While the wedding invitation announces the news of the nuptials, invitation enclosures reduce the need for guests to contact the couple to clarify logistical details. Examples of enclosures include reply cards for guests to respond to the invitation, At-home cards to convey the new address of the happy couple, and directions. Resist the temptation to include registry information. According to Martha Stewart Weddings, “It's impolite for you to start the conversation about gifts. Even if some guests find it convenient, others will think it seems greedy.”
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Include a line for the guest to write her name on. The blank line traditionally begins with a printed letter “M” to encourage guests to address themselves formally by Mr., Mrs., Ms., or Miss.
Below the name line, include two lines or boxes for the guest to check. One should indicate acceptance of the invitation, and one should indicate regretful decline. Choose the verbiage “Accept” and “Regret” or “Attending” and “Not Attending.”
List the reply deadline. “The favour of your reply by is requested by July 26,” according to Peggy Post, is a formal example of pressing guests for a response. The British forms of words remains traditional for formal invitations.
Include the names of every person invited from the addressed household, including invited children, on the response card return envelope.
List the time of the reception. If the reception occurs later in the day, include the exact start time. Otherwise, "Reception immediately following the ceremony" suffices.
List the reception location and time on the wedding invitation if the invitation extends to the ceremony. "If more people are invited to the ceremony than to the reception," according to Grace Fox, author of Everyday Etiquette, "separate reception cards are inserted in the invitations for those who are invited to attend both." In this case, print the information on a separate enclosure.
Include the address of the reception location.
List the dress code if the bride and groom request white tie or formal attire. Accomplish this in one phrase on the last line of text. For example, use "White Tie" for an event requiring white dinner jackets and long gowns or "Black Tie" if guests should wear cocktail dresses and tuxedos or dark suits. Refrain from phrases such as "White Tie Invited," as it implies that underdressed guests may be turned away.
Include addresses and basic directions to the ceremony and reception on an enclosure. Guide guests to the ceremony and reception from the nearest highway. A small map that fits folded inside the invitation suffices, or give the directions in writing.
List contact information for the hotel where the couple reserved a special rate.
Inform guests of other activities. If the couple or wedding party plans additional dinners or outings for guests, list them on the enclosure along with a contact name.
List the names of the bride and groom. Use the bride’s married name if she chooses to take the groom’s name in marriage, even if the wedding has not occurred at the time of the mailing.
Include the effective date, traditionally the date after the couple returns from their honeymoon. For example, “Mr. John Smith and Mrs. Sally Jones-Smith will be at home after February 22.”
Follow the date with the address of their marital home. List each part of the address on separate lines, in the same format as an addressed envelope. The phone number or e-mail address may follow on additional lines.
Tips and warnings
- On the response card, do not ask the guest to fill in the number of guests. This entices them to invite their own guest or include household members who are not invited.
- According to Martha Stewart weddings, inviting a guest to the ceremony, but not the reception, or vice verse, is poor etiquette. However, there are certain appropriate circumstances for the practice, such as an adults-only reception. Reception cards now serve the purpose of limiting clutter on the invitation.
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