Mistakes to Avoid in your Wedding Invitations
Updated: Oct 23, 2019
As wedding season approaches, invitations are being ordered, addressed, stamped and sent. Invitations initiate the guest experience for your wedding and the following invitation etiquette will assist you in crafting the experience you want for your guests. Over the years I’ve witnessed breech of invitation etiquette that not only sets an awkward tone for the celebration, but it can also steal joy from the guest experience. The following are eight common mistakes to avoid when inviting guests to your Big Day.
1. Selecting a template or style that does not match the style of your wedding. If you’re planning a black tie celebration, you’ll want to skip casual themed stationery. Invitations are the key to building anticipation for your guests. You’ll want your invitation to set the tone of your wedding cluing your guests into the degree of formality or informality of your celebration, as well as hint at the theme all around. Font, wording, texture, material, inserts… be sure to communicate a cohesive message to your guests from the moment they pick up the invitation from the mailbox.
2. Addressing the invitation generally, or worse… incorrectly. An invitation ought to be specifically addressed to each person invited to the wedding. This means avoiding general address, like ‘The Smith Family,’ and instead listing the names of each person in the family. For those of you planning kid-free weddings, this is especially important… as your invitation is the single, appropriate place to communicate that kiddos are not welcome by simply omitting their names from the invitation (super tacky to blatantly spell out that its a kid-free celebration anywhere else). If you’re granting your bestie a plus one for her new romantic interest, be sure to list said interest’s name, rather than addressing them “Plus One.” And by all means, be sure to accurately address each invitation: correct spelling, correct names, and correct address.
3. Sending invitations too early; or too late. There is a very specific window for sending your invitations — 6 to 8 weeks out from the wedding. I often hear from couples planning destination weddings that they are planning to send their invitations as early as possible so their guests have time to make their travel arrangements. 6 months before the wedding is far too soon to send out invitations…. this is what save-the-dates are for. Occasionally, I hear of invitations going out too late… Giving your guests just the right amount of notice will increase the chances of your guests making it to the celebration.
4. Listing a gift registry on the invitation. No, no, no, no, no, no, no. Just no. Listing your gift registry on your invitation is like saying, “get us gifts!” Just don’t do it. Gift registries are best shared by (option a) word of mouth (via your maid of honor, best man, and/or parents); or, (option b) on your wedding website. If you’re not doing a wedding website, default to option a.
5. Ordering invitations with typos or misinformation. Ugh! This can be a really big bummer. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to check and recheck your invitations before ordering — Confirm your ceremony time with your planner, venue, etc. and get several sets of editing eyes on the copy before ordering your invitations.
6. Sending invitations to guests you expect not to show up; or not sending invitations to guests you know won’t be able to make it. I cannot event begin to count how many times I hear from couples, “We’re inviting 150, but we are counting on 50 of them not showing up.” Please don’t do this. If you invite 150, expect your budget to cover 150. Nothing’s worse than cringing each time a guest that you invited RSVPs YES! There are few occasions in life where people will go that extra mile to celebrate with you… weddings are one of those few occasions. If you invite them, they will come…. You will be surprised just how many second cousins twice removed will actually fly across the county to be with you on your special day.
On the flip side, do not forego invitations for folks you know won’t make it. This is an immediate recipe for drama. Everyone loves an invitation… even if they, in no way, will be able to make it. There’s just something about the spirit of inclusion that feels good.
In short… invite whom you wish to share your special day. No more. No less.
7. Not including correct postage on the RSVP card or envelope. Doh! Hand slap to forehead. The weight of invitations, envelopes, rsvp cards, directions, etc. can all add up. Be sure to double check with your post office how much postage is needed for your invitations… and always provide postage for the RSVP card… especially if you want your guests to actually RSVP.
8. Missing name on the RSVP Card. Tracking RSVPs can become one of the most labor intensive pieces of the wedding. Its exceptionally frustrating when you receive an RSVP and have absolutely no idea who its from because they didn’t write their name on the M line. Save yourself the trouble and number or invisibly ink each RSVP card before sending them out in the invitations to simplify tracking your RSVPs. Thank me later. ;)
Remember that invitations are the first experience of your wedding for your guests. Have fun with building the anticipation of what is to come using every detail of your invitations to tell the pending story of the day. May these reminders assist you in crafting the perfect invitations for your special day!
In the comments below, share with us the details of how you utilized your invitations or plan to use your invitations to build anticipation for your special day.