Everything You Need To Know About Wedding Invitations, Pt. 1

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In the era of e-vites, Facebook events and Google Calendar, the days of sending and receiving snail mail from someone other than your grandmother or bill collector are rare. However, wedding invitations stay timeless. They are, after all, your very first interaction with guests and essentially a wedding day preview. Newport Wedding Magazine teamed up with a couple of local experts to let you in on all the wedding invitation etiquette you didn’t know you needed. Today, we’re giving you the logistics. Stay tuned for next week with all of the fun details in part 2!

Champagne & Ink, Molly Lo Photography

Where to Begin

With the right help, your invitations will be a breeze. “We meet with the bride and groom and spend at least two hours reviewing etiquette, their wedding itinerary and the parts of the invitation they will need to generate to complete the process. They will be reviewing several books of invitations and from these books will establish a style and look of their own. We will help them throughout this process with color ink, fonts and wording,” says Judy Carroll, owner of Papers in Newport.

Courtesy of Papers of Newport

Courtesy of Papers of Newport

When selecting your invitations, it’s a good idea to consider the rest of your stationery elements down the line to keep everything coordinated. Rachel Armentano, owner of Harbor Stationery says, “This includes menus, programs, table numbers, signs, and seating cards or charts. I’m always thrilled when I can alleviate the stress of a to-do item (like wedding day paperie) for a couple who is in the midst of planning their wedding.”

Courtesy of Harbor Stationery

The Structure

There are a few key points to keep in mind that should stay consistent across all wedding invitations, and a few trade secrets to help you along the way.

Carroll at Papers helped us with the following key points:

  1. The first line of a wedding invitation indicates the host and hostess and not who is paying for the wedding. If the parents of the bride (traditionally) are listed, the father’s name should be spelled out in its entirety using his middle name: Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Chase Bates. If the father of the bride does not want to use his middle name, the rule is spell it out or leave it out. The abbreviation “C.” is never used on a social invitation as this is a business only rule.
  2. The invitation line “request the honour of your presence” indicates that the ceremony will take place in a house of worship or “request the presence of your company” indicates a venue as which both the ceremony and reception will be held.
  3. “Black tie” or “Black tie optional” should be indicated in the right lower hand corner of the wedding invitation as a reminder.
  4. If the wedding is at 6:00 p.m., Six o’clock is evening (five o’clock is afternoon).
  5. The parents of the groom should be listed on the wedding invitation if the wedding is a Jewish or Mormon service. They are listed under the groom’s name as “son of” and then their names.”
Courtesy of Papers of Newport

Courtesy of Papers of Newport

Armentano had this suggestion, “Work on the text for your invitation ASAP! Couples are always surprised how long this takes to finalize. Also, the length of your names and amount of text can drastically affect how a design looks. You might find an invitation you love but realize once you put your names and what you want written into the template that it looks completely different. This is where working directly with a stationery designer can be extremely helpful with achieving the style you want and providing good options.”

Courtesy of Harbor Stationery

The Timeline

“Ideally, we like to have Save the Dates sent out 8-10 months prior to your wedding date, 10 months if Newport is a travel destination for most of your guests. However, it is normal for brides to send Save the Dates as close to 6 months prior to the wedding date, especially if most of the guests are already aware of the engagement. For the formal invitation, if a Save the Date has been sent out, we suggest a mail date that is 8 weeks prior to the wedding date, if no Save the Date has been sent, we recommend a 10 week out mail date,” say McCarthy and Kelly at Champagne & Ink. As far as the RSVP’s go, “We suggest an RSVP date that is halfway between your mail date and your event date, which usually ends up being about 4 weeks before the wedding date.”

Champagne & Ink, Molly Lo Photography

“Remember, only send save the dates to guests you are 100% sure you are inviting. Once they are in the mail there is no going back. It is also helpful to address them to the specific family members and plus-one’s so that those guests know in advance how to plan,” says Armentano.


McCarthy and Kelly say to keep these 3 common mistakes in mind:

  1. Not including yourself and your fiance on the guest list;
  2. Over ordering – you only need one invitation per household, not per person. So if you plan to have 250 people at your wedding, you will probably only need about 150 invitations;
  3. Wording Mistakes for Date and Time: You do not need the word “and” when spelling out the wedding date. 2018 should read as: Two Thousand Eighteen – a lot of brides write out: Two Thousand and Eighteen, likewise for the ceremony / reception times – you do not need to write ‘in the evening’ for a 6:00 wedding as it is assumed that the wedding is not starting at 6 a.m.”

There’s nothing worse than dropping all of your invitations in the mailbox and then glancing down and seeing that typo you can’t believe you didn’t see before! To combat this looming mistake, Papers employs a proofing method that makes it hard to fail. “We require the bride to do a read through out loud of the entire wedding invitation with us prior to submission. It is at this point we will detect and correct it.”

The Takeaway

“There are TONS of resources online for wedding invitation and addressing etiquette, don’t be overwhelmed. Ask your stationer or your wedding planner as they will have the most experience and the best (most consistent) advice. But above all, etiquette guidelines should only be looked at as a guide, let your personalities and your individual relationships with your guests be the defining factor in how your invitations are worded and addressed,”say McCarthy and Kelly.

Courtesy of Harbor Stationery

Stay tuned for our “Everything You Need to Know About Wedding Invitations, Pt. 2” post next week! Follow us on Instagram to see updates (@newportwedding)


Thank you!


 Harbor Stationery

Champagne & Ink

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