Wedding Invitation Etiquette...Expert Commentary

Your wedding invitation is something to be given special thought.

The texture and weight of the paper as well as the style of the engraving are all factors. The traditional wedding invitation is issued in the third person and follows a prescribed wording. If the bride's parents send out the invitations, no title is issued in front of the bride's name like, "Doctor" for instance.

If the invitation is sent out by friends or the bride and groom send them out themselves, then titles are acceptable but should be spelled out, not abbreviated. Instead of the usual R.S.V.P. a more formal version is, "The favour of reply is requested" ( the word favour is always spelled with a u ).

The R.S.V.P should always be to an address not a telephone number. The wedding presents are sent to this address. Although, if a reply card is enclosed with the invitation, R.S.V.P. does not appear on the invitation. "The pleasure of your company" should be stated when the wedding is held at a home, club, or hotel, "The honour of your presence" when the wedding is held in a place of worship. Including the 'u' in the spelling of these words is the Old English spelling and is considered more formal.

While the year does not usually appear on a wedding invitation, it is always on the wedding announcement and is written out in full, "Nineteen hundred and ninety-five". The wording for a noon wedding is "at twelve noon" or "at twelve o'clock". If the wedding is on the half hour, the invitation reads, "at half past four o'clock" or "at half after four o'clock." If the wedding is black tie, "Black tie" is engraved on the lower right-hand corner of the invitation.

Note that black tie is never worn before 6 p.m. Traditionally, the return address is blind embossed on the back flap of the envelope. This is hard to see so, black ink is preferred by many. The envelopes should be hand addressed with good penmanship. House and apartment numbers are rarely written out anymore because the post office can sort more efficiently with numbers.

The names of children after age twelve appear on the envelope below their parents name. "Miss" is used for the girl and "Master" is used for the boy under the age 15 and over that age, "Ms. And Mr." are appropriate.

Avoid use of writing "and family" or "and guest" when addressing envelopes for a formal event. When the invitees see the invitation, it is something that they will give more than a passing glance to. What you want them to see is one that reflects your personal taste and style. The invitation also serves as a very practical purpose, it tells the guest how formal of an event you are planning and sets the mood and tone for the wedding.