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We’ve been planning our dream weddings since we were five years old. So it’s no surprise that we can’t get enough of Lover.ly, a wedding inspiration site that lets you search through pics of swoon-worthy gowns, bouquets, and everything else you need for the big day. Once a week, the ladies behind Lover.ly will be sharing their best tips for getting through the craziness of the season—whether you’re standing at the altar or enjoying a view of it from the audience.
Sending out your invitations is such an exciting part of wedding planning. Once those notes go out, the big day will be here before you know it! But invitation etiquette — like all etiquette — can be a confusing minefield of conflicting information, leaving many marrieds-to-be scratching their heads over what to include (and what to exclude) on the invites. To make this process simple, here are eight basic tenets to know about wedding invitations.
You want to give your guests plenty of time to rearrange their work schedules, make travel arrangements, and find babysitters, so send out your invitations about two months in advance of the wedding. Save-the-date cards — or videos! — should be sent out six to seven months before the big day. If you're having a destination wedding, send your save-the-dates about 10-11 months in advance to allow plenty of prep time for traveling guests.
You'll need to give your venue manager and caterer a final head count at least a week before your wedding, so ensure that your RSVP deadline is two to three weeks out. You'll still have to hunt down stray guests after the deadline has passed, but at least you'll have time to do so!
These days, most couples have at least a basic wedding website, so put your registry information there and keep it off your invitation. Although most guests will bring a wedding gift, it's not required or expected — so your invitation is not the place to make your gift wishes known. You can also ask members of the wedding party or your family to help spread the word about your registry.
Whether it's black-tie, cocktail, or hula-skirts only, it's perfectly acceptable to include a dress code on your invitation. Dress information is typically printed at the bottom of a formal invitation, or can be included in the text of a more casual invite.
It's courteous to invite the spouses or long-term partners of your friends, but don't feel that you have to offer a +1 to every wedding guest. To avoid the dreaded last-minute date, specify who is invited on both the invitation and reply card, so that it's impossible for guests to squeeze in an extra name.
Nothing says, "I rushed through these invitations at the last minute" like a printed address label. Instead, take the time to handwrite the full names and addresses of your guests on each envelope. Have chicken scratch for handwriting? Hire a calligrapher. Don’t forget to check (and double check) the correct spellings of the first and last names of all of your guests before you begin.
Always include the first and last names of the marrying couple, the date, time and location(s) of the ceremony and reception, and reply information on your invitation. This may seem like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised what gets forgotten when you're in the thick of wedding planning! Get the essentials on your invites before you start to consider maps, hotel information, and other enclosures.
Your parents/partner's parents can "host" the wedding, or you and your spouse-to-be can do the job — it's entirely up to you. If your parents are hosting, include their names at the top of the invitation and indicate that they invite guests to celebrate the marriage of their children. If you are hosting the wedding yourselves, you can indicate that beneath your full names. Consider language like, "Sam Brown and Tracy Harris, together with their families, invite you to celebrate their marriage."