Invitation Etiquette: 3 Common Questions, Answered!

September 4, 2014images

1. How do you address invitations? Honorifics 101:

Addressing invitations can be confusing. Who’s name is placed first? How do you address families? Or people with distinguished titles? Bottom line, it depends on your personal style and the style of the wedding.

Here are a few examples when addressing your invitations:

For married couples:

Traditional: Mr. and Mrs. John Smith

Semi-traditional: Mr. and Mrs. Smith or Mr. John and Mrs. Jane Smith

Casual: John and Jane Smith

For those with credentials/distinguished titles:

Generally it is recommended to use credentials and titles based on knowledge of the individual, and again, the style of the wedding. You can follow the traditional and semi-traditional methods above. Below are some possible titles you may encounter. It is important to keep these in mind when appropriately addressing your invitations.

Doctor, Professor, Military Ranks, Religious Titles (Reverend), etc.

Families:

Traditional:

Mr. and Mrs. John Smith

Matthew and Miss Emily Smith

Semi-traditional:

Mr. John and Mrs. Jane Smith

Matthew and (Miss*) Emily Smith

*Miss optional

Casual:

The Smith Family

For further ideas on addressing etiquette, check out this site:

(http://wedding.theknot.com/wedding-planning/wedding-invitations/articles/addressing-wedding-invitations.aspx?MsdVisit=1)

2. How do you communicate to someone they can or cannot bring a guest or their children?

Addressing plays a significant role in whether or not someone is invited to bring a guest or their kids. With that said, things can get confusing on the RSVP. So depending on what you decide to do with your invitations, make sure it is either clearly communicated on the address portion of the invitation, or written on the RSVP. Here are examples of invitations welcoming someone to bring a guest or their children. For utmost clarity, list the guest or children invited. The outside envelope would be addressed:

Ms. Jane Smith and Guest

2345 University Avenue

Madison, WI 53726

or

Mr. John and Mrs. Jane Smith

Matthew, Miss Alice and Thomas Smith

2345 University Avenue

Madison, WI 53726

The RSVP then offers the opportunity for people to add their guest’s name or children’s names. For example:

~RSVP~

Please kindly reply by May 25th

Guest Name(s): _________________________

 [ ] accepts with unbridled excitement!

[ ] CEREMONY(the celebration begins at six o’clock)

[ ] RECEPTION (hors d’oeuvres begin at six-Thirty)

 [ ] declines with sincere regret…

Thank you for your response!

However, if you are not collecting names (just numbers) you can include the number of guests expected on your RSVP. For example:

~RSVP~

Please kindly reply by May 25th

[ ] accepts with unbridled excitement!

[ ] CEREMONY(the celebration begins at Six o’clock)

[ ] RECEPTION (hors d’oeuvres begin at six-Thirty)

[ ] declines with sincere regret…

Number of Guests: __

Thank you for your reply!

 Unfortunately, usually the challenge is not with inviting people, it is with gently communicating to guests they cannot bring a plus one or their children to the wedding. The simplest way is specifically addressing who is invited, and by word of mouth. Family and those in the wedding party can spread word that it is an adult-only wedding, or that space is limited.

Proper etiquette is to always invite a plus one for a guest who is in a committed relationship, such as a marriage, engagement or a long-term relationship. The lines are blurred when it is a new relationship. From an etiquette standpoint, you are not obligated to invite the plus one. But that is an individualized circumstance and depends on space availability and preference. The key is consistency. Tension would likely arise if you allowed one friend to bring a plus one, but did not extend the same invitation to another friend. And, if we were to get really technical, family is supposed to take priority over friends for a plus one or children. Always do what feels best for you as a couple, your family, and friends. No one wants drama on the big day! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/29/manners-mondays-_n_3672341.html

Lastly, some people just need things spelled out. It is not considered impolite to write on the invitation, “We apologize, we are unable accommodate children for this event.” Or, “We ask that you just bring yourself to this event due to limited space, and we look forward to celebrating with you!” Making your guest list is one of the hardest tasks in wedding planning. The key to success is always being honest in communication, and consistent with everyone.

 3What do you do if someone adds a guest or children on the RSVP, but they are not invited?

 Sadly, this issue is not uncommon. Even if you make your expectations clear, you can still end up with some unexpected RSVPs. So what do you do? There are a few options. It is not considered inappropriate to call your guest and explain the situation. The bride or groom, family members, or people in the wedding party can take care of this dilemma. For example, “I am really sorry to tell you that we are not able to have your guest join us. Unfortunately, our space is limited. But we are excited to have you there, and thank you for understanding!” The same is true for children. It is considered proper etiquette to call and tell your guests that they cannot bring their kids, “This is an adult-only wedding, “ or “We are only inviting children from our immediate family.” Again, the key is honest communication and consistency. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/30/kids-at-weddings_n_4520102.html

 

Photography credit:

http://weddingsx.org/addressing-wedding-invitations.html

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