Your contemporary wedding invitation is the first impression your big day will make on the members of your guest list. Whether you’ve decided to go for understated floral elegance, a humorous depiction of the bride and groom, or a bright and bold card stock, your wedding invitation is the one thing that almost everyone will remember as they prepare to share in this momentous event. However, no matter how contemporary your invitations are or how modern your wedding will be, one thing remains certain: traditional wedding invitation etiquette is a must.
Although some invitation etiquette is based only on tradition, many of the following guidelines are also used because they are simply the polite way of doing things. It is always best to use your discretion to determine what is best for you; however, it is equally important to remember that weddings are typically all about creating an overall impression of propriety. Even if you’re going down the contemporary and modern road, tradition can go a long way in putting your guests at ease and making them feel like an important part of your wedding.
What to Put in the Invitation
Most brides and grooms should use their entire names on the invitation, including the first, middle, and last name. Nicknames and initials should be avoided wherever possible.
Spell out all the words on your contemporary wedding invitation, including times, dates, addresses, and even years. The exception to this is if you are working with names that are followed by numbers (such as “Harold the third”). In this instance, use Roman numerals.
When applicable, use insertions (the thin, tissue-like paper that goes inside the pages of an invitation). Although these aren’t really needed to blot ink, as they were historically called upon to do, most people enjoy the elegance of the gesture.
Refrain from indicating where you are registered. If someone really wants to know, they can always ask someone in the wedding party.
How to Address and Send Envelopes
Make sure you include (and Guest) when inviting a single adult to your wedding. Few people enjoy attending such a romantic event alone, so it will be appreciated if you encourage your guests to bring a friend or date.
If you are inviting couples with different last names (for example, Mr. John Jones and Mrs. Jane Smith), the male should be listed first. For same gender pairs, go in alphabetical order by last name.
If more than one non-familial adult live in the same house (for example, roommates who share an apartment but are in no way related or dating), it’s proper to send each person their own invitation.
Double check all addresses before you put them on paper. Blotted or crossed out errors are the quickest ways to make your contemporary wedding invitations look tacky.
Self-address and stamp the envelopes used for responses. Not only is it polite, but you’ll probably get more people who RSVP.
Send your contemporary wedding invitations out six to eight weeks in advance. In the busy seasons, this will help people to plan accordingly – especially if they are traveling from another location.
There is No Wrong Way to Do Things
The level to which you adhere to traditional wedding invitation etiquette depends primarily on how formal you want your event to be. For example, a ceremony composed of a small gathering of intimate friends and family members on the beach certainly doesn’t require the same kind of formal etiquette that a 300-person catered affair would.
At the same time, a wedding is still a wedding, and most people are familiar with certain types of etiquette and formality. It is always best to err on the side of tradition, even when sending out your decidedly contemporary wedding invitations.
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