Wedding invitations are a key part of the wedding timeline to follow. Keeping your guests informed of need-to-know details is very important. If there’s anything you want to make sure of, it’s that the people you invite to your wedding actually make it to your wedding on time, if not early, and get to join in on the celebration.
There are certain things you need to remember when you’re making your invitations. Designing and creating the invitations and sending them out isn’t enough. Here are some of the most common mistakes when it comes to wedding invitations.
Incorrect Start Time
In an effort to get everyone to come on time, you might be tempted to put an earlier start time on your wedding invitation. If there is one thing wedding guests know, it’s that they should arrive early for a wedding. After all the planning they’ve put into what to wear, and blocking their schedules for the day, they will know to allow enough time to get to the wedding venue so that they make it in time for the wedding, especially if they are part of the entourage.
Putting an early start time on your invitation such as an hour early will cause guests to arrive earlier. It will also make them wait longer. If they haven’t had anything to eat because they were planning to gorge themselves with the wedding food, then that will make them cranky and frustrated and even miserable before the ceremony is even over.
Leaving Out Important Information
Important information includes where the location of the wedding ceremony as well as the wedding reception. Make sure you include the date, time, and address of the wedding ceremony as well as the time and address of the reception. Don’t make your guests google which church you are getting married in or which restaurant branch you are having your wedding reception. They can google how to get there, but you need to provide in on the exact locations to make it easier for them.
If you are having your reception in the same venue, then make sure you indicate, ‘reception to follow’ so that your guests know that they won’t have to go anywhere else for the reception. If you can, include a map to show how to get there. Nowadays, you can also opt to have a QR code on your wedding invitation which will open up a GPS map such as Google Maps on your phone so that guests can easily follow along with their GPS navigator.
Other important details to include on your wedding invitation: attire or dress code and if the wedding is an adult-only event or if they can bring their children with them.
Sending Invitations Out Late
For non-destination weddings, you need to send your invitations at least two months ahead of time. This is the latest you could send those wedding invitations out especially if you are mailing them by post. For destination weddings, you should count back at least 12 to 16 weeks before your wedding to allow your guests time to plan their trip and also to see if they can afford the trip. At the same time, this also allows them to make necessary plans at work if they need to take a few days off from work.
Not Providing RSVP Instructions
Asking your guests to RSVP to your invitation, but not letting them know how to send out their RSVP is not a good practice when sending out invitations. First of all, you need to make sure they know what date to RSVP by. That’s the whole point of the RSVP -- to know ahead of time who is coming and who isn’t.
The suggested deadline for RSVPs would be two to three weeks before your wedding date to get a final headcount to provide to your caterer and to finalize your seating chart. Provide clear instructions on how you want your guests to reach out to you to let you know they are coming. Provide your phone number or email address, or an online link to where they should let you know that they are coming.
If you wish for your guests to reply back by mail, make sure you send a pre-addressed envelope to send back their reply and put a stamp on it while you’re at it. Save your guests the trouble. Yes, you’ll be buying a bunch of stamps. But asking your guests to pay to reply back to you is bad etiquette.
Not Indicating Who Exactly is Invited
It’s one thing to pick out your guests, and yet another to address your invitations. If you are inviting an entire family, then it’s only fine to address the invitation, ‘The Jones Family’. But if you are only inviting Mr. and Mrs. Jones, and not their children, then you should indicate, ‘Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Jones’.
If you have a guest who will be bringing their plus one, make sure you add, ‘and Guest’ on the envelope to indicate that they can bring a plus one. If you want to be a little more specific, you may ask for the name of the guest that they are bringing so that you can address the invitation to them.
Including Your Registry Information on the Invitation
Yes, this is a wedding etiquette no-no. It sounds ironic: having to pick out gifts, deciding the price point, coordinating colors and linens and towels, picking out kitchen wares so that your guests will have an idea of what you gift you on your wedding -- but you’re not allowed to tell people about it. At least not explicitly. It’s never an okay idea to invite your guests to your wedding and at the same time, point them to an item that you happen to like in case they decide to get you a wedding gift even if a good point of the gift registry is to help them choose a gift to buy.
What you can do is include a small information card along with your invitation to invite them to a welcome party or brunch before your wedding which contains a link to your website for anything they might need. You can also drop this link later on in a Facebook group or on your wedding website. And it would be much better if your mother-in-law or one of your bridesmaids could direct your guests to that link as well to lessen the awkwardness.
Kara has been with Wedding Favors Unlimited for 2 years. She’s been giving wedding and style advice for the past 5 years from bridal magazines to bridal boutiques. Feel free to ask Kara a question below!