As wedding season approaches and summer brides are starting to send their invitations out there, I thought I’d share this post by my friend Courtney (of Courtney Elizabeth Events) addressing the invitation etiquette of addressing! She’s an epic wedding planner in Ottawa and shares some great advice on the topic. Right now, we’re working on planning a luxury styled shoot together, so stay tuned! ;) Without further ado, Courtney!
As such, I know a lot of early summer brides and grooms are thinking about getting their wedding invitations finalized to send out soon. As a general rule, you should be planning to send out your wedding invitations about 6-8 weeks in advance of the wedding. This gives people time to make travel arrangements, get time off work, and most importantly RSVP back to you!
In the last few weeks a lot of people have emailed or texted me asking about invite etiquette. There are many horror stories of people misreading who exactly their invitation was sent to and then they end up showing up with a date (or kids) that the bride and groom didn’t plan for. This makes it super awkward for everybody on the wedding day and I hate awkwardness…
SO this weeks blog post goes out to not only brides and grooms planning their invites, but also to everyone out there who has or ever will be invited to a wedding… as such I would say it applies to 99% of you, so here it goes…
There are a few different scenarios here, but lets start with the basics:
The invite is addressed to: Mr. John Smith – this means ONLY YOU are invited; therefore you can’t bring a date, a friend, etc. Only you. For the brides and grooms out there: if a guest isn’t married or in a serious relationship, it’s perfectly acceptable to invite them solo—so don’t feel bad!
The invite is addressed to: Mr. John Smith and Ms. Jane Doe – this means ONLY you and Jane are invited; so if Jane and you break up or she is out of town—you shouldn’t bring anybody else. I guess if you are desperate for a friend you could ask, but usually a substitution is a faux pas. As a rule, invitations are generally non-transferable when people are invited specifically by name.
The invite is addressed to: Mr. John Smith and Guest – lucky you! You can bring a friend or new lover! That being said, just realize that every person that attends the wedding will cost your friends (the bride and groom) a lot of money. Now I know it shouldn’t be all about the benjamins, but if you don’t have anyone special in mind, don’t hit up Tinder swiping frivolously to find a date. If you know some of the other guests that will be attending the wedding, save your friends the moulah and go alone. Weddings are for meeting people anyways!!
The invite is addressed to: The Smith Family – do you have kids? Well if the invite is addressed to your family or you and the kids by name, then the kids are welcome to join! Again however, if you want a night off don’t feel like you have to bring them—but if you want them there you are allowed!
The invite is addressed to: Mr. and Mrs. John Smith – Looks like the kids will have to stay home. If you have kids, and the invite doesn’t say “and family” or address the kids by name, then its likely the little ones aren’t invited.Seems pretty straightforward right? Unfortunately not. Since most of us weren’t raised with early-1900’s etiquette drilled into our brains, a lot of this stuff is foreign to many people. Therefore you may still end up in a sticky situation when you receive the RSVP’s back, but don’t sweat it.
If an invitee responds and has included someone’s name who was not intended to receive an invite, simply call them up and let them know that unfortunately, you were not able to invite everyone with a guest. Most people will understand and will be happy you were honest and upfront with them.
If you find a reply where parents have said their children will be joining (and you don’t want kiddos), call them up and let them know that it is an adult-only wedding. However, don’t tell them there will be absolutely no kids if you are going to have a select few (their noses might be a little out of joint if they see other kids there when theirs weren’t allowed). Just be honest, if you’re only having the flower girl and ring bearer or only your nieces and nephews that’s one thing. Just try and be consistent to avoid any hurt feelings!
Overall yes, it can be a little awkward to make these calls, but it is important you get want you want on your big day. So be honest early on and things are likely to work out well for you!! ORRRR, just send all your guests my blog post and avoid any issues before they occur ????
Until next time…