Week 20: Invitations + Etiquette

Do these things this week
Determine level of invitation formality
Find invitations you love and order them!
Second bridesmaids' fitting
Revisit budget and compare to actual spending
Book honeymoon accommodations


Wedding etiquette is beautiful, but it’s also a beast. Invitations can be complex. Let’s break down the anatomy of an invitation:

  • Invitation: formal invitations typically include information as to who is hosting the wedding (bride’s parents, groom’s parents, both sets of parents, or you), your names, the wedding date, time, and location.
  • Reception Card: if you’re reception is at a different location than your ceremony, you can include a card with information on the start time and location.
  • RSVP Card: This card allows your guests to indicate whether or not each invited member of the household will be able to attend the ceremony, reception, or both. They will also allow guests to indicate their meal choice for the reception and any additional information you’d like to include (such as song requests for the DJ!). Invitations with an RSVP card will include a pre-addressed stamped envelope for guests to return their reply.
  • Additional information: Some couples choose to include maps or accommodation information in their invitations.

Pick and choose from the above and stuff it all into the fitted envelope from back to front (for example, the reception card goes on top of / in front of the invitation). If the idea of including a bunch of inserts feels like a lot, use your wedding website to list information such as maps, directions, and accommodations and to collect RSVPs. Hello Wedding makes it easy to include an RSVP button that automatically updates your guest list as people respond, so you can see who’s coming in real time.


When wording your invitations, there are several rules of thumb as to how to apply formal etiquette. If you’re doing it yourself, Crane & Co’s guide to wedding invitations will walk you through the rules of wording your invitation.


If you want to have your invitations custom-made, begin reaching out to designers. Since the process may take some extra time, place your order as soon as possible so you have time to go over the final design before getting your invitations in the mail.


If you’ve found invitations that you love, it’s time to place the order. You want to receive your invitations at a minimum of six weeks before your wedding (we prefer 10 to 12 weeks) so you can give your guests ample time to RSVP. Even if you know the exact number of guests you want to invite, order a few extra envelopes in case of mistakes while you’re addressing them.

“Order the invitations plenty of time in advance! If the paper company is willing and able, have them send the envelopes first so you or the calligrapher can get a head start on addressing,” advises Camden Chitwood of Emerson Events.


We’re going to take this time to apologize in advance, because we also need to revisit the budget monster just to make sure he hasn’t been eating everything in sight. We’ll keep this fast and painless. Take a second to tally up the deposits you made the balances you owe and make sure it’s all reflected in your budget tool. If you need to start your budget (gasp!), see week 39.

If for some reason you’ve spent more than you expected to, revisit your Top Three Things and ask yourself if there are any areas in which you can cut back. If your budget looks out of control and you’re freaking out right now, take a step back. Deep breath. Relax. It’s not over yet. Just email each of your guests and call off the wedding (kidding!).

We’ll talk about lots of ways you can save a little moving forward, and your vendors should also be able to work with you to determine what services work best. If someone pushes you to spend more than you’re able, practice stretching your “no” muscles now. Simple is beautiful!

Remember event stylist Jenn Elliott Blake’s words: “As long as your Top Three Things are met, allow yourself to simply enjoy the process of figuring out the rest of it. Focus your energy on really making those priorities the most special details of your day.”


As you interview your vendors, you might want to keep a brief tally of your cost per guest. Vendors who charge on a per head basis may fit within your budget initially, but if your guest list expands, you might have to pay more. Extra guests may also mean adding more tables and chairs and other rentals, so stay aware of what you’re spending and make mental notes as to where you might need a cushion.


How are you doing with your honeymoon? If you have everything booked or safely in the hands of the world’s best travel agent, you’re ahead of the curve. If you’re still looking, let’s just be honest – planning vacations is hard, right? Especially given that you’re already planning a wedding!

If you’re torn between several honeymoon locations, pick one and go with it. Add the others to the list of places the two of you will visit someday. Then start making decisions and locking things down.

Even if you’re staying closer to home or taking a staycation, treat it like a real vacation and start making plans and reservations, even if it’s only on paper. (Putting “hike the Appalachian Trail” on the calendar for a specific date makes it much more likely than just making mental plans to take a hike on one of your days off.)