I’m what you would call a “progressive” wedding stationery designer. I don’t subscribe to Emily Post and I don’t believe that wedding invitations have to arrive in a double envelope with an sheet of vellum, but I do encourage brides to always be classy and thoughtful, even if they throw tradition to the wind in other aspects. That being said, here are the Top 5 Most Heinous Wedding Stationery Etiquette Blunders, according to me:
5. Addressing wedding invitations with Avery labels.
Yes, its easy and cheap. No, its not acceptable. You are announcing your wedding, not sending a holiday card, and you want to introduce the event with a personal, classy tone, regardless if you are having an informal wedding. I’m not saying its necessary to hire a calligrapher to address your invitations. A bridesmaid with nice handwriting can do it. Or you can have them printed in a nice calligraphy font. There are even beautiful labels that coordinate with wedding stationery that are acceptable for even the most up-scale events. (And yes, these labels are very popular, despite the fact that your mom may hate them). But white office labels printed at home on the bride’s computer will not do.
4. Sending invitations out AFTER the RSVP date has passed. Sometimes it becomes necessary to send out invitations in batches to make sure you don’t exceed your venue’s capacity. This is understandable. However, please make sure that you give everyone at the very least 2 weeks to respond. Nothing says “You’re on our B list” like getting an invitation when the RSVP date is 2 days away or has already passed.
3. Not sending an invitation to someone you sent a Save the Date to. Many times couples send out Save the Dates before they know a lot of details about their wedding. So what happens if you find out you can’t have as many guests as you originally planned? Well, don’t put yourself in that situation. If you are not completely sure how many guests you can have, only send out Save the Dates to those people who you absolutely know you will invite. Once you are sure you can invite more people, just send out your invitations a little early and you should be fine. I have also had couples ask if it was ok to not send an invitation to someone who received a Save the Date but has already declined. In a word, no. Assuming the person is someone you are close with (and if they are invited to your wedding, they surely are) they will still appreciate being invited. They may send you a gift even if they can’t come, and you should do them the courtesy of sending an invitation. And also, their plans could change. If they are able to come after all, you want them to feel welcome.
2. Writing in/ correcting information on invitations. I once had a bride who had to change her wedding date due to weather-related damage to the venue where the event was being held. Instead of having the invitation re-printed, she informed me that she was just going to “change the date with a Sharpie”. Oh. Oh my. Even as an etiquette liberal, this almost sent me to my grave. This is your wedding. Treat it with respect. If your information changes, ask about a reprint. In most cases, if only one piece has to be reprinted (as opposed to the whole ensemble) your stationer can reprint for a fraction of the price of the entire order. And on the same note, be sure you look over your proofs very carefully before placing your order. If there is a mistake you don’t catch, the responsibility of paying for a reprint is yours.
…And the Number 1 Most Heinous Faux Pas
1. Including registry information with your wedding invitation. No, no, no. Do not do this. Do not do this at your house, do not do it with a mouse. Do not do this in a box, do not do it with a fox. Do not do it, Sam I am. Your wedding invitation is a way to extend your desire for the recipient to be with you on your wedding day because of the importance they have in your life. It is NOT a way to tell them what gift you would like to receive from them, regardless of whether or not they attend. Attending weddings can be very expensive, especially if there is travel involved. The decision about a gift should be left to the guest. If she wants to know where you are registered, she can ask someone close to you, or find your registries online with very little effort. “But wait,” you say, “When I registered at Target they gave me little registry cards to enclose in my invitations.” Yes, they did, but they should not have. Those little cards are the devil’s work and should be discarded immediately. Probably shredded first, and preferably disposed of in a toxic waste container. I love me some Target as much as the next girl, but the fact of the matter is that they have a vested interest in your guests purchasing your gift from them. They have no concern whatsoever whether or not you look tacky. That part is up to you! Exercise restraint!