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Invitation Etiquette

Invitation Etiquette


For many of our lovely brides, you are probably dreading this task and have had at least one thought that a text, E-vite, carrier pigeon or smoke signals are completely legitimate options compared to the marathon of stuffing, stamping, writing and mailing that is looming over your head. Then the technicalities of invitations, “Do we plus one?”, “Is it Ms. or Miss?”, “How do we word that?”  It’s been years and I still cringe when I hear the word ‘invitation’. Lucky for you, I have befriended Emily Post and have become an aficionado on invitation etiquette and the best practices.
Let’s start with the technicalities. . .
When addressing an envelope always list both members of a married couple, or if the whole family is invited and the children are not getting a separate invitation, list the couple ‘and family’. It is also suggested to use full names on the outer envelope, and if the middle name is not known, completely omit it. When addressing invitations, be sure you are spelling everything out completely, and that includes “Street”, “Avenue”, “Boulevard” etc. On the inner envelope feel free to be more casual but list who is invited.


Outer Envelope- Mr. and Mrs. John James Smith and Family

Inner Envelope- Mr. and Mrs. Smith

 Sara Smith

George Smith

Or Uncle Jack and Aunt Kim, Sara and George

The inner envelope allows you to be crystal clear about who you have included on the guest list, and this is great for friends who you are allowing to bring a plus one. Not using an inner envelope?  No problem, as the outer envelope lets most guests know who is invited. For those guests with a plus one, maybe drop in a little note for them to know they can bring a guest.
The next point is a point of much debate; using Ms. or Miss for the unmarried female guest. According to The Knot (because Emily Post declined a comment) Ms. is a safe bet if you don’t know the married status.  Otherwise use Mrs. or Miss, unless the guest is over the age of 30, and then use Ms.  A lot of contingencies to the rule, I know.  So, my general advice on this subject is, do what feels right. Your 25 year old cousin who just landed a great job and her own apartment may appreciate your use of Ms. rather than Miss, and your 32 year old friend who just broke up with her boyfriend may like the sound of Miss.  It is up to you and I really don’t think anyone will give you a hard time over this.
Now to verbiage. . .
Let’s get to the verbiage of an invitation, as the invitation tells the guest a lot about the wedding. Are the bride’s parents paying for it, are both families chipping in, are the couple footing the bill? Is it in a church or is it at ceremony location?

 Both set of parents and couple are paying, “Together with their families”

Both sets of parents are paying, “Mr. and Mrs. John James Smith and Mr. and Mrs. Thomas William Darling request”

 Parents of the Bride (or Groom) , “ Mr. and Mrs. John James Smith request . . .”

Couple are paying, “ Jennifer Rose Smith and Nicholas James Darling request . . .”

Ceremony is in the a house of worship, “Honour of your presence”

Ceremony is not in a house of worship, “ Pleasure of your company”

What to do about Plus Ones. . .
Plus ones, it is an easy way to bulk up your guest list, and an even easier way to go over your budget. Here is what you do, always extend a plus one to your bridesmaids and groomsmen whether they have been in a long term relationship or not. Let the members of the party who aren’t in a committed relationship, know it is not required but an offer nonetheless. (They don’t need any more pressure to find a date when they have a dress to fit into or a speech to make) Some of them won’t take you up on the offer, some of them will and that’s okay, it’s the right offer to make.
Everyone else, these are the few questions you need to take into consideration.

Does my budget allow for additional plus ones, if so how many?

   Will my venue be able to accommodate plus ones, if so how many?

 Is my guest in a long term relationship?

Chances are if they are that serious the plus one is getting added to the list like a married couple would be.  But sometimes there are exceptions!

Would a plus one make your guest more comfortable?

Tips and Tricks for Invitations
1.Number the back of the RSVP cards and have the names on a master list. {Like that awesome excel sheet One Atlantic sends out to you}  You will be shocked how many people don’t write their name on the cards.
2. Don’t mention where you are registered or the attire for the night, as you have a wedding website for that. Or the guest can just call you if that is their biggest concern.
3.Try your best to get the guest’s plus one information before creating escort cards; it’s always nice to have to make them feel welcome.
4.Don’t be afraid to stand by your list. Everyone has a budget and a venue can only hold so many people. If you receive an RSVP including a plus one that you were not counting on, or 3 kids that were not invited, don’t be afraid to give a call and politely say “I’m sorry but we aren’t having children at the wedding” or “I’m really sorry but we want our wedding to be as intimate as possible so we aren’t allowing plus ones.”
5.For any of your guests who may have an issue with a babysitter, a call ahead of the invitation may be the best thing to do, and your guest will definitely appreciate your consideration.
Have any questions, drop a comment below!
Erin Luurtsema
One Atlantic
Website Credits 
Emily Post
The Knot