STATIONERY ETIQUETTE 101

The wedding invitation, most importantly, will let your guests know you are welcoming them to join in celebration of your marriage. The invitation will guide your guests where to go, when to be there, and the style and nature of your big day. Join me here to learn about the ins and outs, mechanics if you will, for planning your wedding stationery.


 

GENERAL TIMELINE

 

SAVE THE DATES:
Save the dates are generally sent out 6 months or more prior to the wedding date. It is necessary that you have your wedding date selected before sending out the save the dates. You may not have your venue selected, but will need to include either the venue or the city of your wedding prior. 

WEDDING INVITATION:
Wedding invitations are typically mailed within 8-12 weeks prior to the wedding day. To ensure you order your stationery in time, count backwards from your mail-out date. A general rule of thumb is to allow around three months prior to your mail out date for ordering. This allows plenty of design & printing time, as well as necessary assembly. The wait may be less for non-traditional stationery, but will still ensure a reasonable time-frame for your stationery designer and vendor suppliers. 

HOSTED EVENTS:
During your season of engagement, you will likely have a stringer of hosted events, such as engagement parties, shower. Stationery for those events are generally mailed within 3-5 weeks before the hosted event. The timeline varies depending on the formality or informality of the event. 

 
 

WORDING TRADITIONS

-traditional wedding invitations are typically written in third person and are often hosted by the bride's parents
-the words "honour" and "favour" (reply card) are written in the British style and are often used today, but the American style "honor" and "favor" are perfectly acceptable as well
-traditionally, you would write "request the honour of your presence at the marriage of...", for a less formal invitation, is it acceptable to write "invite you to the wedding of," or a similar phrase of invitation
-you do not include punctuation except to follow Mr., Mrs., Ms., etc.
-it is acceptable to abbreviate Sr. for Senior and Jr. for Junior
-doctors and military rankings should be written out in full
-numerics and street addresses on the invitation card should be written out in full
-traditionally, the time is written in full and the half hour is written out like "half after seven o'clock"
-the numbers within your wedding date should be spelled out in full
-the year is spelled out "
two thousand seventeen"
 

INVITATION WORDING OPTIONS

When the parents of the bride are hosting the wedding...

Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Scott McGee
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Allison Nichole
to
Oliver James Keller
...


*you may include "son of..." after groom's name


When the couple and parents of the bride and/or groom host the wedding together...

Together with their families
Allison Nichole McGee
and
Oliver James Keller
invite you to celebrate their marriage

...

When the couple issues the invitation...

Allison McGee
and
Oliver Keller
invite you to attend their wedding
...

*you may include middle names if you wish



When the bride's parents are divorced...

If the divorced parents are friendly and co-hosting the wedding together, the invitation is generally issues in both parent's names. The mother's name (married name if remarried) would appear first. If only one parents has been involved in the bride's life and is the hostess of the wedding, you would only include the one parents.

Mrs. (or Mr.) Kelly Scott Richardson
requests the honor of your presence
at the marriage of her (or his) daughter
...

 

When the one of the bride's parents have passed away...

same as above in the situation that only one parent hosts the wedding
 

When the bride has step parents...

When the bride has been raised by a parent and stepparent and the other natural parent is not hosting the wedding, you would include the parent and stepparent as followed:

Mr. and Mrs. Cory Warren Alexander
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of his (or her) daughter
Norah Faye Jones
...

*if the other natural parent is also hosting the wedding, you would include them as well
*use the bride's full name if her last name is different from her stepfather's last name
*if the bride has been legally adopted by the stepparent, you may use the phrase "at the marriage of "their" daughter..."


 

ENVELOPE ADDRESSING

INNER & OUTER ENVELOPES:
Formally, wedding invitations consist of both an inner & outer envelope. The outer envelope housed the more formal title and address, whereas the inner envelope represented the more familiar titles.
 

Close family and dear friends:

outer envelope:
Mr. and Mrs. Michael Wayne Jameson
...

inner envelope:
Uncle Michael and Aunt Hope

 
 

Married couples with young children:

inner envelope:
Mr. and Mrs. Blanchard
Eliza Blanchard
Blake Blanchard
 

outer envelope:
Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Lee Blanchard
...

 
 

Teenagers in the home:
Children over the age of thirteen should technically receive their own invitation.
*Miss is used for young ladies thirteen and older; however, "Mr." is used for young men eighteen and older.

Couples who live together:
If a couple lives together, you may address them on the same invitation:

An attendee and guest:
If you are using and inner outer envelope, you would only include "and guest" on the inner envelope. You may use "and guest" on the outer envelope when opting away from the inner envelope.

Military and Doctor titles:
If one spouse has a military title, you would include that military or doctor titled (spelled out) on both the inner and outer envelope just as you would Mr. and Mrs.

If both spouses have the same military or doctor titles, you would write:
The Doctors Smith
or
Doctors Tyler and Mary Smith


NEED HELP?

Every book has a different story to tell! If you have an etiquette question, I'd love to hear it. Maybe you'd like to go against the grain, which is absolutely acceptable! Let's hear it...

 
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