The Ins and Outs of Formal Wedding Invitation Etiquette

By Stacy Beatty

In today's modern society, wedding invitations can be given via word of mouth, telephone, or email. The main goal of the wedding invitation is to make sure that all your guests know the who, what, when and where of your wedding and reception.

Even though wedding invitations are like many other kinds of invitation, there is almost always more formality to them. Because of this association, wedding invitation etiquette has been established to help you navigate the ins and outs of inviting guests to your wedding. This protocol is in place because a formal wedding invitation lets your guests know through the paper stock, the type style and the wording that this is not a casual event. The more formal your wedding, the more formal the invitations need to be.

Addressing wedding invitations for a formal wedding does not allow for inviting guests via email or phone since these methods are relatively new. It calls for the traditional style of printed invitations, which are sent by regular mail.

Formal wedding invitations usually have the following characteristics. There are usually two envelopes with the invitation. The first envelope is the outer envelope which holds everything pertaining to the invitation. The second envelope is used for the reply card only. They are often engraved and generally written in the third person style. They are printed on heavy white, cream or ivory. They use a classic font.

There are other useful guidelines for preparing formal wedding invitations that you should keep in mind. Most formal wedding invitations are printed by a professional printing service and then the envelope is hand addressed by either the groom or bride. If your guest is certain to bring a date or companion it is acceptable to write "and guest" on the invitation when you do not know their name. Usually this limits the amount of unknown guests brought along by others. For a very formal wedding, your invitations should not be highly creative. Ceremonies held in places of worship require a more formal setup and thereby more formal invitations than a ceremony held in a nature setting or a home.

Wedding invitation etiquette is a must for the formal invitation. This lets the invited guests know the importance of this special occasion, whereas a wedding shower invitation, for example, is much less formal and more playful.

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