Invitations are the first contact you have with your guests regarding your wedding. It will indicate to them the type and style of event, and although you need not spend a lot of money to make them look good, it is important to convey to your guests the courtesies of a host. There is good reason that there are so many rules of etiquette relating to invitations, but there are also many that are anachronistic, illogical and irrelevant. If you consider each rule in light of whether it shows consideration for your guests and common sense, you can’t go far wrong.
Not an acceptable invitation. Image by somecards.com.
Miss T’s Top Three Tips on Invitation Etiquette
1. Who’s invited?
Invitees only are listed on invitations. I’m with Emily Post on this one, who says: “May I bring? Don’t even ask! An invitation is extended to the people the hosts want to invite—and no one else”. This applies to adults and children. If you choose to have an adults-only event (gosh that sounds naughty), make sure that you are consistent with the line you draw about any children you do wish to attend. But remember that as a matter of common sense, infants and breastfeeding babies are an exception to the ‘no kids’ rule. There is a school of thought that decries the inclusion of words to the effect of ‘no children’ on written invitations, on the grounds that invitations should say who is, not isn’t, invited. Although I theoretically agree with this, you may need to clarify who your guests think they are replying for when you receive their RSVP (“Thank you for your RSVP – I’m so glad that you and Mrs Tiddliwink can attend”). Also spread by word of mouth.
This isn’t my hen’s night … but I’m pretty impressed. Etiquette-wise it’s not too far off the mark, which isn’t bad considering it’s a pair of candy pink heels. Image sourced from Manolo for The Brides.
2. Any information beyond who, what, when and where should go on an information card, for visual purposes if nothing else. On to the matter of letting your guests know where you are registered.
There is a vocal group who maintain that it is the height of squeamish bad manners to put any information about registries or gifts with your invitations as it assumes that you will receive gifts. Instead you are meant to quietly spread the word about where you are registered and assume that people will Google you to find out where to go, or include the information on your wedding website, where it is acceptable.
This is tripe and hogwash of the worst kind, and misguided snobbery to boot.
Let me remind you that up until about 15 years ago registries themselves were considered to be the utter end of all manners and extremely tacky, so it’s a bit rich to say now that there’s a whole lore of ironclad etiquette around them. Sneaking about to include a roundabout way to access the mysterious gift registry – that you can’t acknowledge exists that contains the things you want but can’t say you want but that you registered for anyway so that your guests can buy you a gift even though you can’t acknowledge that they will – is ridiculous at best and disingenuous at worst. This is a clear case in which to apply both common sense and consideration for your guests.
If you already own every KitchenAid and Le Crueset you’ll ever want and instead would prefer cash or a contribution to your honeymoon fund, it may be unpalatable to put account details on the information card but be sensible here – you can’t expect your poor mum to memorise your BSB and account number and give it out to anyone who enquires. The inclusion of this information may be blunt but it is helpful for your guests.
*Disclaimer: Be sensible with it all. Don’t have a registry with gifts only $200 above. Be a gracious host and expect that not everyone has the funds to both attend your wedding and buy you a gift. Just don’t pretend that it’s polite to pretend to hide your registry in a place you want people to find it, is all.
This isn’t acceptable either. Image by somecards.com.
3. Dress code.
Although Emily Post considers that the time and style of the invitation should indicate the dress code, to save yourself a lot of bother and for your guest’s ease of reference, a dress code is an appropriate inclusion on an invitation. Noting that ‘code’ means something like ‘cocktail’ or ‘black tie’, not a specific set of rules or acceptable colour schemes.
You can most certainly command the wearing of any sort of silly hat you want if you are the future Duchess of Cambridge. Image sourced from Royal World.
And finally, the rules of etiquette also apply to you as a recipient of an invitation – RSVP to the right place, on time, and promptly. Turn up on time wearing appropriate clothing, behave with decorum and say please and thank you.
Good manners will get you everywhere.
Ms Gingham says: Some very interesting insights to commonly pondered over issues. Thanks to Miss T for some fabulous recommendations.
Miss T says: Organised to the max; fan of all things sparkly and organic; vegan (but no hemp or dreadlocks); proud mama to a Chihuahua princeling and two snooty cats; drinker of beer; and thrilled to her little cotton socks to be marrying the sweet, silly, smart and snuggly Buzz.
Read more by Miss T here.