For a small piece of paper, there are surprisingly a lot of details to master when designing, creating, and sending out your invitations. The good news is, while there's certainly a traditional way of preparing invitations, there's definitely no right or wrong way to go about it. Whether you want to break the mold or stay true to tradition, we've got your back. Follow our advice below to become a wedding invitation extraordinaire!
“I love seeing couple’s wedding invitations and programs. They’re all so unique and interesting. I must have seen thousands and it never gets boring. My advice is to forget about what’s proper - instead, have fun with the design so your guests can tell it’s totally you!”
- Angie, Pacific View Tower by Wedgewood Weddings
Designing your invitation is when wedding planning gets tangible. Step up your creative game or take a traditional path. While there are lots of etiquette rules, you’re in charge, so decide which guidelines to follow or flout! In addition to the formal invites, there are also e-vites, Save the Date cards, reception cards (Only needed if you are hosting your ceremony and reception at separate locations.), ceremony signage, reception décor, personalized cocktail napkins, custom, coasters, and so much more like favor boxes and champagne flutes.
How Many Wedding Invitations to order?
This is an age-old question and we base the answer on our years of experience. You need to consider guest list A and wedding list B, plus a number of no-responses, last-minute responses, and regrettably a few no-shows or last-minute cancellations.
Here’s the exact formula we devised to help you decide how many wedding invitations you need to send and it's based on how many invites are accepted versus declined at a standard event.
Estimated # guests halved, plus 25 & rounded to the nearest 10
Most of your invites will be mailed to couples and families so you do not need one for every guest. You may want to order a few extra outer envelopes if you are worried about making mistakes while addressing them, in case any are lost in the mail, or if you plan to hand deliver.
What to include on the invitations?
Start with your full names and the details of your celebration, including the date, the start time, and the location address.
Be clear about who you're inviting and give an RSVP date (and directions on how to RSVP like via return mail, by phone call, text, or wedding website).
Now add information like dress code (black tie, formal, cocktail, or casual are the usual directives). Share your wedding hashtag, a directions card if you need one, and a link to your wedding website.
Invitations Included in Your Wedgewood Weddings All-Inclusive Package:
Surprise! When you book with Wedgewood Weddings, your wedding invitations are included in your all-inclusive wedding package. This convenient feature is unique and adds so much ease to the invitation process. If you rather not order your invitations through us, that's perfectly fine! Just hop on down to the next step.
- Go to InvitationsByWedgewood.com and enter your unique code
- Browse and select your invites
- Customize the fonts, colors, and phrasing
- Customize your envelope options
- If chosen, customize your reception card, response card, and response card envelope
- Place your order!
ENVELOPE CHOICE AND CUSTOMIZATION
Once you have completed your invitation, you’ll be prompted to choose and personalize your envelopes. It is customary to write out the full street and state names (e.g., Oak Avenue rather than Oak Ave. and California rather than CA). The type of envelopes available will vary depending on your invitation style. Typically invitations come with up to 3 envelopes:
- Inner envelope – blank
- Outer envelope – has a return address on the back (you will address and stamp the front)
- R.S.V.P. return envelope – has your name and address on the front
Addressing Your Wedding Invites
The way you address each invitation is the official “code” your guests will use to understand who, exactly, is invited to come to your wedding. Therefore, it’s important to address the envelope specifically to the people you want to invite.
For any of your guests that you’re allowing to bring a ‘plus one’, be sure to make that clear on the envelope as well by adding “& Guest” after the invitee's name.
There are many ways people prefer to be addressed, here are a few examples. If unsure, ask your guests how they want to be addressed.
Mr. and Mrs. Sam Love
Mr. and Mr. Love
Mrs. and Mrs. Love
Mr. and Mrs. Love
Mr. and Mr. Love
Mrs. and Mrs. Love
Mr. Sam Love and Mrs. Alex Joy
Mrs. Sam Love and Mrs. Alex Joy
Mr. Sam Love and Mr. Alex Joy
Mr. Love and Mrs. Joy
Mrs. Love and Mrs. Joy
Mr. Love and Mr. Joy
ONE SPOUSE IS A DOCTOR
Dr. Alex Joy and Mr. Sam Love
Dr. Joy and Mr. Love
ONE SPOUSE IS AN OFFICER
Colonel and Ms. Love
Colonel and Mrs. Love
BRINGING A GUEST
Mr. Sam Love
Mr. Love and Guest
(Everyone 18+ should receive
their own invite)
Mr. and Mrs. Love,
Jake, and Rita
ASSEMBLING AND MAILING YOUR INVITATIONS
Take the simplest approach by spreading your materials in an assembly line. Pick up in the following order:
- The Invitation Card (face up)
- Tissue (optional)
- Reception Card (if applicable – always closest to the Invitation)
- Response Card Envelope
- Response Card, tucked under the flap of the envelope
Remember to have the printed copy running in the same direction on all cards. Place these items into the ‘inner envelope’ printed side facing you. With the front of the ‘inner envelope’ facing you, insert it into the outer envelope. If your invitation does not include an inner envelope, use the proper title on the outer envelope.
When to Send Your Wedding Invitations
To send the invites, you need to pick a sweet spot where people have time to respond and also don't have time to forget! Here's what we recommend . . .
- Save the Date Cards - six to nine months before
- Destination Wedding Invites – four months before
- Local Wedding Invites – two months before
Traditionally, the latest date to send out your wedding invitations is two months prior to your wedding date with an RSVP date due by the one-month mark. It’s important to know that there will be some people who’ll forget to respond by your due date, meaning you have to follow up with them afterward. If you prefer to schedule your respond-by date even sooner, that’ll give you more time to follow up.
“Proofread. Proofread. Proofread! There’s nothing worse than realizing you sent out a typo or put the wrong address. Have your mom and your bestie look it over before you hit the order button.”
- Rachel, Stonetree Estate by Wedgewood Weddings
Receiving Your RSVPs
There are a couple of ways to have your guests RSVP to your wedding.
- The traditional way is to include an RSVP card along with a pre-addressed and pre-stamped envelope inside for your guests to fill out and send back to you in the mail. Obvious tip: put the respondent’s name on the RSVP. That way you can enforce who’s invited all the more and otherwise you’ll receive them all back and won’t know which response is from who. It seems obvious but it happens all the time :)
- Alternatively, if your wedding website has an RSVP feature, you can include a card with your invitation that has a link to your site and instructions to go there to respond. This is becoming more of a popular choice as it requires a tiny bit less work for your guests, you get responses immediately, and you don’t have to pay for extra postage!
Yes, some of your guests will need to be chased. It’s a fact. At Wedgewood Weddings, we don’t ask for the final guest count until 10 days before your event which should make it extra easy for you to corral a response from everyone.
How Many Guests to Anticipate
Typically, about 80% of the guests you invite will attend. If you’re inviting guests from out of town, you can expect about 50% of them to come. And in some cases, a guest will decline your invite and show up to your wedding anyway . . . So, it helps to be prepared. We always plan to have a little extra food (and extra chairs) to cover this situation. While this may be annoying, you’ll have no reason to panic—we got you!
How TO address adults-only wedding invites
This is a really common wedding invitation question, and a common choice for weddings too. You can make it clear that small children are not welcome by addressing your invitations correctly - to each guest by name, not “and guest." Guests should understand that the invite is meant for only those mentioned. You may also choose to note “Adult reception to follow” on your invitation or be super clear and say "no kids please". We've also seen babysitting services offered to make life easier for invited parents.
Do we have to invite every guest with a date or a “plus-one”?
No. If a guest isn’t married or in a serious relationship, it’s perfectly acceptable to invite them solo. Most guests will understand that an invite without ‘and Guest’ or another name means they aren’t invited with a plus-one.
Similar to adults-only events, this is your day, and although guests will appreciate the option to bring a guest, this is not mandatory as it can seriously inflate your guest count.
How many wedding accessories to order?
Napkins are usually sold in sets of 50. We estimate one to three napkins per guest. For example, for a group of 120, order six sets of 50.
For many items, like your guest book, you will simply order one. For toasting flutes, you will order one set of two flutes. If you are ordering an item for your guest tables, like favor boxes, make sure that you order enough for each place setting. You may want to order a few extra to give to close family and friends who were unable to attend.
“A clean ivory invite with a script font will always make me think of weddings, but I love seeing the more modern, artsy, or unique invitations too, so be open to switching things up.”
- Mikayla, Galway Downs by Wedgewood Weddings
More Common Wedding Invitation Questions and Answers
Invitation Ordering Timeline
Wedding invitations should be ordered four to five months out from your wedding date. This will give you time to get them addressed and mailed out in plenty of time before your wedding. If you're having a destination wedding or marrying over the holidays, send out your invites earlier just to be safe and of course considerate of your guests (10 to 14 weeks before the wedding is most appropriate). Give yourself plenty of time to have your guest list complete, your mailing addresses in order, stamps, and additional elements all ready to go for mailing. Also, it is good to factor in some time to make follow-up calls for guests who may have forgotten to respond with an RSVP or may not have received your invitation.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO MANAGE INVITATIONS?
We suggest managing all invitations, RSVPs, and guest seating arrangements with a master list of your guests which includes their name, a plus-1 if you are allowing additional guests, the address of where the invitation was sent, and meal specifications.
You can always create your guest seating arrangements and manage your guest list by utilizing the features of AllSeated, The Knot, or Wedding Wire. Tools like these make it extremely easy Allseated.com makes it easy to manage all of these wedding specifics and more.
WHAT SHOULD We INCLUDE IN Our WEDDING INVITATIONS?
Be sure to order your wedding invitations with the entire suite of materials such as program, menus, thank you notes, etc. This will help keep you organized, the additional pieces should all be designed with the same look and styling, and you’ll often save time and money when you purchase these all together.
LET’S SAY We WANT TO INVITE 200 PEOPLE.
ABOUT HOW MANY WILL ATTEND, ON AVERAGE?
A general rule of thumb when it comes to guests actually attending can be broken down as follows:
- Local guests are an estimated 85% attendance
- Out-of-town guests can range anywhere from 40-55%
We're HOSTING AN ADULTS-ONLY WEDDING.
WHAT ARE ETIQUETTE TIPS We SHOULD CONSIDER?
You may have decided to make your wedding day an adults-only experience. Should you decide that you would prefer to not have children included in your guest list, be sure to state on your invitation that it is an adult-only event. Most guests will understand and will make arrangements accordingly. Some guests may decide they are unable to attend, however, it is your day, and most will understand that this is how you would like to celebrate.
WHEN SHOULD We FOLLOW UP ON MISSED RSVP?
Make sure you include a 'responses required by XX/XX/XXXX' line on your invitations.
You should begin following up on missed RSVPs once your “RSVP By” date has passed. You may see a few continue to trickle in, but it's up to you and your guest count how firm you want to be about late responses.
Do We HAVE TO USE PRINTED INVITATIONS?
No. Considering online invitations versus printed, or both? For many years couples have sent out official wedding invitations – some that include recent engagement photos, programs, and other wedding-specific details. That personal touch helps makes your wedding day so unique. However, with the ease and affordability of online invitations and custom options, we have seen couples use e-vites only or go with both. It is your personal preference to go with printed invitations or online. Often the 'save the date' is an e-vite nowadays with a more formal printed invite to follow.