Wedding Etiquette: Reception Invitations & Late Receptions

kate spade new york reception cardRECEPTION INVITATIONS

Wedding ceremonies and receptions do not necessarily have the same number of guests.

Many couples, especially those in which the bride is a second-time bride, have small, intimate ceremonies with larger receptions afterwards. Since more people are invited to the reception than the ceremony, the invitations are for the reception. Guests invited to the ceremony are sent ceremony cards with their reception invitations.

Reception invitations always “request the pleasure of your company,” since the reception is not being held in a house of worship. The word “and” is used to join the names of the bride and groom. The phrases “marriage reception” and “wedding reception” are both correct. “Marriage reception” is the more traditional of the two. However, many brides prefer “wedding reception” on the grounds that a wedding is the act of getting married while marriage is the result of that decision.

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Etiquette: Replying to an Invitation

engraved wedding invitation reply cardYou love a good party, which is probably why you get invited to so many. (That and your incredible charm and wit). Here’s how to accept — or decline —  an invitation.


Formal Replies
Informal Replies

Filling in Reply Cards
Reply cards are sent with invitations in order to give recipients an easy and convenient way to respond. They should be returned promptly. Your name, preceded by your title is written in following the “M” in the space provided (that is what the “M” is for). If you will be attending the event, the space between “will” and “attend” is left blank. If you will not be attending, write  “not” in that space.

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Etiquette: A Perfectly Proper Invitation for Every Soiree Style

From formal dinners to Bar Mitzvahs, every party comes with its own invitation etiquette. Here’s how to make sure your soiree is properly presented to potential guests.

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Wedding Etiquette: Stationery For After the Big Day

You’ve said I Do. Been pronounced Mr. & Mrs. And kissed to seal the deal. Now it’s time to show off your shiny new titles. Here’s what to include in your newlywed stationery wardrobe.

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Wedding Etiquette: Assembling the Invitations

Channel your inner Lucy and get ready for some chocolate factory-style fun. Hopefully minus the mishaps, of course.

ORDER OF ENCLOSURES

engraved wedding invitationFor the most part, wedding invitations are assembled in size order. The invitation itself is first. The enclosure cards are stacked on top of the invitations, not inside. The reception card is placed on top of the invitation. Then the reply envelope is placed face down on the reception card. The reply card is slipped face up beneath the flap of the reply envelope.

Any other enclosures are added face up in size order (usually at-home card, directions card, accommodation card, pew card, etc.). The single-fold invitation and its enclosures are placed into the inside envelope with the fold of the invitation at the bottom of the envelope and the engraving facing the back of the envelope. You can tell whether or not you stuffed the envelope correctly by removing the invitation with your right hand. If you can read the invitation without turning it, it was stuffed correctly.

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Wedding Invitation Etiquette: A Line By Line Guide


The Groom’s Name
Joining Word
Request Line
Location
Street Address
Time
Year
City & State
Personalized Invitations

THE INVITATIONAL LINE

letterpress wedding invitationThe tradition of the bride’s parents sending out the wedding invitations (along with the tradition of the bride’s father giving away the bride) have their origins in the days when the bride’s father made the marriage arrangements for his daughter by negotiating the size of her dowry.

Today, the traditions continue with the bride’s family customarily hosting the wedding. But it’s not as easy as “Mr. and Mrs.”

How to present who is issuing the wedding invitations can be complex, which is why we have an entire section dedicated to the Invitational Line.

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Wedding Invitation Etiquette: Religious & Cultural Customs

catholic wedding invitationLove. Amore. Amore. Amour. There are oh so many ways to say love. So it isn’t surprising that there are oh so many ways to get married.

Below, we cover the invitation etiquette for several different cultures, religions and customs. Because while the end result is the same, how the bride and groom get there is a unique and special experience as individual as a snowflake. Except so much more romantic.

Roman Catholic Weddings
Jewish Weddings
Mormon Weddings
Hispanic Weddings
Military Weddings
Double Weddings
Second Marriages

Roman Catholic Weddings

The Roman Catholic Church requires the posting of banns, the public announcement of a couple’s intentions to marry. The banns must be announced from the pulpit or in the church bulletin three times before the wedding. The traditional posting of the banns was the forerunner of today’s wedding announcements.

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Wedding Etiquette: The Invitational Line

catholic wedding invitationThe tradition of the bride’s parents sending out the wedding invitations (along with the tradition of the bride’s father giving away the bride) have their origins in the days when the bride’s father made the marriage arrangements for his daughter by negotiating the size of her dowry.

Today, the traditions continue with the bride’s family customarily hosting the wedding. But it’s not as easy as “Mr. and Mrs.”

Below we answer some of the most common questions brides have about how her parents’ names should appear on the wedding invitations. Of course, a bride’s parents will not always be present, which we cover below, too.

And now, some Q&A’s:
Where on the invitation should my parents’ names appear?
My father is a medical doctor. Does he use his title?
My mother is a medical doctor, but my father is not. How is that worded?
Both of my parents are medical doctors. How do their names read?
My mother kept her maiden name. How should my parents’ names read?
My father/mother has a Ph.D. Does he/she use “Doctor” on my wedding invitations?
My father is a minister. How should my parents’ names read?
My mother is a minister but my father is not. How do their names read?
My father is a judge. Does he use “The Honorable”?
My mother is a judge but my father is not. How is that indicated?
My parents are separated. Should they send my invitations together?
My fiancé and I are paying for the wedding. How is that indicated?
My father dislikes his middle name. Is it proper to use his middle initial?
My father’s middle name is just an initial. Is it proper to use his initial?
One of my parents is a widow, can I still include my deceased parent on the invitation?
When is it appropriate to use “senior”?
My mother is a widow who has not remarried. She prefers the use of her first name. Can her name read “Mrs. Mary Chance Forrester”?
My father passed away last year, and I’d like to include his name on my wedding invitations. How is that done?
Both my parents are deceased, who should issue my invitations?
What if I’m not close with any of my relatives?
Can my groom’s parents issue the invitations?

Where on the invitation should my parents’ names appear?
The first line of the wedding invitations.

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My father is a medical doctor. Does he use his title?
Medical doctors do use their professional titles. “Doctor” should be written out, but may be abbreviated to “Dr.” if your father’s name is exceptionally long.

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Wedding Etiquette: How to Address Your Envelopes

Crane & Co. envelopeOnce upon a time, wedding invitations were delivered by hand. If you were a bride, your footman delivered your invitations to your guests’ homes. Their servant received the invitation and removed it from its mailing envelope (an envelope much too pedestrian for your guests to handle themselves).

The servant then presented the invitation to your guests in its pristine inside envelope. Because the invitation was already at its destination, the inside envelope had only the names of your guests written on it. The address was no longer needed. It just had to be directed to the appropriate members of the household.

Though footmen have since been replaced by postmen, the inside envelope is still de rigueur. It gives something as important as your wedding invitation a certain je ne sais quoi. As for how you should address both the inside and outside envelopes, here is a perfectly proper guide for how to do so.

Single Woman & Date
Single Man
Single Man & Date
Unmarried Couple Living Together
Diplomatic Leaders
Married Couples
With Children Under 18 Living at Home
With Two Daughters Over 18 Living at Home
With Two Sons Over 18 Living at Home
With a Son & Daughter Over 18 Living at Home
In Which Wife Kept Maiden Name
In Which Wife is a Doctor
In Which Husband is a Doctor
In Which Both are Doctors
In Which Husband is a Judge
In Which Wife is a Judge
In Which One or Both are Lawyers
Divorced or Widowed Woman
Military Titles
In Which a Man is a Junior

SINGLE WOMAN 

Outside Envelope

Miss Page Beacham or Ms. Page Beacham

Inside Envelope

Miss Beacham or Ms. Beacham

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The Creation of a Letterpress Wedding Invitation: Photo Essay

We wish we could invite every future bride and groom to watch their wedding invitations be made at our factory in Dalton, Massachusetts. But that would be a lot of brides and grooms. On top of that, we’re guessing they’re pretty busy.

So, we thought we’d snap a few photos of the process. In this particular photo essay, we showcase how a letterpress wedding invitation is made. We hope you enjoy watching it as much as we enjoyed making it.