Q&A What do I need to know about wedding invitations?

Save-the-date Notices

Wedding invitations are typically mailed out just a few weeks prior to your wedding.  Thus, if your wedding is six months or more away, you should consider sending out a “save-the-date” notice.  This tells your family and friends the date and location of your wedding.  This IS NOT an invitation, but an announcement of your intent to send an invitation.

Your save-the-date notice can be anything from a simple printed card to an elaborate gift package. Keep in mind that this first mailing will set the tone for your entire wedding.  So, for example, if you are planning to get married in the islands, consider wrapping your notice around a seashell, or placing it in a tube filled with sand and shells.  If you are planning a romantic Victorian- style wedding, you could send a votive candle with your names and the date attached.  Whatever you decide, establishing a theme and carrying it through to your invitations, wedding program and personal notes will make a wonderful impression on your guests.

The following language works well for a save-the-date notice:

Please reserve the date

June 30, 2005

For the wedding of

Melissa Marie Brown


Thomas Dwight Smith

On the Island of Hawaii

Invitation to follow

Save-the-date notices are appreciated by guests because they allow them to to plan ahead.  To further assist your guests in planning, consider including other helpful information, such as hotel locations and rates, local transportation information, and entertainment options.

Wedding Invitations

Your wedding invitations should be mailed out six weeks before your wedding (eight weeks for international guests).  The typical wedding invitation consists of the following:


reception card (if reception is other than at ceremony location)

RSVP card and envelope

map to wedding and reception

inside envelope

outside envelope

NEVER include registry information with your invitation.  Keep in mind you are inviting guests to celebrate your wedding — not asking for a gift.  Registry information can be passed along through family and friends or posted on a wedding website.


There are about as many ways to word a wedding invitation as there are couples getting married.  The front of any invitation sample book will have a variety of wording examples.  The following is a classic format:

Mr. and Mrs. James Thomas Brown

Request the honour of your presence

At the marriage of their daughter

Martha Anne


Mr. David George Smith

Saturday the twenty-fifth of August

Two thousand and four

At three o’clock in the afternoon

Church of Christ

1234 Brook Harbor Circle

New York, New York

Reception Card

A reception card will usually state something similar to:


Immediately following the ceremony

Sleepy Eagle Country Club

1234 Main Street

New York, New York

You should only include city and state information if the reception is in another city or state; otherwise, this line can be left off.


Your RSVP card should request that guests respond no later than ten days before the wedding.  This will give you plenty of time to call any guests you’ve not heard from.  The following language is customary:

Please respond by August 10, 2004


______ will attend ____ will not attend

Assembly & Mailing

When assembling your invitation, stack the pieces in order of size, print size up, with the largest piece on the bottom.  This usually means that the invitation is on the bottom, followed by the reception card, followed by the RSVP card (which should be tucked under the flap of the RSVP card envelope).  If maps are included, put them under the reception card.  Now put this assembled invitation into the inside envelope, print side facing up, and place the inside envelope into the outside envelope.  Position the inside envelope print side up, so that when the outside envelope is opened, the front of the inside envelope is the first thing to be seen.

For advice on how to address your invitations properly, please click here.

A word of caution:  Before you stamp your invitations and RSVP cards, be sure to take a completely assembled model to the post office and have it weighed.  You don’t want anything to be returned for insufficient postage!

Good luck with all of your planning, and let me know how I can help!