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Etiquette 101: Invitations and Save the Dates

How do you let guests know whether the kids can come? Whether they can bring a +1? This week, we’re looking at invitation etiquette – when to send and how to address your envelopes.

Send Early

To give your guests the most time to plan their trip to your wedding, send invitations out six to eight weeks in advance. You’ll need to give them more advance notice if you’re marrying in a destination wedding, are expecting most of your guests to need to travel, or are marrying close to a holiday or long weekend. This is where save-the-date cards come in handy; send these out as early as six months or more in advance.

Who’s invited?

Most invitations come with an outer envelope and an inner envelope. The outer envelope is stamped and addressed to the recipient(s). The inner envelope is addressed only to the people invited; this is important if you’ve decided whether to include children in your wedding. If kids aren’t welcome, address the envelope only to the parents. If they are welcome, include the kids’ names with the parents’ on the inner envelope.

Some more inner envelope tips:

Always invite both halves of a married couple. Do the same for engaged couples or couples who live together.

  • If you want to let single guests bring a date but you don’t know that person’s name, address the inner envelope “Miss Smith and Guest.” Address the inner envelope only to “Miss Smith” if single guests aren’t invited to bring a friend. If a friend wants to bring a guest and you’re not allowing single guests to bring a date, it is perfectly OK to say no — unless the person is engaged or living with someone and you didn’t know.
  • Inner envelopes can be informally addressed, especially for close relatives and friends.

If you’re not using inner envelopes, list the names of everyone invited on the outer envelope so there is no confusion.