Wedding invitation etiquette is all about managing your RSVPs effectively. Agreeing on your guest list was the easy part. Here’s what to do next to ensure you have all the people you really want at your wedding.
Save the Date Cards
Save the Date cards are a very good way of casually letting guests know the date of your wedding in advance. They are a signal of an actual invitation and should be sent to the guests you definitely want to be at your wedding ceremony and reception. Consider the maximum numbers your venue can accommodate before sending out any Save the Date cards.
While some couples still adhere to the traditional rules of etiquette by sending invitations just 6-8 weeks in advance of the wedding, my advice is to send them out sooner. The Save the Date cards have signalled only what date it will be, your guests will want to have more information in order to book accommodation and travel in good time.
Here’s the easiest way to manage your wedding invitations and RSVPs –
Create two guest lists – an A list of your close family and friends who very much want to be there, and a B list of extended family and newer friends, work colleagues and friends of the family. Don’t worry if you feel you have too many guests to invite, as you can expect some of those invited will not be able to come.
1 Send your Save the Date cards to everyone on your A list as early as you can, and then send your formal invitations to the A list around three to six months before the wedding, or more if you prefer.
2 When you send your A list invitations out, send each of them with a stamped-addressed reply card inside with an ‘RSVP by’ date as this is by far the best way to make sure your guests reply by the date you give them. Allow a month for them to reply as that should give everyone enough time to reply and you work out who can and who can’t come.
3 When you invite your A list, ask them to send back their replies within three months of the wedding, so that if some people say they can’t come you can then move others up from your B list onto the A list and still have enough time to handle the second round of RSVPs. The beauty of the A and B list idea is that if you allow enough time, no one on the B list who gets ‘upgraded’ will even know they didn’t make it onto your A list from the outset.
Evening Reception Invitations
You might choose to send out ‘reception only’ cards to some of your guest list, or evening reception cards which is more usual. Whatever you send make sure to include additional information on travel and accommodation for out-of-town guests.
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