The 8 Things You Can Retire on Your Wedding Stationery

The only rules you should follow are your own.
maddy sims the knot associate editor
Maddy Sims
maddy sims the knot associate editor
Maddy Sims
Former Associate Editor
  • Maddy is a Brand and Social Content Manager at Birdy Grey, and was a former associate editor at The Knot.
  • Maddy has written for several different publications, including HUM Nutrition, Insider, Bustle, Real Simple and Apartment Therapy.
  • Maddy has a Bachelor's degree in magazine journalism and a Master's degree in health, science and environmental reporting (both of which are from Northwestern's Medill School of Journa...
Updated Nov 11, 2020

Traditions are often associated with weddings, especially when it comes to stationery. But at The Knot, we believe everything in your wedding (including your invitations and save-the-dates) should be a reflection of who you are at present over any old-school traditions. While it may seem like there's a certain formula for wedding invites and stationery, we're here to encourage you to break the mold. Do what feels right and authentic to you—not what you think you should do. After all, your stationery sets the tone for the whole event, so you want to make sure it's representative of who you are as a couple.

Beyond limiting couples' creativity, these traditions can also be exclusionary and to you or your guests. To assist you in bucking tradition, The Knot Editors cordially invite you to consider eight traditional wedding stationery rules that you can retire on your invitation suites.

Only Using "Mr." and "Mrs."

Titles are a wonderful way to make your wedding stationery more formal, but they can be exclusive of people's gender identification. You don't have to use titles if you don't want to, however if you'd like to make your save-the-dates and invitations more formal, there are options. On top of the typical "Mr." and "Mrs.," you can also use "Ms.," "Miss," "Dr." and "Mx." (a gender-neutral option).

We recommend asking your guests for their pronouns as you begin collecting addresses. That way, you know exactly what titles to use when you address your save-the-dates and invitations. It also helps make sure your guests feel respected, understood and much more comfortable, making it a win-win for everyone.

Using Exclusionary Pronouns

Traditional stationery language typically requires the use of pronouns, like "his" or "her." But if you identify as "they," you should absolutely use this identifier on your various paper items. You can also use wording that doesn't involve pronouns at all. It'll still relay the information to your guests clearly without pressuring you to use pronouns. (By the way: The Knot Invitations offers free customization so your wedding stationery reads exactly in the way you'd prefer.)

Examples include:

  • "You are cordially invited to the wedding of [name] and [name]"
  • "[Name] and [name] together with their families invite you to celebrate their wedding"
  • "We'd love nothing more than you by our side as we exchange vows"

Assuming Your Guests Share a Last Name

Traditional wedding stationery etiquette often assumes guests who are married share a last name. However, many to-be-weds are choosing to keep their last name or using a hyphenated name after exchanging vows. When addressing your invitations, ensure you're up-to-date on every guest's last name to be as respectful as possible. We recommend gathering this information when you collect addresses so you have everything you need to send out your stationery.

Including Your Parents If They're Not Contributing to the Wedding

Historically, it was the parents' responsibility to pay for the wedding, so they were included on the wedding invites. However, more and more couples are beginning to foot the bill for their nuptials. According to The Knot 2019 Real Weddings Study, couples covered about half of their wedding costs last year. Other couples are choosing to pay for the entire celebration on their own. If that's the case, you shouldn't feel pressure to include your parents on your wedding stationery. You can give them a shout out if you'd like to, but you certainly don't have to for etiquette's sake.

Additionally, the standard format of invitations has traditionally been two parents, two parents and two children. However, this excludes a multitude of different family situations (widowed parents, other parental figures and estranged parents, for example). Every family is different and each situation is unique. If you need to readjust the formatting so it's representative of your situation, that's completely fine. (This is where customization on The Knot Invitations comes in handy again!)

"Traditional" or "Formal" Language

While planning your wedding, you've likely heard how the process "should be" from others. While those opinions typically come from a good place, they're rooted in old-school, outdated beliefs. Traditional or formal language, for example, is something you don't need to adhere to for your wedding stationery. The classic, flowery language you've seen on different sites often limits creativity and expression. Wedding invitation wordingdoesn't have to be formulaic to be formal. Your stationery should look and sound like you, the couple. For example, if you only go by a nickname, you don't have to write out your full name on your wedding invitations. If you feel the wording on your stationery doesn't sound right, work with your partner to figure out exactly what you want to say.

"Traditional" or "Formal" Designs

Similarly, you shouldn't feel pressured to stick to "traditional" or "formal" designs. Your stationery suite doesn't have to be a specific color letterpress with gold accents to look formal. In fact, there are a million ways to incorporate color into your wedding stationery and have it look formal. Be creative with materials, colors, designs to showcase your style and taste to your guests. With a little extra thoughtfulness, you can create stationery that's both polished and fun.

Using Paper For Everything

As couples are beginning to prioritize sustainability in their weddings, it's clear the idea of using paper for everything is outdated. Here's the good news: eco-friendly invitation options exist more than ever before. Couples have used post-consumer recycled paper, biodegradable paper or seed-infused paper for their wedding invites.

Additionally, they've forgone unnecessary elements of paper suites, like an inner envelope or an RSVP card. In fact, some couples have transitioned to online RSVPs (which is a feature available on The Knot Wedding Websites) so they can save paper. Your wedding should be representative of who you are as a couple and if sustainability is important to you, prioritize that with your wedding stationery. Not only will it benefit the planet, but it'll also help your guests feel more connected to you, the couple, and your love story.

Choosing a Generic Design (Just Because)

Couples are being more thoughtful about how they allocate their dollars, even with their stationery suites. Many to-be-weds are buying their stationery from small, minority-owned businesses and creatives of color. Thanks to The Knot, generic options are so yesterday, and instead, there's an increased thoughtfulness to invitations and beyond.

Via The Knot Invitations, couples can browse through cost-friendly suites designed by talented creatives from the Black Artists Collective or the Women's Artist Collective. Who you give your business to throughout the wedding planning process is a powerful way to live out your values as a couple. Peruse the budget-friendly options on The Knot Invitations and feel good about supporting vendors you believe in.

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