Wedding Invitation Etiquette

by Tina at Paper Lily

I don’t claim by any means to be an ‘etiquette expert’ but I have learnt a few things over the years. We are often asked about the best way to handle certain issues related to the invitations and we do our best to check with etiquette experts, research what others have done in the past and what we feel is the best way to handle the tricky question. Sometimes our personal opinions have clashed with what our clients would like and we respect their right to decide what is best for them and naturally, that is what we go with. I thought it might be helpful to others to run through some of the issues that can arise when organising your wedding invitations.

1. Who to invite?

The answer to this is going to come down to budget, size of venue and basically who YOU want to share your wedding day with. There are some general rules to follow though when writing your guest list. If you are going to invite family and friends to your bucks/hens/bridal shower, then be prepared that they then should also be invited to the wedding. It is poor form to invite every facebook friend you have to a girls night just for the sake of it but not consider them worthy enough to be guests at your wedding. Partners? If  they are in a serious relationship and you have met them then we think they should be included. Plus ones? This depends on your budget. If it stretches to allow a single friend to bring someone, go for it, if not, I am sure they will make friends on the night. Your Great aunt and third cousins whom you would not recognise if you bumped into them? This is where it can get tricky, especially if mum and dad are paying for the wedding and really want them there. Whilst we know it is your special day, if they are helping pay for the wedding then they are entitled to some say with the guest list and should be given the opportunity to invite some of their friends as well.

2. Who is doing the inviting?

Generally speaking, the names at the top of the invite imply that these are the people who are inviting you to the wedding. It also means that they are paying for the function or at least contributing to it. The most popular wording uses the bride and grooms parent’s names.

Mr & Mrs John Smith

together with

Mr & Mrs Ben Jones

request the pleasure of the company of


ImageAnother popular format is that it is a joint invitation coming from the couple and their parents.

Sally & Robert

together with their parents

wish to invite

Today, many couples are paying for the wedding on their own so the invitations come directly from them

Christine & Peter

cordially invite


If parents are divorced and have remarried or you have a parent who has passed away, there are ways to respectfully include everyone. We have seem every combination imaginable on the one invitation before!

3. How do we address the invitation?

In our opinion, this depends on how formal or informal you wish to be. You could choose to go with Mr and Mrs or just with first names – Jack & Lucy. If your wedding is a formal event then we do suggest going with titles as opposed to just names. Either way, you need to be consistent with the entire guest list. If there are some people for whom you do not know their first/last name such as for partners or plus ones, be sure to include space on the RSVP card for guests attending to write their full names.

4. Children at the wedding?

This is by far the most sensitive topic. If you wish to invite all children to the wedding, simply put ‘and family’ on the invitation. Done, no problem. If you do not wish to have children at your wedding, there are a few ways it can be done. The easiest option is to address the invitation as Mr & Mrs which implies only the 2 adults are invited. If you think this is not clear enough, we could include the words ‘adult reception’ which means they are welcome to the ceremony but not the reception or ‘by request of the venue, no children please’ – blame it on the venue gets you off the hook (cheeky we know) or ‘no children please’. You are never going to please everyone so just do what works for you. Try to be consistent though. Nothing would bother parents more than having left their kids at home with the babysitter only to see that others have brought theirs along.

5. Gift registry? Asking for money?

Back in the day, including a gift regsitry would have been considered offensive whilst asking for money was a crime punishable by death. Rest assured, both these options and others are used all the time now and no one bats an eyelid. Details of your preferred gift can be printed directly onto the invitation or on to seperate cards that are included in with the invitation. By doing the little cards, if there is anyone whom you think might be offended by the request then you have the option not to include it with their invitation. If you get a few gifts you don’t like it’s probably easier to deal with than upset friends and family. Gift registries and honeymoon registries are also very popular. If you preference is to receive money, wishing well poems soften the blow better than ‘no gifts, we request money’ (it does happen, believe me). If you truly do not wish to receive any gifts as perhaps your guests have had to travel or spend a little extra to attend your wedding, you can say ‘no gifts please, your presence is present enough’.

I hope this little blog has helped in some way.

Tina xxx

Be sure to like us on facebook to be kept up to date with our products, promotions and general wedding tips and trends

Visit our website also