Understanding the Invitation Etiquette of Weddings

With the arrival of a new year, wedding season will soon be upon us. Those happy couples tying the knot this year will be knee deep in plans by now, but with so much going on, it’s easy to forget the simple rules of invitation etiquette. Here are some tips to help you with the process:


Yes, it’s frustrating and just a little rude, but there will always be one or two guests who don’t RSVP but turn up anyway. Anyone who hasn’t responded to your invitation by your set date should be contacted prior to the big day, but if you didn’t for whatever reason, it’s no big deal. Ask a friend or staff member to find them a seat and let them join the celebrations. Most caterers prepare for such eventualities. Discuss this with your venue if you have any doubt about final numbers. For a stunning rural venue, Hotels in the Forest of Dean will provide the perfect romantic backdrop. For a first-class Wedding hotel venue Forest of Dean, contact The Speech House.

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Partners have now become exes

This happens a lot but doesn’t need to become awkward or embarrassing for anyone if handled well. If you have written the invitation to them and a ‘guest’, they may bring whomever they choose. If you have invited someone’s partner (now ex) by name, technically they are both still invited. Although, enforcing this rule makes no sense so have a few spare ‘guest’ place cards made up in case someone turns up with a new ‘plus one’.

Others controlling the guest list

Parents and in-laws might be pressuring you to invite the world and his dog, but you want a small, intimate celebration. A good rule of thumb is that whoever is stumping up for the majority of the cost, does have a say in who gets placed on the guest list. Try to have a calm and honest discussion if you’re bothered by their choices, it is your wedding after all! A compromise normally satisfies everyone.

Don’t include gift list

When guests are ready, they will contact you and ask. Including gift details on the invitations is considered a bit tacky. If you have a special wedding website, it’s fine to include these details but you should avoid inviting and the suggestion of gift-giving in the same correspondence.

Requesting money

It’s now the norm that couples have co-habited for quite some time before getting wed. This means the traditional gift list might not be appropriate. For couples who have been married before, money is often more appropriate – to help pay for a honeymoon or home improvements, for example. Always provide your guests with a choice between a money gift and a traditional one.

Acceptable timeframes

If you’re sending save-the-date cards, these are best sent out between four to six months before the wedding date. You are then free to send out formal invites no later than six weeks before the wedding, with a final RSVP date of between two and three weeks prior to the big day. Thank you notes should still be hand-written, even though the temptation is to email or text these days. They should go out no longer than two months after the special day.