Monday, November 2, 2009
Wedding rules can vary from generation to generation, but some wedding etiquette rules never change. For example, some rules for wedding invitations.
• Wedding rules typically state that information about dates, times, names, locations, attire, activities, directions or anything else that may be involved in that special day.
• Always include the day of the week, date and year of your wedding. Most people assume that your wedding is in the near future, but it is nice to have the year printed on your invitation for keepsake.
• The day, date, month and year should all be spelled out in this sequence: For example, “Saturday, the twenty-fifth of April two thousand and eleven ".
• The time should be spelled out, but never use "a.m." or "p.m." on a formal invitation. The time of day may be indicated as “seven o’clock in the evening”.
• When listing the location of the ceremony, include the name (street address optional) and city, state. If it is in someone’s home, just include the address, city, and state. Never include the zip code.
• If you are having a reception in the same place as the ceremony rather than using a separate location, you may add “Reception immediately following" or "Reception to follow" as a footnote or the final line of the invitation.
• The street address of the wedding and reception location should not be printed on the invitation itself, but on a separate map or direction card. However, be sure to list the city and state -that is, unless the city is internationally recognizable, such as San Francisco, New York or Paris
• Who says tradition is lost? Brides, if your parents are hosting the wedding, their names should be on the first line of the invitation.
• For thoroughly modern couples who are hosting their wedding together, their names may appear first, but remember the cardinal rule of written correspondence: ladies, your name goes first.
• The bride's name is listed first on the invitation and the full name should be used. However exclude her last name if it is the same as the sponsor of the wedding (usually bride’s parents). Use her last name if it is different from the sponsor name, both sets of parents are doing the inviting or you want to use titles like Ms., Miss., or Dr.
• The groom's full name—first, middle and last should appear after the bride’s.
• If your wedding is a formal event and you want your guests to be dressed most formally, the correct wording on the invitation is "Black tie." Any deviation will not guarantee that all of your guests will come appropriately attired.
• Reception cards are not always necessary. If your reception will follow at the same location as the ceremony, add "and afterwards at the reception" or "Reception immediately following" at the bottom of your invitation. It is proper to indicate that your wedding and reception are in different locations by using a separate card.
• The save-the-date cards should be sent out six (6) months prior to your wedding.
• Wedding invitations should be mailed out six (6) to eight (8) weeks before the day of the wedding, up to 10 weeks if no Save the Date was sent ahead.
• Remember to affix first class postage to your reply envelopes. This will help to ensure your guests will respond in a timely manner.
• Reply dates should be two (2) to four (4) weeks before the wedding date, and generally a little past half way between receiving the invitation and the event itself. Your vendors should let you know when a final count is necessary.
• You should start looking at stationary nine (9) months prior to your wedding date. This may be a difficult concept to grasp since many couples do not think about it until it’s absolutely necessary. Keep in mind that you will need at least three (3) weeks to obtain proofs and make changes. It’s very important that you take your time to review the proof carefully to makes sure there are no spelling or grammatical errors. The printer prints directly from the proof so everything should be just as you want it. Companies can and will make spelling errors, omissions or insertions. Keep in mind that it takes a lot of time to make font style, size, or color changes. If you have multi-colored stationery, it will take on average 72 hours more not only to prepare proofs, but also to print. If you do have multi-colored invites, it’s very important to acquire a colored proof.
• Make sure to confirm what is included in your package price. Depending upon where you purchase your printed materials, you might pay by the proof. Making changes might prove to be very costly, so make sure everything is reviewed thoroughly prior to submitting it to the company for another proof.
• Always...always...always get proofs - if there is an additional cost! There are never any second chances, and it "proves" to be very expensive if you have to reprint and then overnight your stationery
• Consider ordering more invitations than you think you need (we recommend a 10% overage). There will inevitably be people that didn't make the original list.
• If you didn’t order printed envelopes, always order additional envelopes (at least 10%) you or your calligrapher will require extras for mistakes. And remember, if your invitations include double envelopes, make sure to order extra of both the inner and outer envelopes.
• Mr., Mrs. and Dr. may be abbreviated - but no other short cuts are allowed. Your names should be spelled out-even you, "junior." Titles should be used consistently among the hosts, or not at all. Initials should not be used in names on invitations. Middle names are either in or out.
• Be sure to weigh your invitations at the post office for the proper amount of postage. The cost per invitation will depend on the size and shape of your invitation. Squares are automatically extra postage. This applies to square reply cards as well. You can be sure that between ordering and mailing your invitations, postal rates can rise again.
• It is a good idea to have your envelopes hand-cancelled at the post office to avoid the "tire tread" effect left behind by mechanical stamping machines. Hand canceling is especially important if your invitations include delicate materials, such as wax seals or beadwork.
Please feel free to contact us for additional assistance or more etiquette resources.
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