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Wedding Invitation Etiquette

Wedding Invitation Etiquette

There is a certain code of conduct that you must follow to ensure that you do not hurt people on the most important occasion of your life. This article provides some guidelines on invitation etiquette.
Ashwini Kulkarni Sule
A wedding definitely involves a lot of planning and organization. Since a wedding solidifies the bond between two families, emotions tend to run a bit high. You are likely to hurt the sentiments of your friends or family if you do not follow proper etiquette when sending out the invitations. Although the wording forms the most important part of the invitation, there are several other issues that need to be addressed.

Right Time to Send Them
Ideally, you should send the invites at least 6 weeks prior to the event. This will give your guests ample time to work on their schedule and clear the day for your event. The replies should be sent at least 3 weeks before the big day. This enables the host to make seating and catering arrangements well in advance.

Choose the appropriate words, and frame your invitation in the most genuine way. You can issue them yourself, or you can issue them in your parents' names if they are the ones who'll be hosting your event. There are several formats of issuing the invites. Go through a few templates available on the Internet or at a card shop, and choose the one that suits you. You can give a personal touch by writing some poetry for your guests.

To Whom to Send the Invites
Invites are sent to those people who you genuinely want to be present on the big day. However, if the groom stays too far from the venue, it is less likely that many people from his side would be attending the ceremony. So, should you send invites to people who you know may find it impossible to attend? In such situations, you should definitely send them invitations and let them decide for themselves if they wish to attend the event. You may even consider having a separate reception in the groom's hometown to invite those people who could not make it to the wedding.

Many people think about getting the address of the recipient printed in a fancy font, but etiquette goes against it. It is improper to type or print the address on the cover. Instead, you can ask a family member or a friend to write down the address in beautiful writing. Also, it is a good practice to include your address on the envelope, so that it comes back to you in case not delivered.

Addressing Issues
Addressing your recipients is a tricky area, and you could end up hurting people if you don't give it proper thought. Earlier, it used to be addressed to the families with the names of husband and wife and their children, if any. But, social changes are now reflected in the addressing etiquette as well. Addressing guests has evolved to include divorced couples, unmarried couples living together, gay couples, and lesbian couples.
Here are a few tips on addressing your guests.
  • An unmarried couple living together should be addressed in the same way as a married couple.
  • Conventionally, a widow should be addressed with a title 'Mrs.', however, you can talk to the person in question and ask her how she would like to be addressed.
  • A divorced woman who has retained her married name should be addressed as Ms.
  • A married couple who does not stay together should be sent separate invites; however, you can also send a single invitation to either of them with their names in alphabetic order.
  • A gay couple staying together should be sent a single invite with their names written separately.
Etiquette should only be used as a basis for your invitation. There is no need to adhere to stringent etiquette, instead use some courtesy and let your common sense prevail while sending the invitations.
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