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Your Top 10 Wedding Invitation Etiquette Questions Answered

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Wedding Invitation Etiquette
JENNY FU STUDIO
Maddy Sims
by Maddy Sims
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Your wedding invitations are one of the most important elements of your day because they provide guests with crucial information (as does your wedding website, which can house all of the essential details like your venue info, registry and your guest list). Since stationery is an extension of your personalized wedding, you'll want to select a design that resonates with you, the couple. (The Knot Invitations offers a variety of layouts and colors so you can personalize your wedding stationery to reflect you). Still, there are some questions that may arise as you take care of your wedding invitations or save-the-dates (for example, when are you supposed to send them out?).  Here are some answers to your most pressing wedding-invite-related questions.

1. When should we send out our wedding invitations?

Traditionally, invitations go out six to eight weeks before the wedding. That gives guests plenty of time to clear their schedules and make travel arrangements if they don't live in town. If it's a destination wedding, give guests more time and send them out three months ahead of the wedding. Most couples also send out save-the-date cards so that their guests can hold the day in their calendar before getting into the nitty-gritty details. Save-the-dates typically are sent out six to eight months before the wedding.

2. When should we make the deadline for RSVPs?

Make your RSVP date two to three weeks before your wedding date to allow enough time for you to get a final head count to the caterer (one week before) and to finalize your seating chart. If some guests still haven't responded by your deadline, give them a quick call and ask for their RSVPs (still via mail) so you have all their information.

3. Where do we include information about our wedding website?

Your wedding website should be included on your save-the-date. A simple "TaylorandPayton.com," is all you really need. Many designs on The Knot Invitations give you space to list your registry info so your guests can purchase you a gift easily. If you'd like (or if you don't have save-the-dates), you can include the web address in the formal invitations with an insert (a small card that informs guests they can find more details online).

4. Should we include our registry info on our invitations or save-the-dates?

Including registry info on the wedding invitations or save-the-dates is considered impolite because it can give the impression you're asking for gifts. But go ahead and put your registry info directly on your wedding website (The Knot All-in-One Registry allows you to include links from all of the places you are registered). If you're planning on having a wedding shower, you can put your registry info on the bridal shower invitations (there are so many fun designs to choose from on The Knot). You can also tell your wedding party, parents and close friends where you're registered, and let them fill guests in.

5. We're having an adults-only wedding (no kids). How can we make sure this is clear to our guests?

Address your invitations correctly—to each guest by name, not "and guest"—and guests should understand that the invite is meant for only those mentioned. If you find that some reply with their children's names added, give them a call and explain you're having an adults-only wedding and you hope they can still attend. If there are a lot of kids in your family, you may want to consider hiring or arranging for a babysitter. It's definitely not required, but it's a nice gesture. Just be sure to include this information on the wedding website.

6. How do we let guests know our dress code?

The easiest way to get your point across is to include a dress code in the lower right-hand corner of the invite or on a reception card. "Black tie," "cocktail attire" or "casual attire" are all acceptable wordings. (Trust us, your guests will appreciate the heads-up). Your invitation design can also clue guests in. An ultra-formal, traditional invite with letterpress and calligraphy will give guests a hint to the formal nature of the event, whereas an invite with a playful font and bright colors would fit a much more casual style. Browse the different options on The Knot Invitations to find a design that reflects your wedding's style. Another option is to direct guests to your wedding website, where you can go into more detail about the weekend events and dress code in a more informal forum.

7. Do we have to invite every guest with a date or a "plus-one"?

No, you don't have to. If a guest isn't married or in a serious relationship, it's perfectly acceptable to invite them solo. Most guests will understand that without "and Guest" or another name on the invitation,they aren't invited with a plus-one. While it's always nice to invite everyone with a guest, that can add up quickly ( in terms of both headcount and cost). If a guest RSVPs for two, call them and explain you're trying to be diligent about your guest list, unfortunately, you were not able to invite everyone with a guest. If you realize that nearly everyone will be coupled up, you might want to extend a plus-one invitation to your few single friends and family members.

8. Where do you put the return address on wedding invitations?

The return address usually goes on the back flap of the envelope. Also, the return address used should be that of the person(s) whom you've designated to receive response cards, be it your parents or you (traditionally, whoever is hosting the wedding handles response cards). Don't forget that the RSVP envelope should also be printed with this address (and should include postage).

9. If our wedding reception is for immediate family only, is it okay to invite people to the ceremony only?

This is a tricky situation. Standard etiquette dictates that everyone who attends the ceremony (or wedding shower, engagement party or wedding reception) should be invited to the wedding—that means the ceremony and the reception. By inviting guests to one and not the other, it could send the message that you want them there for the actual ceremony but you either don't want to pay for their plate at your party or don't care enough to have them there to actually celebrate your newlywed status.

10. I invited my friend and their S.O. (by name on the invite) to the wedding, but they recently broke up. Now they want to bring a friend I don't like—can I tell them no?

If you worded the invitation by having their partner's name on the envelope (rather than "and guest"), you have every right to say no. As a rule, invitations are nontransferable when people are invited by name. Explain that you're not friendly with their proposed guest and you'd prefer the wedding be limited to close friends and family. If you invited all of your single friends sans dates, let them know they won't be the only one coming solo (in case that's their worry).


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