There are a lot of emotions involved in weddings. So the more you can boil things down to simple emotionless guidelines, the better. But even more important, if your grandma is operating
by a etiquette playbook you’ve deemed irrelevant, you might end up hurting her feelings when you really want to thrill and delight her.
And we can’t have that, can we?
That said, there is a lot of wedding invitation etiquette that just hasn’t been updated to make sense in the current world of weddings.
So let’s, once and for all, go over the rules—as they were once and as they are now.
Modern Wedding Invitation Etiquette
Should We Send Save-The-Dates? And When?
Save-the-dates are a relatively new invention (Don’t believe me? Ask your parents if they had them.), which means there is a refreshing (or confusing) lack of formal etiquette surrounding them.
First up, save-the-dates are totally optional. It’s handy to provide significant advance notice to guests. In fact, giving notice six months or more in advance is great, and a year in advance for true destination weddings is even better.
But that notice can come in any number of forms. You can send a save-the-date email, or make save-the-date phone calls.
Or, of course, you can send out cute note cards or magnets or whatever creative trinket your heart desires. But only spend cash money on save-the-dates if you really want to. Because again? They’re optional.
Here is one word of warning about save-the-dates: if you send them out way in advance, and your ideas about the wedding change, you may well be stuck with the guest list you’ve got.
Sure, you can send out notes saying you called it all off and went to the courthouse with your families.
But it’s a lot harder to send a note saying you reduced your guest list from 150 to 100, and the recipient didn’t make the cut. So tread lightly, and only give notice to folks you know you will be inviting, no matter what.
What Information Should We Include On Our Invitation?
While it can be fun to get visually creative with your wedding invitations, you don’t want to get creative with communicating the information, because well, you want people to come.
While we’ve gone in depth on wedding invitation wording in the past, the real key is just to remember to legibly communicate who, what, where, and when.
Do we Include Registry Information?
Old school traditional etiquette insists that you never include any information on your wedding registry, because that should only be spread by word of mouth. However, all your wedding guests really like to find registry information on wedding websites, so do everyone a favor and put it there. (I’m calling the rule change as official.)
In general, however, you probably don’t want to mention anything about gifts on the wedding invitation. You want people there because you love them, not because you want a soupspoon, so don’t muddle the message.
How Should We Let People Know About Our Wedding Website?
If you’re sending out save-the-dates, putting your wedding website on them can be a helpful way to give guests a better feeling for what your wedding will look like (and encourage them to buy plane tickets, if you’re holding off on sending official invites till a few weeks out). When you send out your formal invitation, it’s helpful to include the wedding website information again. Typically you don’t print the website on the actual invitation, but instead on one of the (sometimes many) accompanying pieces of paper.
And no, you don’t have to have a wedding website if you don’t want to. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.