Your guide to wedding etiquette and stationery

Your guide to wedding etiquette and stationery

With regards to wedding stationery, it is important to remember it is there for a reason! Your guests need a certain amount information in order to physically get to the wedding – the date, the time and the location. Of course you want to convey this as graciously as possible, while injecting a bit of your own personality and a sense of the event to your wedding stationery.

The wedding stationery essentials:

  • Save-the-date cards
  • Wedding Invitations
  • Thank-you notes / stationery
  • Order of Service programs

Other wedding stationery options:

  • R.S.V.P. Cards
  • Gift Registry Cards
  • Wishing Well Cards
  • Map
  • Menus
  • Information Cards
  • Table Numbers
  • Seating Plan
  • Place Cards
  • Bonbonniere Tags

Save-the-date cards

In order to ensure that your friends and loved ones can make your special day, sending out a save-the-date card is a fabulous way to let people know both the date of your wedding and also that they are to expect a formal invitation in due course. 

Invitation Format

The formal format for a wedding invitation is for it to be issued by the parents of the bride.

As these traditions have now changed, that is, the wedding may be jointly hosted by the bride and grooms parents or by the bride and groom themselves, the flow of the copy and who is inviting whom has changed.

Sending out Wedding Invitations

The time for which wedding invitations are sent relates to their location.

  1. International Guests – These should be sent 3 months in advance
  2. National / Local - These should be sent 6 weeks in advance

You should therefore look to brief your stationery 5 – 6 months prior to your wedding date, to allow time for back and forth over the design and artwork approval, printing, delivery and the addressing of invitations and postage.


R.S.V.P.s are generally requested 1 – 2 weeks prior to the wedding day, however it is always a good idea to speak with your suppliers to verify when they would like the final number of attendees confirmed.

Many people are not sure whether or not to include an R.S.V.P. card with their wedding invitation. While I must admit, I am a fan of the handwritten reply, R.S.V.P. cards are becoming more and more commonplace and if pre-stamped will most likely ensure that all of your R.S.V.P.s are returned well and truly prior to the R.S.V.P. date. This will save you the time of following up guests to confirm their attendance.

R.S.V.P. cards can be as detailed or simple as you would like. The details that need to be included are:

  • Space for the guests names
  • Whether the guest/s ‘Accepts with pleasure’ or ‘Declines with regret.’ (There is generally a box placed next to these options, for the guests to tick.)

    Other information which may be included is:

    • If there are any special dietary requirements to be taken into account
    • If bus transfers are required and if so, how many?

      Dress Codes

      The time of the wedding generally dictates the dress code:

      • Morning wedding – prior to 2pm: Morning suit
      • From 2pm: Lounge suit
      • From 5 pm: Cocktail dress (knee length dress)
      • From 6 pm: Black or White Tie, floor length gown for the ladies

        However, as many people have ie a late afternoon wedding with an evening reception, it is a good idea to let your guests know how you would like them to dress, so that they can be prepared and dress accordingly.


        Pre-Wedding Thank you notes

        Thank you notes for presents received before the wedding should be written and posted prior to the wedding.

        This thank you card should only be sent from the person to whom the present was given. (Most likely the bride.) Traditionally, the stationery used for this thank you note is the brides personalised stationery or if not to hand, the initial of the bride’s maiden surname. That said, any suitably elegant stationery will do.