Unique Wedding Invitations

Posted by cmotbd on November 16th, 2011 at 01:21am

Your Unique Wedding Invitations are the first look that your guests will have of the upcoming event.  Since the invitation must answer all of the questions that your guests may have, it is vitally important that the information provided in the invitation be precise.  Without all of the information clearly spelled out in the invitation, your guests may not know everything they need to know.  An invitation needs to answer the basic questions of who, what, when, where and why.

The unique wedding invitations should be sent out at least 6 weeks before the wedding.  This gives your guests ample time to make the necessary arrangements to attend and more importantly, enough time for you to make final preparations after receiving the RSVP cards.  You should request the date of the return of the RSVP cards about 3 weeks before the actual wedding date.

The formality of the invitation is a major clue to the formality of the event.  Check with your wedding stationary experts to determine which type of invitation would best suit your wedding.  However, if you are planning a white or black tie affair, it is wise to list it as such on the invitation.  For less formal weddings, the options may be: Semi-formal, cocktail attire, festive attire, black tie optional, dressy casual, informal.

The rules of etiquette for traditional wedding invitations are quite clear but with more and more untraditional weddings taking place, sometimes it is difficult to know how to supply all of the necessary information in an invitation.  Often, we rely on the expertise of a wedding planner or the wedding stationary specialists to help design and formalize the wording on the invite.  While that may help in most cases, it is still wise for brides to know the etiquette of the invitation.

There are a few basic bits of information that must be included in all unique wedding invitations, no matter how formal or informal they may.  Each item on this list conveys important information that your guests will need to know if they plan on attending the wedding.  The basics are:

  • Who is getting married and who is hosting.
  • Date and time of the wedding and the reception.
  • Location of the wedding and reception.
  • What the reception includes.
  • RSVP cards.

The Wedding Invitation Makes the Announcement

It is in the first few words of all wedding invitations that the host of the wedding makes the wedding announcement.  All names are fully spelled out without any abbreviation and the bride’s name is always listed first.  Keep in mind that the wording you choose will indicate the formality of the event.  Formal invitations will use Mr. and Mrs. John Smith while more casual weddings will use the less formal introduction of John and Mary Smith.

Mr. and Mrs. John Smith
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter

Traditionally, it has been the parents of the bride who announce the upcoming wedding and host the event.  Their names will appear first requesting the presence of the guest to the wedding of their daughter to the groom.

With untraditional and subsequent weddings on the increase, the parents of the bride are not always footing the bill for the wedding.  If the parents of the groom are hosting the wedding and paying the wedding expenses, the unique wedding invitations should the name of the of groom’s parents to request the presence of the guests to the wedding of their son.

In many cases, it is the bride and groom who are paying the majority of the costs of the wedding and the reception. In which case, it is proper for the bride and groom to announce their own wedding in the invitation and to request the presence of the guests.

When the wedding is hosted by multiple couples, the invitation should also make that clear.  If the bride and groom are included as hosts the invitation would start with their names: Miss Jane Smith and Mr. David Jones, together with their parents (or families), Mr. and Mrs. John Smith and Mr. and Mrs. Robert Jones should be used.  For less formal wedding invitations, just as it is above, the use of Mr. and Mrs. can be dropped using just their names.

The use of the old English phrase ‘honour of your presence’ is used for weddings held in a place of worship.  Weddings held at secular locations should use the word ‘pleasure of your company.’  Casual weddings may simply state that the hosts would be delighted if you would attend the marriage of their daughter.

Date, Time and Location of the Wedding

The date and time of the wedding must be clearly set forth in the wedding invitations.  The formality of the event can be measured by the formality of the information listed.  For example, a formal wedding invitation would list the date as:

Wedding InvitationsSaturday, the seventh of May
two thousand and eleven
at three o’clock in the afternoon

A less formal, more casual wedding might prefer to use a more casual listing on the wedding invite, such as:

Saturday, May 7, 2011 at 3 p.m.

When it comes to listing the location of the wedding, the address should be included.  Do not assume that all of your guests know the address even if the location is a well-known place.

Reception Details Included in the Wedding Invitation

Let your guests know what the reception plans are.  This can be accomplished on the wedding invitations or on a separate reception card. If the location is at another location, that address must be given as well.  The time of the reception is an important detail that your guests will need to know.  Often the reception is held immediately following the ceremony but depending on the time of the wedding, this may not always be the case.

In some cases, the wedding photography session may be held in the time between the wedding ceremony and the reception.  In which case, the guests should be made aware of the gap in time between the two events.

The details of the reception allow your guests to know in advance what to expect at the reception.  Most guests will assume that dinner is being served if the reception is held at a hall or club.  If dinner is not included, then the invitation should list what is being served.  For instance, cake and coffee reception, or cake and cocktails reception are both proper ways to inform your guests that a meal will not be provided.  If dinner will be served and you are offering a choice of entrées, then you may include on the RSVP card an entrée choice such as beef or chicken.

When it comes to libations at the reception, it is not necessary to announce on the unique wedding invitations whether or not alcohol will be served.  The use of a cash bar at a formal reception is considered rude.  A wedding reception is a party celebrating a wedding.  You do not ask your guests to pay for their own refreshments.  If you need to cut expenses, consider cutting out the alcohol altogether or simply offer a champagne toast.

Any other details that are pertinent to the reception that your guests will need to know about should be listed on the invite.  For example, those who wish to exclude children from the reception need to have adult reception, listed on the invite so guests with children can make appropriate plans. 

The Wedding Invitation RSVP Cards

The importance of the RSVP card becomes apparent when the final details are being worked out for the wedding.  The number of guests attending the wedding is not only something the mother of the bride, bride and groom need to know, but also the food service providers, caterers, the reception hall or room crews, as well as the wedding cake maker.

Small casual weddings may choose to simple provide a phone number in lieu of using an RSVP card and this quite acceptable.  However, larger and certainly formal events require the use of a return reply card.

To make it easier for the guests to return the RSVP cards on time, self-addressed stamped envelopes should be included in all wedding invitations.

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