Invitation Etiquette
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"Everything you wanted to know about invitation etiquette but were afraid to ask..."
Basic etiquette rules and tips

Author: Amber - Internet Sales Coordinator & Team LeaderAugust 2005

The rules of etiquette are always changing to correspond with what the current generation deems acceptable. Some things that are the norm now may make our parents or grandparents cringe. However, many of the etiquette rules that were standard for past generations are obsolete in this day and time. Nevertheless, there are still some rules that are tried and true and should be upheld.

The invitations you send for your event will no doubt set the tone for your event and they are the first impression to your guests. Because of this, they should reflect your personality and your theme if you have one for the event. From formal upscale to tropical and laid back, the choices are endless. Whatever style you decide, invitations are typically sent out 6-8 weeks before your event.

Once you have selected your invitation, you will need to find the best wording that will fit your event. The basics of course will include what is the event, the location, the date, the time, who is it for or who is giving the event and RSVP information if applicable. It is also standard to use full names and spell out dates, times and addresses, cities, states, or other items, such as Apartment, Suite. Don't forget the year, especially if it is a formal event, in which case you should spell it out. It is also important to use courtesy titles such as Mr., Miss and Mrs. When appropriate, professional titles should be used. Doctor may be abbreviated as Dr. and a priest or minister should be called "The Reverend", Rabbis "Rabbi" and "The honorable" may be used for judges. There are many ways to word your invitation and it may depend upon who is giving the event, the couple or the parents and other situations. Visit this link for some sample wording ideas, Once you have decided on your wording and have received your invitations, you will need to assemble and address them.

There are various ways to assemble your invitations. Most commonly place the tissue paper in front of the invitation. The enclosure cards (i.e. reception, rsvp, map cards) may be placed in the back of a non-folded invitation or in the inside of a folded invitation. The items should face the guest when opening the envelope. All items are placed in the inner envelope (unclosed, since the inner envelope is not gummed). The inner envelope is then placed in the outer envelope. The front of the inner envelope with the guests'' names should face the guest when opening the envelope.

Many invitations come with both an inner and an outer envelope. There are some rules to follow when addressing them, a basic rule to follow is when addressing the envelopes to hand write them or use a calligrapher, it is not acceptable to use labels. The outer envelope is to be addressed in a more formal full name format and the inner less formal. An example of this would be on the front: Mr. and Mrs. John Turner, the inner envelope can read John and Susie. When addressing an envelope for non married couples living together it needs to be addressed to both of them with each name appearing on a separate line. When inviting children it is appropriate to list each child's name on a separate line rather than writing Mr. and Mrs. John Smith and family.


How do I specify tactfully that no children are invited?
The best way to let your guests understand this would be to add a line to the response card or invitation stating "Adult reception only" or "No children please"

What are enclosure cards?
Enclosure cards are cards that accompany the invitation. If there is not enough room to add the details of your reception on your invitation, a reception card is customary. A respond card is an essential card for the planning of your event. Your guests will send this card back letting you know if they will attend and meal choice if applicable. A map card is a direction card included as a courtesy for your guests who may not be familiar with the location of the event and/or reception.

Should I include a postage stamp on the RSVP card?
Yes! You should also have the mailing address to which the respond card should go to already printed so your guests only need to fill the card out and send it back.