Informal wedding invitation etiquette

A wedding invitation should reflect the type of wedding you're having, so a casual wedding calls for an informal invitation. Although there are many similarities between informal invitations and more traditional formal invitations, there are some considerations you should make for informal invites. Let the content of your invitation express the informality of your wedding, allowing guests to appropriately prepare for the event.


Informal wedding invitations should provide only basic information. Rather than including a variety of inserts, couples can choose to include only the invitation and an optional response card in their invitation package. Multiple inserts are the mark of a more formal invitation, so limit the inserts and provide only the essential information in your informal invitation package.


Couples hosting an informal wedding have more wording options for their invitations. Rather than "requesting the honour of your presence," informal invitations can invite guests to "request the pleasure of your company" to "share and celebrate marriage," as suggested by The Knot. Informal invitations can drop the "Mr." and "Mrs." if parents' names are included---for example, "Steven and Joy Perkins request the pleasure of your company to share and celebrate the marriage of their daughter, Elizabeth." The date, time and address can use numerals on invitations---spelt-out versions of these terms are not necessary. For example, the invitation can say "Saturday, June 4, 2012, at 4:30 p.m."


It is important to get an accurate headcount for your informal wedding, so your invitation should request that guests reply. Formal invitations use response cards, and these cards are also an option for more informal invitations. Response postcards are an untraditional option suitable for informal invitations---guests simply check "Yes" or "No" and drop the card in the mail. If you're hosting a small wedding, you can ask guests to call or e-mail with their response---but you might end up having to track guests down for a reply.


Brides sending formal invitations often hire a calligrapher to address envelopes, but that is not necessary for informal invitations. Hand-write the envelopes, and include the guest's title, first and last name---for example, Ms. Janice Black. According to The Emily Post Institute, address married couples' envelopes using the husband's name---Mr. and Mrs. Randall Williams.

Etiquette for Guests

Guests should follow proper invitation etiquette even for informal invitations. They should submit their response by the reply date using the means requested on the invitation---calling, e-mailing or sending a response card. A busy bride does not have time to track down guests for their response, so they should take time to respond.

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About the Author

Barbie Carpenter worked as a technical writer and editor in the defense industry for six years. She also served as a newspaper feature page editor and nationally syndicated columnist for the Hearst Corp. Carpenter holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Florida and a graduate certificate in professional writing from the University of Central Florida.