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When inquiries come in from, they are usually full of questions about our process and almost always about etiquette.  As you can imagine, as potential customers become clients, a large portion of the time spent working with couples is spent answering even more questions about doing things properly.

As most couples learn throughout their wedding planning, there is a lot to consider when it comes to etiquette but the most confusing and nuanced etiquette rules often relate to the wedding invitations.  From properly wording your wedding invitation to how to correctly address each guest’s envelope, there are several places where things can go wrong.

I’m drawing on my 20 years in the wedding industry, studying and learning all the dos and don’ts so that i can help you get it all right.  Your wedding invitations, after all, are the first impression your guests will get into your wedding day so you don’t want to start things off on the wrong foot, do you?


I’m always happy when the couples I work with ask a lot of questions.  It not only means they are engaged and interested in getting things right but it also means they feel comfortable with my expertise and are taking advantage of all that I have to offer aside from just designing beautiful stationery.

The reality is that the invitations you choose for your big day aren’t just the first impression your guests will get of your wedding day – they are also a very important logistics element.  When couples are willing to ask a lot of questions, I know they understand the importance of getting things right before sending their invitations out to their guests.

Because many of the questions I get asked are pretty common, I thought that I would share them with you today because chances are, you are wondering the same things.  

My top Five Wedding Stationery Etiquette Questions…Answered.

The Octavia Wedding Invitation Suite

What date should I use for my RSVP date?

As a general rule, the RSVP date should be roughly three to six weeks before your wedding.  For most couples, the sweet spot is about 4 weeks.  With that said, I always tell the couples i work with to confirm with their venue, caterer, etc. to find out what their deadline is for a final headcount and then give yourself a cushion.  

For most, I recommend about a week because pretty much every wedding guest list will have guests that don’t respond on time and you will have to have time to let the stragglers arrive or contact them.  If the date you give your guests and the date you need to confirm with your caterer or reception venue are too close, you may be rushed or not the final count on time.

the harlow wedding invitation suite

What time should I put for my wedding ceremony - should I make it earlier so my guests don’t show up late?

This is something that comes up a lot and it always surprises me because its something I never would have even considered.  Many couples think they need to put a time on their invitations that’s earlier than the actual start time of their ceremony so no one arrives late.

This isn’t anything new but it’s actually not recommended.  The majority of people know that they should arrive at a wedding ceremony early and not right at the start time on the invitation.  If you put a time on your invitation that is earlier than the actual start time, then your guests may have to wait much longer for you and your future spouse to arrive.  Not only is not not enjoyable for your guests, it can also be uncomfortable.

Years ago, I worked as a day-of coordinator for a couple having an outdoor wedding in August.  Their wedding day was beautiful and sunny but well into the 90s.  It was extremely hot and for whatever reason, the ceremony started 45 minutes later than planned.  The poor guests were forced to sit outside in the heat for nearly an hour before the wedding began.  Even though the guests weren’t asked to arrive early, they had to wait longer than they should have and in a situation like this, it is especially bad.

the larisa wedding invitation suite

Should you Include your Registry on your Wedding Invitation?

This is by far the most violated etiquette rules of all.  It’s so common, I think the vast majority of couples don’t even realize that traditional etiquette frowns on this practice.  

Including registry information on your wedding invitations or save the dates is and has always been considered impolite as it appears as though you are asking for gifts.  The proper way to include your registry for your guests is by including it on your wedding website and providing your website on an enclosure card in your invitation suite.

One more word on registry information.  You should never ask for cash in place fo gifts!  Not ever.  If you prefer cash over gifts, have your family and wedding party spread the word. 

Remember, gifts are never to be required as part of your guests’ presence at your wedding.  Including gift “directions” or “instructions” on your invitation could send the wrong message and you always want to keep it classy even for a casual wedding.

wedding invitation etiquette

When should I send my save the dates and wedding invitations?

We talk about this a lot around here because so many couples don’t plan early enough and end up rushing at the end.  Let’s set the record straight now so you don’t have the same problem.

Save the dates should be mailed out 8 – 12 months in advance of the wedding.  This gives guests plenty of time to “Save the date” and begin making plans for travel, childcare, time off work, etc.

Wedding Invitations should be mailed out 8 weeks before the wedding, for most situations.  Sooner if you are planning a destination wedding.

the akari wedding invitation suite

Can I include all my wedding information on the invitation so I don’t have to pay for or use additional enclosure cards?

No.  Whether planning a formal or more casual wedding, like registry information, there are certain things that should not be done.  Including all your reception information, your wedding website, hotel accommodations, etc. on your actual wedding invitation to avoid using additional enclosure cards is a hard “no”.  Please, don’t do it.

Your wedding invitation (even for a more casual wedding) is for the wedding ceremony.  That is the whole point of the day after all.  The reception and additional information like hotel accommodations, dress code, directions, reception venue (if different from the ceremony location) should all be provided to your guests on an additional “details” or “guest information” card.

That’s it.  Five of my most frequently asked wedding invitation etiquette questions.  Have other questions?  Leave a comment below or send me an email at