There is most definitely a certain set of questions I get asked regularly about invitation etiquette and the like so I've put the answers right on the website but let's go over so we are all in the know. You'll probably be surprised by some of them and to be honest I am too even after all this time. So let's get into it!
1. HOW MANY INVITATIONS DO I NEED?
Easy answer: count your guest list.
Reality: I've learned this is much easier said then done. The biggest mistake you can make is counting one invite per person! You think this doesn't happen and people end up ordering (and paying for) twice as many invites as they actually need...think again. Count households not individuals! I repeat COUNT HOUSEHOLDS NOT INDIVIDUALS.
And guess what. Parents and grooms (and yes, brides too) add and subtract from the list until the moment the invitations are being addressed. The best advice I can give is create a deadline for all those involved in the planning process and then put it under lock and key or you could find yourself in a sticky situation with too many or too little invitations. Remember printing 10 or 20 extra suites is costly and definitely stress you don't need.
2. DO I HAVE TO INVITE MY GUESTS WITH A GUEST?
Yes and No.
If your guest has a significant other they live with or have been dating for some time, yes you do. In that case you should address the invitation to both of them. Avoid using "and Guest" at all costs. It is thoughtful to invite a friend with a guest regardless of their relationship status if they won't know anyone else at the wedding but not required.
If they are single no you don't. If you are feeling generous or have the means to afford additional guests then by all means feel free but you are not obligated to do so.
3. HOW DO I ACKNOWLEDGE A DECEASED PARENT ON OUR INVITATION?
You don't. That hurts, I know...having first hand experience here it was said to me "Your wedding invitation is sent from the host as an invitation to a joyous celebration and you deserve that. When your guests read your invitation you want them to think about it as such and not think about how sad it is that someone isn't going to be there." And that is very true, isn't it? So instead you should find ways of honoring special loved ones who have passed like using their favorite flower in your bouquet, a meaningful song or reading during the ceremony, listing a special note in your program about them and what they mean to you or with a donation to a charity they supported as a wedding favor. They will be present in your heart and mind that day and that is the most important thing.
4. WHITE INVITATIONS OR IVORY?
White? Ivory? How about color! But if we are only choosing white or ivory the response I hear most often is "Well my dress is ____" so let's do that. But here's the thing...when a bride says my dress is white because that's what the designer swatch says doesn't mean it's actually white white. Most finer fabrics like satin can not be made bright white so the designer will list their lightest shade as white even though it isn't...so my suggestion is always NATURAL WHITE. It's not a bright white but not ivory or ecru either.
5. HOW DO I ADDRESS DOUBLE WEDDING ENVELOPES?
First of all...do you need double wedding envelopes...no, and if you are looking to save some of your cost do it here. Double envelopes were a standard in years passed because the outer envelope would show the wear and tear of the delivery process so guests would discard it and keep your invitation and it's accessories in the pristine inner envelope. That said if you want to go the traditional and grand route, go for it! The outer envelope should contain the recipient's names, address, etc. and the inner envelope should be addressed to your recipient by title and surname. For example:
Outer Envelope: Mrs. and Mrs. Michael Andrews
Inner Envelope: Mr. and Mrs. Andrews
6. CAN I ASK MY GUESTS TO REPLY ONLINE OR VIA EMAIL ONLY?
I embrace technology more than most people but NO. Does your Great Aunt Edith have an email? Not all of your guests have embraced technology like the rest of us and it's not polite to invite someone to the most important day of your life but not give them a feasible way to respond. So for now, send a reply card or even a reply post card but for the love of all things good and pure, please just send some form of reply card.
7. DO I NEED A RECEPTION CARD?
If your ceremony and reception are taking place in the same location, no. But if you are having the ceremony in one location and reception in another than traditionally you would use a reception card. However, if you are budget minded, than 9 out of 10 times you can print the reception information right on your invitation. I find that most brides are opting to go this route and spend their budget on a Details Card instead...a Detail Card is a signature card at CKV where we will print your accommodation info, directions, special instructions, website, other event information, attire requests, etc. on a coordinating card.
8. HOW DO I TELL MY GUEST "NO KIDS!"
You don't, however brides request this be placed on the invitation all the time. Your guest should be alerted to who is invited to the big day by the names on the invitation envelope. If the kids name are not on the envelope they are not invited. But the problem lies with the guests who don't realize that, so that's when word of mouth through friends and family make all the difference. And if that still fails you can make a polite call to the guest who plans on bringing her 9 month old triplets to your Black Tie wedding in a Grand Ballroom. Just be polite and let them know the children will be bored and you'd love for her to get out and have a little adult time!
9. WHAT SHOULD BE MY RSVP DATE?
Typically a caterer will ask you to know your total number of guests 1-2 weeks before your wedding and you will have guests who forget to send the reply card back and you may have to track them down for an answer. So 3 weeks is generally a good idea, plus this will also give you 3 weeks to play with the seating arrangements! Bonus!
10. CAN I LIE ABOUT THE START TIME OF MY CEREMONY SO EVERYONE IS ON TIME?
No, you can not. Every other bride I sit down with wants to put the ceremony time as a half hour earlier than it actually is because they don't want people to show up late. Some people are late because they're babysitter was late, some were stuck in traffic, some were at work and some are just late because they are always late but that's life. More importantly think about your guests who are on time...let's say your ceremony starts at 3 o'clock and you print the invitations with a time of 2:30....some guests will be there as early as 2 o'clock. Now they will be waiting for an entire hour for the festivities to start; that may mean they wasted money on an extra hour of babysitting or left work early to be there to stand around. That just isn't fair to those guests so be honest and remember even if someone is late, it absolutely will not ruin your day.
Questions? Comment below and I'll answer anything you can throw at me!