As an invitation designer I get asked a lot of questions about the “proper” way to do things. Although some things have changed a lot since your parents’ and grandparents’ days, common courtesy and graciousness will never change, and that’s really what etiquette is all about.
Here are answers to a few common invitation questions:
Q: I don’t want children at my wedding; what should I do?
A: Traditional etiquette offers 2 options:
- When addressing your invitations, leave the children’s names off it and also don’t mention them in the invitation.
- Have friends and family pass the word around that you don’t want children there.
HOWEVER, how many people know or understand etiquette these days? In some cases you have to cut straight to the chase and say what you mean. Here are some phrases you can add to the bottom of your reply card that will make your meaning clear without being offensive:
- Adult Reception
- We hope that the (# of) of you will be able to join us
- (# of) seats have been reserved in your names
Q: What do I do if someone hasn’t responded to my invitation after the “Reply by” date?
A: It is totally cool to call a guest who hasn’t replied and confirm over the phone. I suggest waiting a week after the “Reply by” date to account for the inevitable guests who put it off til the last minute.
Q: Should I send separate invitations to children?
A: Traditionally, children over age 16 get their own invitations, but unless the 16-year-olds live in a separate household I think 18 is perfectly fine.
Q: Should I send an invitation to our officiant? What about to my fiancé/fiancée?
A: Absolutely! Your officiant will feel specially welcomed, and unless your better half lives in the same house (and even if he or she does), you should definitely send an invitation for them to have as a keepsake. (And what fun for them to receive it in the mail if they’re not expecting it!)
Q: What about my parents and wedding party? Do I need to send them invitations as well?
A: Again, absolutely! They’ll want an invitation as a keepsake. Send your parents and wedding party invitations, as a keepsake. They don’t have to reply.
Q: Do I have to put stamps on my RSVPs?
A: Yes! It’s not polite to expect your guests to provide a stamp. Put adequate return postage on your RSVPs.
I hope these tips are helpful! I’ll add more down the road, but in the meanwhile, feel free to contact me with any invitation questions.