Invitations & Stationery Wedding Invitation Etiquette, Part I: How To Address Wedding Invitations
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How To Address Wedding Invitations

Wedding invitation etiquette for addressing wedding invitations and more: Learn the tips for how to address wedding invitations.

Wedding invitation etiquette is a custom that couples have relied on since the beginning of time. Revered as the go-to resource for wedding day protocol, proper wedding etiquette lends a solution for tackling every hitch, hurdle or snafu under the sun (from answering questions such as "How do I address envelopes to unmarried couples" to setting deadlines for RSVPs). And invitation etiquette is just as valuable with its knowledgeable abundance on the how’s and why’s of requesting the presence of family and friends at your wedding day festivities.

Today’s stationary and wedding envelopment vendors offer an assortment of paper weights, dimensions and colors of wedding invitations in various price points—making it that much easier to add a personal touch to your wedding stationary. Bear in mind, whether you choose modern designs with bold colors and fancy fonts, or a conventional look with 5" x 7" letterpress on ivory stock, wedding invitation etiquette states that the text of your invitation should always include the key details (location, date, time, etc.) in clear wording to keep guests well-informed of any events surrounding your wedding day. In this two-part article, we've broken down a few more rules to following
wedding invitation etiquette.

Part I: Design Basics (Stationary Selections, Formatting and Style)

Wedding Invitation Stationary
Once you have decided on a date and time for your upcoming wedding, you should soon begin the process of ordering your wedding invitations. Basic wedding invitation stationary is comprised of five essential pieces:
1. Wedding Invitation
2. Reception Card
3. Response Card
4. Inner Invitation Envelope
5. Outer Invitation Envelope
Additional elements of wedding stationary include maps or direction cards, insert cards and other decorative embellishments like envelope seals and ribbons.

Wording the Host Family (or Families) on Your Wedding Invitation
Following
Wedding invitation etiquette tradition, wording should include the names of whomever serves as host.
  • If the wedding is hosted by the bride's family, the invitation should read as follows:

Mr. and Mrs. Randall Jones
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Rebecca Elizabeth
to
James Scott Pearson III

  • If the groom's family hosts, the order of names should appear as:

Mr. and Mrs. James Pearson Jr.
invite you to celebrate the union of
Rebecca Elizabeth Jones
to their son
James Scott Pearson III

Mr. and Mrs. Randall Jones
and
Mr. and Mrs. James Pearson Jr.
invite you to share in the union of their children
Rebecca Elizabeth
and
James Scott III

  • If the bride and groom are hosting the wedding themselves, their names should be the only ones listed on the invitation.

The pleasure of your company
is requested at the marriage of
Rebecca Elizabeth Jones
and
James Scott Pearson III


Let the Invitation Set the Stage for Your Wedding
Wedding invitation etiquette lets guests know exactly what to expect, therefore the look and feel of your invitation should spell out for guests whether your day will be fun and laid back or formal and fancy. For most formal ceremonies, couples choose a traditional white or ivory colored stock, medium weight with black script. If your wedding style calls for less pomp and circumstance with your wedding invitation etiquette, try casual fonts with block or "print" lettering.

For themed weddings, try incorporating visual elements from the ceremony or reception site into your wedding invitation. For instance, invitations for weddings held in an outdoor garden could reflect a floral motif. For beachside nuptials, you could use images of palm trees and seashells as festive adornments. Seasonal themes can also be weaved into the look of your invitation, with leaves and snowflakes for fall and winter weddings, and open-face blooms and sunbursts for spring and summer ceremonies.

Spelling Out Dates, Times, and Other Style Rules

Most invitations will follow tradition on this rule, spelling out dates, times and addresses for the wedding reception and ceremony. While some may find the formality a bit old-fashioned to use in their wedding planning, it’s still the most widely-used rendering for wedding etiquette.

Image courtesy of Signatures by Stephanie