Wedding Stationery Etiquette - Wedding Invitations

You've set the date, booked the venue and worked out the guest list - now it's time to send out the invitations. Once a formal exercise with strict traditions, today things are more relaxed.

Here is our guide to modern British invitation etiquette.


What to say

Invitations are sent from whoever is hosting the wedding. Traditionally in the UK this was the bride's parents - nowadays it is often the couple themselves.

All invitations need to include:

  • Who is invited (more on this later....)
  • Who the invitation is from (the hosts)
  • The names of the bride and groom
  • The venue for the ceremony
  • The venue for the reception (if different)
  • The date and time proceedings start
  • RSVP details

Further information, such as gift list, menu choices, accommodation options, can be included with the invitation, either within the main invitation or separately - we will cover this in a future article.


How to say it

Invite wording can be formal or informal in style. There are so many options and combinations we have decided to devote a whole article to sample wordings - coming in April 2010. 


How Many

Remember you only need one invite per couple/family.

All members of the bridal party including bridesmaids and the best man should receive invites. The exception is the hosts (though they may want one as a memento).

It's best to order a few more invites than you think you actually require.


When to Send

Invitations should be sent a minimum of 6 weeks before the wedding, although most brides prefer to send them 8 - 12 weeks in advance. If you want to give people more time to make arragements, then consider sending Save the Date cards which can be sent well in advance. 

Check with your venue for the date they require confirmation of numbers and allow time for people to reply.

All invitations should be sent at the same time to prevent misunderstandings and bad feeling! However, it is acceptable to send further invitations at a later date if you receive more refusals than expected.


Avoiding banana skins!

Invite everyone by name rather than using phrases such as "Mary Smith & partner" or "Mary Smith + one". Apart from being impersonal, you don't want a nasty surprise when Mary turns up with her new, less than perfect boyfriend having recently jilted that nice, polite chap you met last year!

Do check the correct postage required to send your invitations with your post office. Your guests will not be impressed if they have to pay an excess postage charge.

If children are not invited it's a good idea to make this clear, otherwise parents may assume they can bring their kids even if they are not named on the invite. If you think this may be an issue, include a polite note with the invitation saying something like "Due to the number restrictions at our venue, we are only able to include children from our immediate family".


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