10 Wedding Invitation Etiquette Questions Asked & Answered

These may be the most-asked wedding questions, ever

Updated 11/02/17

Photo by Betty Clicker

You've found the person you love, picked a wedding venue, and selected a date. Now it's time to invite guests to your wedding! As you set about this task, you'll quickly find out there's a whole new set of wedding invitation etiquette to learn. Sending out wedding invitations brings up all sorts of questions, from when to send wedding invitations to dealing with not inviting children. Read on for answers to most commonly questions about wedding invitations.

1. When Should We Send Our Save the Dates and Invitations?

When it comes to your invitations, timing is everything. Traditionally, save the dates are mailed four months in advance, with invitations going out around eight weeks before the wedding date. If you're having a destination wedding, add a little time on the front end: Send save the dates up to six months in advance, and invitations 12 weeks before the event. This will give your guests plenty of time to arrange their schedules and shop around for great flight deals.

2. Who gets a plus-one?

While tradition states that only those who are married or engaged should always be invited with a plus-one, common practice has gotten a little more modern. The wedding invitation plus one really should be given to any of your guests in a serious relationship. So if your college roommate is in a long-term relationship or lives with her significant other, you really should invite them as a couple. Did your cousin just start dating someone new? In that case, it's your call—and no one will hold it against you if you invite her solo.

The exception: You should invite your immediate family members and your wedding party with their significant other or a generic "and guest" no matter what their relationship status is.

3. How long should we give our guests to RSVP?

The general rule of thumb is to set your RSVP date for four weeks after you mail the invitations, giving them time to receive the invite and send back their response. The timing can change depending on the type of wedding you're having. For a local wedding, with very few guests coming in from out-of-town, set your RSVP date for two weeks before your wedding date, allowing up to six weeks to RSVP. Wedding RSVP etiquette for destination dictates starting earlier. Request your RSVPs back seven weeks before the wedding date.

So, if you mail your invitations 12 weeks in advance, you're giving guests five weeks to finalize their plans. This will also give you a little extra time to track down people you haven't heard from to ensure everyone is accounted for.

4. Should we include dress code information on the invitation?

Dress code information is perfectly acceptable to include on the invitation. If you do so, put in the lower right hand corner. If you do not include a dress code, the invitation itself should serve as an indication of the dress code (i.e. a very ornate invitation will indicate a formal dress code, while a more casual invitation would denote a more casual dress code).

5. Can we add our wedding website information to the invitation?

Absolutely! Your guests will be excited to see your website. You can include the information right on the invitation, or you can add a separate card to the invitation suite that lists the website.

6. Can we include our registry information on the invitation?

No. It's considered gauche to include registry information your on your wedding invitation. You should, however, include the registry information on your wedding website.

7. What if we don't want to invite kids?

When a guest receives an invitation, they should not assume their children are invited unless the invitation is addressed to the whole family (i.e. The Sherrow Family) or the children's names are specifically listed on the invitation.

8. What if we didn't invite a guest's child but the RSVP included the child anyway?

In this case, it's usually best to make a personal call to the guest and handle the situation gently. Explain that the wedding is for adults only and let them know you hope they'll still be able to come. If you want to have an adults-only wedding and a lot of your guests have children, you can consider hiring a babysitter to watch all the children while the parents enjoy the wedding so you still get your kid-free reception and your guests don't have to scramble for a sitter. If you will be offering childcare services, note it on your wedding website so your guests can plan accordingly.

9. Should we invite guests we know can't come?

Once you've gone through the trouble of setting a wedding date, it can be a bummer to find out a friend or family member can't make it. Traditional wedding invitation etiquette suggests skipping their invitation. After all, even a single invitation can still be expensive, and furthermore, sending an invitation to someone you already know can't attend could be interpreted as a tacky solicitation gifts. However, if it's a guest you know will appreciate the gesture and will like having your invitation as a memento, you should still formally invite them to be there with you to celebrate.

Chances are they'll be thrilled to hear the details and will want to send you a gift, and that link to your wedding website will make finding your registry that much easier.

10. Can we send digital, online invitations?

Online invitations are affordable, easy, and come in gorgeous designs that rival their printed counterparts. Sending online invitations is a great idea and money saver, especially for events like your engagement party, bridal shower, rehearsal dinner, etc. While not as common, you certainly use paperless invitations for your actual wedding, as well. Choose a design that fits in the overall style of your wedding and use the money you would have spent on paper invitations elsewhere. The more formal the wedding, however, the less appropriate sending online wedding invitations is.

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