What is Traditional Wedding Etiquette for Invitations

Traditional wedding invitations are your guests’ first glimpse of your tradition wedding. Following traditional wedding etiquette for invitations will ensure you don’t offend anyone on your guest list. Including traditional wedding invitation wording, what to include on your tradition wedding invitation suite, send save the date or not, when to send out wedding invites and save the date card if you have, and how much time should you give your wedding guests to RSVP, how to address each guest on the envelope, etc.

traditional wedding invitations

Inviting guests to your wedding isn’t as simple as choosing stationery you love. Conveying the pertinent information in a clear and concise way is key to ensuring everyone knows where and when to celebrate your upcoming union. Wedding invitations stationers on Happyinvitation.com help you get the etiquette just right, but a helpful guide is essential.

Checked these expert-approved traditional wedding invitation etiquette tips you need to know before choosing your stationery, planning your wedding will be a time of joy and excitement.

What to include on the traditional wedding invitations?

After pick out your favorite design, it’s time to tackle your wedding invitations wording. The wording of invitations are written in the third person. And it various on who is hosting (or paying for ) the wdding and whether or not ceremony and reception are hosted at the same venue.

Typical features of traditional wedding invitations wording:

  • Hostline, the first line of the wedding invitation;
  • A request line, invite people to attend your wedding;
  • Couple names, the bride’s name typically goes first;
  • Date and time of the ceremony, traditionally, the date and time should be spelled out in full;
  • Location, venue information;
  • RSVP deadline and contact details;
  • Reception Information;
  • Other info, like dress code or something you think important

Host line, the first line on the wedding invites, it tells who’s hosting the wedding or who is paying for the wedding.

Traditionally, it is usually the bride’s parents, if so, listing their names on the hose line was a way of acknowledging the generosity. But these days, more and more couples are paying for the wedding themselves, in this case, you can omit the host line entirely, or receiving financial contributions from parents on both sides, in this case, you can list all parents’ names or opt for something simpler like, “Together with their parents” or “Together with their families.

And there are other rules to help you figure out the best host-line wording:

  • Do not list names in order of who paid more;
  • Hosts who are not married should be on separate lines;
  • The word “and” between two names implies that those people are married, so if your parents are divorced and both of them are hosts, include them all, just keep each parents on a separate line;
  • The name of stepparent should keep on the same line;
  • Common way to include the name of a parent who is deceased is alongside a member of the couple’s name as “Olivia French, daughter of Susan French.

When the groom’s parents are contributing financially to the wedding, and both sets of parents are hosting, the groom’s parents can be are added at the top of the invitation. Or It’s most traditional to include the names of groom’s parents after the groom’s name.

Request line, it is where you invite people to attend your wedding, it is the section to set the tone of your celebration.

If your wedding is formal, use more formal language, like request the honor of your presence;

If your wedding is casual, then use less formal language to reflect the occasion, like want you to come party with us;

‘The honor of your presence’ is traditionally used to denote a religious service, while “the pleasure of your company” or variations on this is used to denote a non-religious ceremony locale.

Some couples opt to spell “honour” using the British spelling, both are correct. Spelling it with a “u” evokes a more formal and traditional feel. If you’re using “honour” on the invitation, we recommend matching it with “favour” on the RSVP card.

 Couples’ Names, whose name goes first, do you have to include last name, how about middle name, there are a few suggestions:

The bride’s name typically goes first, followed by the groom’s name.

If the bride’s parents’ names are listed at the host line, the bride’s name can just be her first and middle name, without last name, while the groom’s name is listed in full, or first and middle names are listed followed by the line “Son of Mr. & Mrs. XXX”.

For same-sex couples, names can be listed in order of alphabetical, or in the order that looks best with the invitation design.

For a causal wedding, you may opt to list first names only.

Date & Time, it should be spelled out in full traditionally. If your date is on September 18, 2019, at 4:30 pm, then the wording should showed on invitation, “Sunday, the eighteenth of September, two thousand nineteen, at half afer four in the afternoon.”

There are some rules in format of Date & Time:

The day of the week and the month should be capitalized;

The year should be lowcase, and there is no “and” when spelling out the year;

“Half after” is the most traditional way to indicate time. For less formal invitations, it can written as “half past four o’clcok” or “four-thirty.”

Evening begins at five o’clcok, from noon until four o’clock is considered afeternoon. Traditionally there is no need to add phrase such as “in the afternoon” or “in the evening” unless the event takes places at time like 8, 9, 10 which need to clarity. Or it is needed to improve the overall look of the invite design.

Also for informal wedding the date and time are listed using numerals.

 Location, it should be listed as follows:

Venue Name on one line;

City, State on the following line. Spell out the state name instead of abbreviations for formal wedding;

Zip codes are not necessary;

The street address of the venue is traditionally not include unless it is a private residence.

Other Considerations, usually dress code, wedding website

 Dress code is oprional but your guest would appreciate it if added. However if your wedding is black tie, you must include dress code on the invitations.
The dress code line should be listed on a line following the reception location.

Wedding website, typically it is not print on your wedding invitations. Instead you should list it on one of the accompanying card (such as reception card, save the date card or additional information card).

Keep invitation simple, phrases like “no childern” or “adult only” should not be included on the invitation card. Guests will be implied by the names on the envelope.

Alos you should leave off registry information, you can provice it on your wedding website; family and members of the wedding party can spread the word for you too.

Send save the date or not?

You can never give too much notice. No one will complain about having extra leeway to plan. It is important if you’re throwing a destination wedding.

The names of the couple getting married and the date should be most prominent, along with a note that invitation will follow.

You don’t have to name the venue, but if you have a website, save-the-date is great place to share the URL.

When to send save-the-date: as s placeholder for the real invitation, it ensures that guests know to clear their schedules on that day, or avoid committing to any other event. Save the date card is send out between 6 and 12 months before the wedding.

When to send wedding invitations?

How early is too early for sending out invitations? Finding the right time to send out wedding invitations can be a difficult balancing act. Many bridesmaid want to send out their invitations early so that they can confirm their numbers with vendors. But sending traditional wedding invitations too early, guests may end up leaving the invitation in a pile of mail and forget to respond or RSVP “yes” and then forget about it, or they cannot commit to a date so far in advance, ultimately it may make finalizing your guest list numbers more diffcult.

The general rule of thumb is to send invitations 8 to 12 weeks before the date. If you’re concerned that you need more time, 16 weeks early is acceptable.

If you choose not to send save-the-date, feel free to send your wedding invitations out a bit earlier, 8 to 16 weeks range before the date. This way, your guests have a little more warning and more time to plan.

Or if you’re planning a destination wedding, your guestes need more notice so they can figure out travel arrangement, sending our your destination wedding invitation 12 to 16 weeks before the big day.

Ultimately, you can send out your invitations whenever you want, but you should keep in mind that guests may forget that they RSVP’d or simply forget to answer if you invite them too early. If you’re worried about guests being double-booked, use a save-the-date to encourage them to mark their calendars. A wedding website, perhaps even with email updates, is another great way to remind guests about your upcoming celebration.

How much time shoud you give your guests to RSVP?

Decide when should the RSVP deadline be can be frustraing. You should make sure your guests have enough time to RSVP but not too much that they might forget to reply. check out the guide below to figure out how much time you should really give your potential attendees to get their responses in:

Assuming you’ve sent your wedding invitations out in time (8 to 16 weeks before the date), then give your guests 4 to 5 weeks to RSVP.

So that there is plenty of time for people to figure out if they are able to attend your wedding, and you get a few days to get in touch with people who you haven’t heard from. Your caterer will have a accurately head count at least one week before the reception.

What to do to people who didn’t RSVP

We recommend trying to get in touch with them the day after the deadline passes. Ask them if they received the invitation and how you hope their presence. Most likely, they will quickly give you an answer. If they’re not sure, explaining that you have to give the caterer a final number, ask them to call or text you in 24 hours. If they don’t contact you by the next day, then count them out.

response card

How to address each guest on the envelope?

Your guests’ entire names should be written on the outer envelopes. “Mr. and Mrs.” generally are abbreviated.

Address married couples as “Mr. and Mrs.,” followed by the husband’s first and last name. It’s also fine to list both full names. When a woman keeps her maiden name, the names are written in alphabetical order: Ms. Susuan Jones and Mr. John Smith.

Title do matters, if the wife is a doctor, her full name comes first, as in “Doctor xxx and Mr. xxx”. When husband is a doctor, it appears as “Doctor and Mrs. xxx”. And if both husband and wife are doctors, then address the envelop like this “Drs. Sharon and Gary Lawrence”.

Unmarried couple who live together, write their names on two lines.

A single women should be addressed as “Ms.”unless she’s a doctor. If she is under 21, use “Miss.”

Street, Post Office Box, and Apartment should all be written in full. The same is true for city and state names and house number smaller than 20.

Should I use an inner envelope?

More traditional and formal invitations tend to use an inner and outer envelope. On the inner envelope, you’d write the name of the person or persons invited, such as “Ms. Keats and guest.”

Thank you card, when to send out?

Thank you card should be treated with a sense of urgency. Send them within two weeks of receiving the present to express your true appreciation.

thank you card

Wedding invitations is important for a number of reasons. Not only do you want your closest guests to make it to the wedding, you also need a guest count to tell the venue for tables, chairs, and seating arrangements, and to tell caterers and other vendors so that you have the right amount of food, drinks, and so on. And you might think it is easy to word your wedding invitation, but once you start, you may realize that crafting the perfect wedding invitation wording can be little tricky. The wording of your invitation should reflect the overall vibe of your wedding day, there are etiquette rules to navigate and maybe a couple of sticky situation to figure out. Check these typical wording example:

Divorced parents on the wedding invitation are hosting,example wording:


Ms. Margo Luanne Manning
    Mr. Patrick Lewis Manning
    request the honour of your presence
    at the marriage of their daughter


Mr. and Mrs. Zachary Richard Bronson
   Mr. and Mrs. Patrick Lewis Manning
   request the honour of your presence
   at the marriage of their daughter

Example wording of the couple hosting wedding:

Together with their families
Amelia Rose Manning
and Liam Quinlan Cullen
request the pleasure of your company
at the celebration of their wedding

Or less formal

Together with their parents
Amelia Manning
and Liam Cullen
invite you to their wedding

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