April 11, 2019

Expert – Approved Wedding Invitation Etiquette Tips

Charlotte Ferrante, owner of Decoratifs in Melbourne, Florida, is a creative genius when it comes to wedding stationery and an expert on wedding etiquette. Her attention to detail and knowledge on proper wording is truly incredible.

So when it comes to your wedding stationery, you can be sure it’s safe to put your trust in her for your big day. Your wedding invitations are the first thing your guests will see from your day, so it is important to start off on the right foot.

Whether you’re curious when to send your save-the-date cards, what kind of wording on your envelopes, or how to address an “adults-only” event, we’re answering all of your wedding invitation etiquette questions. 

Is it necessary to send out save-the-date cards?

Everyone’s circumstance is different. Generally, yes! Especially for a destination wedding.  Customarily Wedding Invitations are sent two months before the Wedding date.   Save-the-date cards can be mailed a year, nine months, or 6 months before the wedding date.  This extra notice will give your guests the opportunity to put this special date on their calendar well in advance and helps accommodate their schedule for a busy wedding season of events, summer traveling, etc. Hotel accommodation information can be on the save-the-date card, and this will give your guests the opportunity to make reservations ahead of time.

Does the formality of the invitation matter?  Should it match the venue or can you just pick out whatever you like?

The invitation sets the tone!  If your wedding is formal, the invitation should be formal.  If your wedding is casual and beachy, the invitation should follow suite.

When is the correct time to mail wedding invitations?

Customarily eight weeks in advance.  However, everyone’s circumstance is different.  For example, if you have not done a save-the-date, and you are having a destination wedding, you could send three months in advance.  I have had brides send the invitation six months in advance.  So many factors can come into play.  If your wedding is on a holiday weekend, for example, Memorial Day Weekend, Christmastime, you would want to take all of that into consideration.  My best advice would be to consult your Stationery Professional, or Wedding Coordinator, to best advise on how to handle any unique situations.

How do you ask late responders who haven’t RSVP’d yet if they plan on attending?

If you have not heard from a guest by the timeline you requested for a reply, the first thing you do is phone and ask them “Did you receive the invitation?”  Sometimes the invitation never gets delivered. 

You should wait to phone the guest about 3 days after your requested reply-by-date.  After you ask the guest if they received the invitation, they will reply if they are attending.  And, sometimes, they did mail the RSVP in, and due to mail error in delivering, you just did not receive it, as well.

If I know someone can’t attend, do I need to send an invitation anyway?

If you mailed the guest a save-the-date, it should say on the save-the-date, “Invitation to follow.”  Therefore, yes, you should send the invitation, even though you know they can’t attend. In general yes, I would send the invitation, especially to a family member, or very close friend.  In addition, they most likely will want to send a gift, even if they cannot attend.

How do I deal with guests that wish to bring children, even though they are not invited? 

Again, everyone is different.  I do have some brides (few) that want children and entire families.  For the most part, brides prefer adults only.  The invited guest names appear on the envelope.  i.e., Mr. and Mrs. John Smith….(that is who is invited to the wedding).  If the children’s names are not on the envelope, then they are not invited. If your guests ask to bring their children, you will say, “regretfully our wedding venue cannot accommodate children” or we do not have the space to accommodate children.  For guests traveling a distance, some brides will offer a babysitting service in one of the hotel rooms, or an off-site space to  help accommodate the parents that don’t want to leave their children at home.

What are some of the biggest errors you see people making? 

Almost everyone spells stationery wrong. Remember: Stationary is like a stationary bike, stationery is the paper. Also there are two spellings for fiancé vs. fiancée (male and female versions). 

Charlotte’s store, Decoratifs, is located in Melbourne, Florida. For more information, visit her website at

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