Etiquette and Wording
Save the Date Etiquette
While not required, save the dates are becoming more and more common. Many guests appreciate the advance notice, particularly when you are having a summer, holiday, or destination wedding. The information should include your names and the date and city where the wedding will be held. Adding the URL to your wedding website where more details can be found is also recommended.
Notifying your guests 6-8 months before your wedding day should be ample time. If you are planning a destination or holiday wedding, they should be sent out even sooner, up to a year in advance. That will make it easier for your guests to arrange time off and book travel and accommodations.
Any guest who receives a save the date must also get an invitation. Therefore it’s important that your guest list is firm before sending these out! Also, you are not obligated to send a save the date to every potential guest if you anticipate changes.
Save The Date Wording Examples
When wording your save the dates, something to note is that they are typically less formal than wedding invitations, so feel free to have as much fun as you’d like!
Wedding invitation Etiquette
Your invitation is the centerpiece of your wedding stationery. It not only informs your guests about the important details of your big day but also sets the stage through its colors aesthetic, and feel.
We generally advise couples to mail their invitations approximately 8 weeks prior to their wedding day. For destination weddings, 10-12 weeks in advance is recommended.
Wedding Invitation Wording Examples
When wording your invitations, we suggest that you follow traditional etiquette to the extent that you find it helpful. Wording depends on who is hosting the event as well as the type of ceremony you are having. In the end, you should choose what feels right for you!
Host Line Usually indicates who is hosting (and paying for) the wedding. While this was traditionally the bride’s parents, nowadays a range of hosts might be included. In the examples below, you’ll find specific wording options based on different hosting scenarios.
Request Line Varies according to where the wedding ceremony is being held. The phrase ‘request the honor/honour of your presence’ is used for religious ceremonies held in a church, temple, or another place of worship. Either the American or British (with a ‘u’) version is acceptable. For non-religious venues, it is appropriate to say ‘request the pleasure of your company.’ For less formal or non-traditional weddings, choose wording that best fits your event.
Bride & Groom Lines The names of the bride and groom are presented on separate lines. If the bride’s parents are in the host line above and the bride shares the last name, it is not repeated. Formal invitations refer to the groom by his full name, preceded by his title.
Date and Time Lines Spell out numbers for the time and date on formal invitations. It is proper to say “o’clock” and “half after” (not “half past”) to indicate the time. Designating the time of day with “in the morning/evening” is helpful if the wedding is held at 8, 9, or 10 o’clock otherwise it is optional. Any time from 6 pm or later is considered evening.
Location LinesThe venue, city, and state are written out in full with no abbreviations. The street address is unnecessary unless the wedding is taking place at a site that is not well known (e.g., private residence). The ZIP code should not be listed.
Reception Line If your reception will be held in the same location as your ceremony, you can simply state ‘reception to follow’ or ‘dinner and dancing to follow’ on the last line of the invitation. When the reception is held elsewhere, formal invitations include the reception information on a separate card.
Attire If the style of dress is important to note for your guests (e.g. black tie) you can add a line regarding attire to the lower right corner of the invitation or reception card.
Reply Card Etiquette
Reply (or response) cards allow guests to let you know whether they will attend your wedding or not. As a common courtesy, the reply envelope should be self-addressed and pre-stamped so that your guests can easily mail their reply in a timely manner.
For the most formal reply cards, there is a single line of text requesting a reply along with blank space for guests to write in their responses. Another approach is to provide the first letter of Mr. or Mrs. or Ms. (called the M line) with checkboxes for responses. Additionally, you may include menu choices for your guests or options to attend a post-wedding brunch or additional activity.
Reply Card Wording Examples
Request Line The formality of your wording should be consistent with your invitation. The phrase “the favor of a response is requested by” is the most formal. If your invitation is worded “the honor/honour of your presence” then the corresponding response text would be “the favor/favour of a reply.” The phrases “please respond by” or “kindly reply by” are less formal phrases.
Return Date Check with your caterer and/or venue to see when they will need a final headcount. Build in some extra time to track down any non-responses and finalize the numbers. Typically, setting the reply by date about 4 weeks prior to the wedding is an adequate period of time. Ideally, it will be about midway between your mail date and wedding. When writing out the reply by date, follow the same format as you did on the invitation and leave out the year.
M Line The M in front of the line is for your guests to continue with Mr. or Mrs. or Ms. followed by their names. Although depending on your personal preference, some people choose to lead the line with “name(s)” instead.
Response Options You can personalize how you word responses on the reply card to fit your occasion. The phrases “accepts with pleasure / declines with regret” are traditional. If you prefer a less formal tone, there are many other creative options from “can’t wait! / can’t make it” to “wouldn’t miss it / toasting from afar”.
Meal Options If you need an exact count of the entrées your caterer will need to serve, you can allow guests to indicate their preference by either listing meal options by meat choices (e.g., chicken, fish, vegetarian) or using small icons. We advise that you ask that each guest to initial their entrée choice so that you know exactly to whom the meal should be served.