Wedding-Invitation Etiquette Mistakes, According to Pros
When it comes to creating and sending your wedding invitation, there’s a lot more to it than just sticking a card in the mail! We’ve asked our experts to weigh in on the top invitation etiquette mistakes and to share their tips so that your invites are everything you want (and need!) them to be.
Mistake: Putting an incorrect start time on the invitation.
Solution: While you might want to indicate a ceremony start time that’s earlier than you’ve planned, just to make sure none of your guests are late, if there’s one thing wedding guests know, it’s to show up early to a wedding ceremony. If you plan to begin your ceremony at 5 p.m., expect guests to arrive between 4:30 and 4:45—and to head down the aisle no later than 5:15. If you tell guests the ceremony will begin at 4:45, they’ll arrive closer to 4:00—and wait an hour to see your grand entrance.
Mistake: Not including all the necessary information.
Solution: A well-informed guest is a happy guest, so make sure to tell your guests everything they’ll need to know on your wedding invitation. Specify the date, time, and location of the ceremony. If your reception will be at the same location, “reception to follow” will let guests know they don’t need to go anywhere else. If you’re having a reception at another location, you can either include it on the invitation or, more formally, print a reception card with the time and location. On your information card, you’ll want to include any pre- and post-wedding events, hotel information, and a link to your wedding website. And don’t forget the dress code!
Mistake: Sending invitations too late.
Solution: Look at your wedding date and count back eight weeks (for a non-destination wedding). This is the latest you should mail your invitations to give your guests enough time to RSVP and make any travel plans. Having a destination wedding? Count back 12 weeks so your guests don’t feel rushed and can shop around for the best travel prices.
Mistake: Not providing RSVP instructions.
Solution: Don’t forget an “RSVP by” date on your RSVP cards! Give your guests three to four weeks to let you know if they’ll be attending. The RSVP date should be at least two weeks before your wedding so you can give your caterer a more accurate head count. And, of course, let guests know how to RSVP. Include a pre-addressed envelope that guests can use to send back their reply, or direct them specifically to the email, phone number, or URL they should use to RSVP.
Mistake: Not putting a stamp on the RSVP envelope.
Solution: If you want your guests to mail back an RSVP card, make sure the envelope is pre-addressed and includes a stamp. Does this mean you’ll have to buy a whole bunch of extra stamps? Yes. But asking your guests to pay to reply (even if it’s just a single stamp) is an etiquette no-no.
Mistake: Putting your registry information on the invitation.
Solution: We all know you shouldn’t put your registry information on your invitation, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore it. Instead, put the link to your website (not directly to your registry) on an information insert. Then make sure the registry tab on your site is clearly marked so guests can find it easily.
Mistake: Creating a B-list.
Solution: This one is controversial. If you’re sending your invitations early enough (we’re talking 12 weeks before a non-destination wedding), having a B-list of guests can be OK. However, if you’re going to send out a second round of invitations, make sure you’ve printed a second set of RSVP cards. That way, those guests receiving a later invitation have an RSVP date that is a few weeks after they get their invite, not the next day!
Mistake: Not clarifying who is invited.
Solution: It’s all about the names on the front of the envelope. If you’re inviting a couple but not their children, don’t use “The Alcopra Family.” Instead, put “Mr. and Mrs. Aristides Alcopra,” which implies that they are the only two invited. If you’re inviting someone with a guest, be sure to write “and Guest” on the envelope, or put the name of his or her significant other if you know it. Inviting the whole family? Either write “The Smith Family” or “Mr. and Mrs. Aristides Alcopra, bj, boboy and cholet,” with the kids’ names on the line beneath their parents’.
When it comes to wedding cakes, we’re always on the hunt for the new, the eye-catching, and the totally gorgeous. Succulent cakes manage to check off each one of those qualities and then some. Yes, that’s right: Those live-forever plants that you’ve decorated your desk with are now sugar-based, and we couldn’t be more obsessed.
While floral cakes have become somewhat of a post-aughts wedding staple, succulent cakes add a jaw-dropping twist on the classic. Also known as terrarium cakes (for obvious reasons), these incredibly detailed desserts boast piped-on floral designs that are more reminiscent of desert cacti than garden fresh roses. They look pretty convincing too.
Why do people wear wedding rings?
According to a tradition believed to have been derived from the Romans, the wedding ring is worn on the left hand ring finger because there was thought to be a vein in the finger, referred to as the ‘Vena Amoris’ or the ‘Vein of Love’ said to be directly connected to the heart.
What does the ring symbolize in a marriage?
A symbol of marriage, the wedding ring represents union and commitment of spouses for life. As such, the wedding band is certainly the most famous and symbolic piece of jewelry. It is the ring of love.
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There are a million and one things to plan when it comes to a wedding. So is it any surprise that one or two or even 10 could fall through the cracks? “Planning a wedding — whether big or small — can be extremely overwhelming, especially when juggling full-time job. “Planning a wedding is essentially a full time job! There are so many details and so many people, vendors and logistics that have to be managed, so it’s not hard to believe that sometimes a detail here and there gets overlooked.”
Here’s the top 14 details you could overlook. Take notes, and don’t let yourself be the bride who forgets these important must-dos and must-knows!
- Havinga rain plan.“This can slip through the cracks because preparing for rain often comes with a large price tag, and it can feel frustrating to spend that money when you’re banking on a sunny day.
- Knowing when the sun will set.“When that golden hour takes place is so important for photos and the timing of the ceremony,” B.J says.
- Getting yourbridal partyfrom point A to point B. “They’ll often leave the hotel —or wherever they’re getting ready — at a different time than the bride and groom, but earlier than the rest of the guests,” explains Emerson.
- Noting the historical temperature.We all cross our fingers for sun and mild winds, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. “If you’re planning an outdoor wedding, we highly recommend that brides check the historical temperature for their particular wedding date in their location,” Ar says, so you can accurately prepare for what weather may come.
- Arranging lighting for the band.“If you’re working with a band that doesn’t do primarily weddings, they might not be aware of their lighting needs because they’ve always worked in venues that provided it for them. “Most wedding venues do not have in-house lighting, so this is something you’ll need to take care of.”
- Providing extra seating atyour ceremony.“Take into consideration the fact that people do not naturally sit next to each other,” Emerson advises, “so you will always need roughly 20 more chairs than there are people.”
- And while we’re chatting about chairs, don’t forget to have a separate set for your ceremony and reception.“It can feel frustrating to have to rent two sets of chairs, but it’s not practical at many venues to repurpose your chairs from the ceremony for your dinner. “Think about where your guests are having the cocktail hour, and whether this is the only path for the caterers to bring those chairs through.”
- Designating a “photo wrangler.”Along with a shot list, “designate a sister, brother, cousin or aunt who can be the ‘photo wrangler,'” suggests Emerson. “The photographer is not going to know who your important family members are, so when he gets to the ‘photo of the bride with aunts and uncles,’ your photo wrangler can easily go grab these family members for you and you can stay on track with timing.”
- Establishing a wedding website before you mail your save-the-dates.“The site does not need to be fully finished, but you should have a URL that you can put on the cards, as well as a few basic pieces of information on site, such as the the location and nearby hotels,” says Arison. “People are often so excited to get the save-the-dates out that they don’t think about the fact that six to eight weeks before the wedding is pretty late for out-of-town guests to make travel plans.”
- Nominate “transportation managers.”If you’re providing transportation for your guests to and from your ceremony and reception, “make sure you have one friend or extended family member on each bus or in each car who knows how to get to the venue,” says Arison. “It’s amazing how you can sometimes end up with a driver who has never driven the route before, and the last thing you want is the driver making the wrong turn!”
- Paying for the correct invitation postage.“Not only does the weight but the size matters when it comes to your invitations,” Emerson says. “Square envelopes and certain enclosures can carry an additional charge. This can fall through the cracks simply because people forget to ask, or don’t know all these funny rules from the post office.”
- Asking your guests if they have food allergies.“Be sure to make note of all the guests who have food allergies or are vegetarian or vegan,” suggests Arison. “Provide a list for your caterer noting where each of these guests are sitting — your caterer will love you!”
- Ask someone to keep your cards and gifts safe. “You don’t want to be figuring out what to do with all of it at the end of the party, after you’ve been enjoy a night full of bubbly!” Emerson says.
- Leave room — and money — for overtime.“Check in with your vendors ahead of time to see if they might be willing to stay later,” suggests Arison. “Even if you don’t think you’ll want to take advantage of this option, you never know how you’ll feel that night! It’s better to find out what those fees would be like from vendors, such as your DJ and bartender, ahead of time, as well as giving them the heads up that overtime might be a possibility.”