicated. Please click here to download wording examples.

guest list

To determine the number of invitations you will need, count one invitation for each:

  • couple
  • single guest
  • Officiant and his/her spouse
  • family with children under 18
  • each attendant or member of the bridal party

After estimating the number of invitations, add 10-25 extra. It is much more expensive to reprint at a later time.

addressing the envelope

Just like on the invitation there are rules of etiquette when it comes to addressing a formal invitation.

  • It is traditional to use the complete, formal name and address of your guest on the outer mailing envelope of a double envelope set and on the outside of a single envelope.
  • Do not use abbreviations other than “Mr.”, “Mrs.”, or “Ms.”
  • Spell out all street names and state names.
  • The inner envelope of a double envelope set should list only the titled last name (Mr., Mrs., Doctor) of the primary person or couple invited. There is no address on the inner envelope.

As contemporary invitations and new styles are becoming popular, many do not include an inner envelope – only a single outer envelope.

For examples of envelope addressing, please click here.

postage and mailing

Do not assume you know how much mailing an invitation will cost. Take a completed invitation (including all enclosures) to your local post office to have it weighed. They will tell you an exact cost.

Ideally, your invitations should be ready to mail 6-8 weeks before your event date.