We know, we know - the concept of etiquette seems SO outdated these days! And when you're wedding planning, you have enough on your plate without having to worry about what is and is not "proper". But hear us out - we've seen a lot of weddings over the years, and there are actually pretty good reasons for learning and abiding by some simple wedding invitation etiquette rules.
One of the best things about etiquette is that it takes the guesswork out of many of your decisions. If you're unsure of how to address an envelope, there are etiquette guidelines to help. If you don't know what to include or what not to include on your wedding invitations, just look to etiquette (and reference our handy Invitation Wording post here for quick reference!). Think of it as a cheat sheet for making sure that all of your guests are happy and feel welcomed and graciously cared for during your big day!
Now that we've sold you on the "why" behind our etiquette obsession, here are some of the most common wedding invitation etiquette mistakes we see, and how to avoid them.
1. Adding a wedding website url to the front of a formal invitation
Wedding websites are super helpful, and we are definitely in favor of including this information on your save the dates, and within your wedding invitation suite as well - it just doesn't belong on the front of your formal wedding invitation. Instead, add the url (no need to include "http://") to a separate enclosure card in the suite. This can be a business card size insert with just the website address included, or a larger card that also lists Accommodations or other wedding-related details.
2. Not properly crediting the hosts
Sometimes family situations make this tricky, but as a general rule, whoever is hosting (read: paying for) your wedding should be listed at the top of the wedding invitation on the "host line". However, we've seen lots of instances where for one reason or another, there were a plethora of "hosts" listed at the top - and they actually had very little or nothing to do with planning the wedding at all! To avoid this, if there are complicated family dynamics or if multiple people are contributing to the wedding budget, the most graceful way to word the host line is "Together with their families". This is the best, all-inclusive strategy. Otherwise, stick to no more than one or two hosts (or host couples) to honor at the top.
3. Including a dress code on the invitation
Although we've all seen many instances where dress codes of all shapes and sizes are included on wedding invitations (tropical beach festive attire, anyone?!), etiquette rules suggest that this is not recommended. Your guests should be able to judge the level of formality of your event based on the design of your invitation, and other clues like the time of day the wedding is taking place and the wedding venue itself. By specifying a certain type of attire, you are actually insinuating that you don't trust your guests to know what they should wear to your wedding. Yes, we know that actually might be true - however, it's best to take the gracious route and allow your guests to make their own choice on their attire for the big day. If you must include attire details somewhere, add them to a separate enclosure card in your suite, or better yet, use your wedding website for this information.
4. Saying "No Children" in the invitation suite
Even if you are having an adults only celebration, there are more gracious ways to indicate this to your guests - so try to avoid saying "adults only" or "no children" on your invitations. Instead, let your guests know who is and is not invited by either including or omitting their names from the outer and inner envelopes - if kids aren't included, they aren't invited. If you feel the need for additional clarification, you can include a line on your reply cards that says "we have reserved ______ seat(s) in your honor". You'll fill in the blank on each card with the number of seats reserved, so guests will clearly know whether they can bring their children (this works for single guests knowing whether or not to bring a date, too!).
5. Including wedding registry information in the invitation suite
We saved this one for last because it's our biggest etiquette pet peeve, and we think it should be yours, too. The purpose of a wedding invitation is to make your guests feel welcome and excited about your day, and the mention of gifts doesn't serve that purpose. Even including "no gifts, please" is considered improper since it implies that gifts are expected in the first place. So, just don't worry about gifts and make your invitations all about you wanting to celebrate with your guests! That said, we know your guests WILL want to know where you're registered. So, include your registry info (and links to online registries) on your wedding website.
If you avoid these top 5 etiquette mistakes when crafting your wedding invitations, you'll be well on your way to creating a gracious and welcoming experience for all of your loved ones as they plan to celebrate with you! For more expert guidance, work with us to create the perfect wedding invitation suite from start to finish. We'd love to assist!