Wedding Invitation Etiquette You Can Use in the Modern World


Getting your information across, without any hurt feelings

by Meg Keene, CEO & Editor-In-Chief

Understanding wedding invitation etiquette can save you a whole lot of stress—even if you decide to break some of the more old fashioned rules.

wedding invitation etiquette graphic with botanical save the date surrounded by leaves

There are a lot of emotions involved in weddings, and wedding invitation etiquette is at the top of the list. So the more you can boil things down to simple emotionless guidelines, the better. But even more important, if your grandma is operating by a wedding invitation etiquette playbook you’ve deemed irrelevant, you might end up hurting her feelings when you really want to thrill and delight her. And we can’t have that, can we?

That said, there is a lot of wedding invitation etiquette that just hasn’t been updated to make sense in the current world of weddings. So let’s, once and for all, go over the rules—as they were once and as they are now.

save the date cards from printable press

Modern Wedding Invitation Etiquette

Should We Send Save-The-Dates? And When?

Save-the-dates are a relatively new invention (Don’t believe me? Ask your parents if they had them.), which means there is a refreshing (or confusing) lack of formal wedding invitation etiquette surrounding them.

First up, save-the-dates are totally optional. It’s handy to provide significant advance notice to guests. In fact, giving notice six months or more in advance is great, and a year in advance for true destination weddings is even better. But that notice can come in any number of forms. You can send a save-the-date email, or make save-the-date phone calls. Or, of course, you can send out cute note cards or magnets or whatever creative trinket your heart desires. But only spend cash money on save-the-dates if you really want to. Because again? They’re optional.

Here is one word of warning about save-the-dates: if you send them out way in advance, and your ideas about the wedding change, you may well be stuck with the guest list you’ve got. Sure, you can send out notes saying you called it all off and went to the courthouse with your families. But it’s a lot harder to send a note saying you reduced your guest list from 150 to 100, and the recipient didn’t make the cut. So tread lightly, and only give notice to folks you know you will be inviting, no matter what.

RELATED: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW TO DIY WEDDING INVITATIONS

wedding invitations from printable press

wedding invitation etiquette: When Do We Send Wedding Invites?

The standard rule, which dates from back when weddings were mostly local affairs, is that wedding invitations should be sent out six to eight weeks in advance of the wedding. But the real truth is lots of folks won’t make travel arrangements until they get an honest-to-God invite. (See above about save-the-dates occasionally being revoked, and your great aunt not even really understanding what they are.) So if a lot of people are going to have to travel for your wedding, sending the invitations out three months in advance will be a greatly appreciated. (And trust me, nobody will forget about the wedding because you sent them a little early.)

wedding invitation etiquette: How Do We Address Wedding Invites?

There is this false idea floating around out there that if you’re having a formal wedding, and sending formal invitations, that you have to use traditional honorifics… even if they’re not the honorifics the person in question uses.

So here is the hard and fast rule: you should address people by the names they actually use. If you want a deep dive on smart and proper (kinda feminist) wedding invitation wording, you can check out the #APWplanner. But the short version is you can use honorifics or skip them. If you’re using them, children under twelve can be addressed by Miss or Master. Unmarried women, or women that kept their names can be addressed as Ms. Married women who changed their name can be addressed as Mrs. (Or Ms.!). Doctors can be addressed as Dr. or Drs. (if there are two). And men get addressed as Mr. (…And that’s why we need feminism.)

example wedding invitations from printable press

wedding invitation etiquette: What Information Should We Include On Our Invitation?

While it can be fun to get visually creative with your wedding invitations, you don’t want to get creative with communicating the information, because well, you want people to come. While we’ve gone in depth on wedding invitation wording in the past, the real key is just to remember to legibly communicate who, what, where, and when.

RELATED: WEDDING INVITATION WORDING SAMPLES (FOR REAL LIFE)

wedding napkin with ampersand

wedding invitation etiquette: Do we Include Registry Information?

Old school traditional etiquette insists that you never include any information on your wedding registry, because that should only be spread by word of mouth. However, all your wedding guests really like to find registry information on wedding websites, so do everyone a favor and put it there. (I’m calling the rule change as official.)

In general, however, you probably don’t want to mention anything about gifts on the wedding invitation. You want people there because you love them, not because you want a soupspoon, so don’t muddle the message.

wedding invitation etiquette: How Should We Let People Know About Our Wedding Website?

If you’re sending out save-the-dates, putting your wedding website on them can be a helpful way to give guests a better feeling for what your wedding will look like (and encourage them to buy plane tickets, if you’re holding off on sending official invites till a few weeks out). When you send out your formal invitation, it’s helpful to include the wedding website information again. Typically you don’t print the website on the actual invitation, but instead on one of the (sometimes many) accompanying pieces of paper.

And no, you don’t have to have a wedding website if you don’t want to. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

RELATED: WHAT TO INCLUDE ON YOUR WEDDING WEBSITE

printable press invitation suite

wedding invitation etiquette: Do We Have To Include A RSVP Card?

Only if you want to get RSVPs.

wedding invitation etiquette: What Should We Make The RSVP Deadline?

Remember that people will consider maybe kind of thinking about putting their RSVP card in the mail on the RSVP deadline you give them. Maybe. So in short, make the RSVP date at least a week earlier than the date you need to give your caterer a final head count, since you may spend that week calling around and chasing answers. Setting an RSVP deadline of three to four weeks out from your wedding will help keep you sane. (And really, who can’t decide if they’re going to a wedding until one week before?)

RELATED: HOW TO ACTUALLY GET PEOPLE TO RSVP

wedding invitation suite featuring roses

How Many Goddamn Pieces of Paper Do We Need To Include In This Invitation Anyway?

You need to include an invitation and probably an RSVP card (see above). You can include a variety of other materials if you so choose: maps, schedule of events, you name it. However, it’s easy to include any extra information on a wedding website and save a few extra dollars.

Do We Have To Allow Single Friends Plus Ones?

In short, no.

In longer, they might really want them. Particularly if you only have a few single friends, giving them a chance to bring a buddy (date or not), will increase the odds of them attending. (Social anxiety is a bitch, y’all.) If for whatever reason you decide not to offer plus ones, make sure that you take good care of the single folks. Seat them together, introduce them at any welcome parties you might have. Tell each of them who they should look out for, and what they should talk to them about. (And pray for hook-ups that end in storybook romances. What? Just me?)

printable press invitations

We’re Having A Wedding With No Kids, How Do We Make That Clear?

The traditional way of letting folks know exactly who is invited to the wedding is simply by listing the names of the invitees on the envelope. No children? Don’t list them.

However, in reality, this signal can sometimes get lost in the noise. Flights are booked before official invites arrive. New parents are not used to seeing their kids names on envelopes in the first place. Envelopes go straight in the trash. So you’ll need to be a little clearer, while keeping it kind. The wedding website is a great place to note that you’re not having kids at the wedding. (Word this nicely, and stay away from things that read along the lines of “NO KIDS PLEAZ.”) You can also call loved ones with kids to talk about it in person.

RELATED: HOW TO THROW A CHILD-FREE WEDDING (WITHOUT ALIENATING YOUR PARENT FRIENDS)

How Do We Let People Know Our Dress Code?

Well, it depends. If you dress code is “Black Tie” or “Semi Formal” or “The ceremony will take place on grass, so please make footwear choices accordingly,” just put the information on your wedding website, or on an insert card in your invitation. If your dress code is “Everyone wear pink and black only,” don’t include it anywhere, because you don’t get to pick out your guests’ clothes.

Now how about you guys? What tips or tricks do you have for wedding invitation etiquette? What regional or cultural variations are important to keep in mind? Give us the scoop!

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. She has written two best selling wedding books: A Practical Wedding and A Practical Wedding Planner. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in Oakland, CA with her husband and two children. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit MegKeene.com.

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  • Eenie

    If you want to avoid paper invites/save the dates all together…paperless post. Pretty, functional, and free (unless you get extras).

    • Lisa

      Yeah, one of the things for which I advocated hardcore was on-line RSVPs. We used AppyCouple’s on-line RSVP tools and didn’t have much trouble at all. (Even my husband’s 90-year-old grandmother and great aunt figured out how to do it.) The people who didn’t respond on-line are probably the same people who wouldn’t have sent an RSVP card back anyway.

  • Eh

    Sending out informal invitations can really set the tone for a wedding. My MIL had heard about our plans to have board games as centerpieces, that my husband was going to wear batman cufflinks with his suit, that we were only having a best man and MOH (and in the end only a MOH), that my sister was picking her own MOH dress (with a colour suggestion), that we were having a buffet supper, we weren’t getting married at a church, etc but she didn’t understand how these things were all going to fit together. She had had only been to weddings in churches, with large wedding parties in matching clothes with the men in tuxes, sit-down suppers with formal centerpieces, etc. When we sent her the proofs for the invitations (https://www.weddingpaperdivas.com/product/11433/signature_custom_wedding_invitations_handsome_handbill.html) it finally clicked in her head that we were having an informal wedding (“oh, you’re not having a formal wedding” – “nope, I’m wearing a fancy dress but I don’t care what anyone else wears.”). She still had some reservations about some of our choices (the board games as centerpieces) but the fact that it was not a formal wedding helped take the pressure off the fact that she couldn’t understand how everything was going to work out.

    We also did not give any single people plus ones. (One of our wedding objectives was “family focused” so we didn’t want “randoms” at our wedding and we only invited close friends who we consider family.) If they would have asked we would have considered it. When it came to our single relatives we felt that they would know enough people at the wedding. For our single friends, only one did not know anyone (well she did know my immediate family as we have known each other since grade-school) but she is pretty outgoing and has become friend with one of my university friends at my bachelorette.

    • TeaforTwo

      We didn’t do plus-ones either, for the most part – we were brushing up against the occupancy limit of the venue, so we had to keep the guest list small. Our guest list was 130 or so family members, so the single cousins knew lots and lots of people, and we only invited a small handful of friends, almost all of whom were coupled. There were two single women: one brought her 11 year old daughter (less of a plus one and more of a “children are welcome”) and we offered a plus one to the other friend because she didn’t know many of the other guests. She declined to bring one and had a great time anyway.

      • Eh

        The only single people on my husband’s side are his two teenage cousins (at the time 19 and 16). And on my side I had similarly aged cousins. My husband’s cousins were local and came with their parents and had lots of other family there so we didn’t feel that they needed to have a plus one. My cousins did not end up coming because they had to travel from the west coast. If my cousin who was 19 years old and in university wanted to come but didn’t want to travel alone we would have said that was fine. One of our other concerns was that we had an open bar and table wine, so we didn’t want our teenage cousins bringing friends and getting drunk at a family wedding (the drinking age is 19 so the older ones would have at least been old enough).

        We had so few friends at our wedding that all of them pretty much fit at one table. That table’s game was Cards Against Humanity. So everyone got to know each other very well.

    • Natalie

      BOARD GAME CENTERPIECES?! This is the greatest thing ever.

      • Eh

        My friend gave us the idea. She was at a wedding where Hungry, Hungry Hippo was destroyed (by some over enthusiastic/drunk guests). My MIL was concerned that people would take the board games home since people take centerpieces home from weddings. First, most of the games were bought at yard sales so we weren’t that concerned, but also at BIL/SIL’s wedding the year before they had rented centerpieces and no one took them home.

        • jb123

          I have a million questions about this because it sounds amazing:
          1) Did lots of people play with them?
          2) Were they the sole centerpiece or were there additional pieces?
          3) How did you choose the games?! Like, I LOVE Othello, but it’s only for two people, and it takes a while, which maybe would be unkind to others at the table?
          4) Was the table numbering actually just finding your game? Because that would be rad.
          5) I don’t know but I’m sure I have more questions.
          6) Pics?

          • Eh

            1. I would say about half of the tables played the games.
            2. We used them as centrepieces and didn’t have anything else other than the table numbers (which were made from Lego)
            3. We picked games that at least 4 people could play (most tables had 6-8 people) so too many people wouldn’t be left out. We almost picked games based on the people at the table, and that the rules for the game were well known or easy to learn. For example, at one table with young kids we had snakes and ladders, at another tables we had the game of life, and at a table with all adults we had cards against humanity.
            4. We did have table numbers but we could have just used the games. I have read that it’s annoying to find tables when numbers aren’t used but I have been to weddings that used pictures or symbols so games would work. (Having table numbers gave us an excuse to make them out of Lego which is one of my husband’s favourite things.)
            5. If you have more feel free to ask.
            6. We don’t really have pictures from our reception.

          • jb123

            Thank you so much! Sounds awesome!!

  • We are going to be doing our RSVPs through our website. Has anyone else done this and how did you communicate it? I’m leaning toward putting something like the following at the bottom of our invitations:
    Rsvp by the ninth of May
    http://Www.website.com/rsvp
    I don’t like putting the site address into the invite but It just seems kind of silly to include a separate card for that. The only enclosure card we plan to include is for people who will be invited to the rehearsal dinner for which people will also RSVP on our website. Thoughts?

    • Lisa

      If you’re doing your RSVPs through a web-site, you might check to see if you can upload your guest list and do an e-mail blast through the site itself. We used AppyCouple, which allowed us to send site invitations to our guest list, so we were able to coordinate the e-mail web-site invitation to match up with around the time our paper invitations got delivered to our guests. Would that be an option for you?

      • Ditto! We also used AppyCouple and did something similar. We got about half of our RSVPs through AppyCouple, which was great.

        • Lisa

          Yeah, husband was initially hesitant to pay for our wedding web-site since there are so many free options out there, but I justified the cost as being cheaper than printing RSVP cards, envelopes, and postage (what he wanted to do) with likely a similar response rate.

        • Kayjayoh

          That is the best app name. :)

    • Rose

      We did actually put the url for the website on the invites–it wasn’t maybe my top choice, but like you say we weren’t going to include another card just for that. It looked fine in the end (thanks to the lovely folks at Printable Press who did the layout); so that is an option.

      • Danielle

        Samesies!
        We used Minted.

      • Lizzie

        Me too! I DIY-ed my invites (two-tone letterpress, in retrospect a real hassle but boy are they pretty), and the thought of designing and pressing a whole separate card just for the website felt like overkill to me. Also: we have a short url (myfirstandhisfirst.com), which made it feel like a quick mention rather than a long intrusive line of text. But also, whatever! If any of our guests think less of my (gorgeous lovingly crafted) invites because there’s a dumb website on it, who even cares, ya know? Their loss. : )

        • Abe

          Totally agree. Great design can make any bit of text look classy… and a short URL doesn’t hurt either.

          (Also, DIY Letterpress?? Sounds amazing!)

          • Lizzie

            Yay! There’s a studio in Brooklyn that I use sometimes, with old letterpresses that you can rent by the hour (after you take a class to know what goes where, etc)… it’s so much fun and feels great to make something truly manual with this big clanking metal machine. Highly recommend, if there’s a studio anywhere nearby! : )

          • Abe

            That is so awesome. I’m in Brooklyn as well, and taking a letterpress class has always been on my bucket list of things to try! :)

        • ALSO. You can make your own custom redirect short URL: http://tiny.cc
          ‘Can get something like ‘http://tiny.cc/IrisRocks’ or something similar, for free!

      • khshire

        Same here! The folks at Printable Press fit the URL very nicely onto our invitation.

    • Jane

      In the envelope along with our invites, we included a business card-sized insert with a statement of “Please RSVP by at “. The business card also included the address for the ceremony/reception. The rationale was that business cards were cheaper to print than full-sized RSVP cards, and we figured it would be easy for guests to store them in their wallets for the day of in case they forgot the address!

      • NotMarried!

        I love the idea of including a business card with day-of information. This sounds perfect and would be so convenient for guests.

      • That’s a great idea about making it wallet sized for the day of. I always end up bringing the invitation with us for that reason and a business card would be much more convenient. This might sway me back toward the extra card.

    • Alexandra

      We didn’t want to do RSVP cards either, so we had business card sized magnets (reasoning that way they could put the magnets on the fridge to remind themselves to RSVP) printed at Vistaprint (they were really cheap) with a cute picture and website/contact information for both of us. Worked fine.

    • We did this – made our website through WeddingWire, which has an RSVP function. So, our invitations (which were technically classified as save-the-date cards on Vistaprint, so cheaper) had ‘to RSVP and book accommodations, please visit website-URL’, and that worked. I think only one person had issues with the process, it went pretty smoothly. The nice thing is that you set up each group with the names of every individual, so once you find your party by searching one of the names, you RSVP for each person, thereby making it crystal clear who’s invited.

    • Ashlah

      We put our URL on our invitation without hesitation. It worked out great, and I don’t regret it at all. We wanted to keep it simple, and separate enclosures weren’t going to work for us.

      • Natalie

        We did the same. I really didn’t want to pay an extra $50-100 for a tiny extra sheet of paper for a URL, so we put a line at the bottom of the invitations that said “please rsvp by [date] at [url]”. In hindsight I would have added an email address or phone number as well, because a few older guests had trouble typing the url into their browser.

      • Our invitations will be postcards, so the link to the wedding website will be on that. But we’re going to have to hand-write in a part of the custom URL. Each household essentially has their own custom website URL, because different households can be invited to different events (rehearsal, wedding, etc). Complicated!

        I <3 the Internet.

        • the cupboard under the stairs

          US TOO!! We have two RSVP forms, so we’re putting website.com on invites for the reception-only people, from which they’ll navigate to an RSVP page, and website.com/ceremony (an unlinked page the reception-only peeps can’t see) for family and close friends.

          • Yeah, I think GloSite will handle this for us (or they claim to). Everyone’s invited to the ceremony/reception…but not everyone’s invited to the rehearsal or the family portraits (before the wedding). And not everyone invited to the rehearsal belongs in the family portraits. So…this’d take more than two separate websites ;)

          • the cupboard under the stairs

            Wow, that’s confusing. Best of luck!

    • nycgirl6

      We didn’t want to print a second card either. I printed “Please RSVP by April 21 on our website [URL]” on the back side of the invitation.

    • Leah

      We did RSVPs on our website, and put the URL on the invitation, and have no regrets. It worked out great, and most people had no problems with it.
      Invites were a single piece of (pretty) paper, and at the bottom it said:
      “RSVP and find more information at http://www.ourwebsite

    • the cupboard under the stairs

      I don’t understand people’s weird reservations about including a website link on an invitation. We’re doing it. So far, nobody has complained or quoted Emily Post to us. :)

  • Mags

    I think this post needs to clarify the difference between guests who are single and those who are unmarried but in long term committed relationships. I was invited to a wedding of an old friend who knew that I had a live-in boyfriend (though they hadn’t met) who I had been living with/dating for five years. We were engaged 5 months after the friend’s nuptials and it kind of hurt that my boyfriend hadn’t been invited (in part because I would have loved for him to get the opportunity to meet this old friend). Fortunately my best friend (who also had a long term boyfriend, in this case who the old friend had met on several occasions), was also invited sans guest so we went as each other’s date. It was a great wedding and we might have chosen this arrangement instead of bringing our significant others anyways, but five years later it still burns a little that my relationship was not acknowledged because he had not yet put a ring on it. Because of this (and the fact that I have so many cousins that I can’t keep track of their relationships), I invited every person over 18 at my wedding was invited with a guest (and yet maybe 3 people brought such guests).

    • Amy March

      Exactly. There’s a difference between “single” and “not yet married but also not single.”

      • Maddie Eisenhart

        It baffles me when people consider all unmarried people to be single.

        • G.

          Exactly. People in committed (define as you please) relationships are not “single” — and, frankly, it hurts everyone (those in said relationships and actual single people) to lump all not-married people together.

        • Amy March

          Like, are you the IRS? Sure, consider anyone not legally bound single. Do you want all of your not-married-but-in-a-relationship friends feeling towards your wedding invitation the way they do when they get mail from the IRS?

        • Kayjayoh

          Exactly. Unless they are super interested in your tax-filing status.

        • NatalieN

          Also, a know your crowd situation: don’t even assume not living together means not committed. We didn’t live together before marriage, and several of our friends have made the same choice – so even the “if you’re not living together, you’re not in a serious committed relationship” rule isn’t a rule I’d reccommend for everyone.

          • Sara

            So much this! I actually had someone suggest that I didn’t need to be invited to a wedding with my fiance (well after our engagement was public knowledge) because we weren’t living together. Apparently the couple was using “living together” as their cut-off for plus-ones and didn’t think any other relationships counted as serious–despite our engagement.

          • NatalieN

            exactly! No offense of course to people who use that rule, but I was with my husband for three years, even bought a house and didn’t live with him until we were married- conversely I’ve known couples who start living together within months of dating because they wanted to save money, and less because they were serious about each other. Of course, the reverse can definitely be true, but the cohabitation rule seems unfair to people who don’t cohabitate that are equally serious for religious or other reasons.

          • laddibugg

            We don’t live together (yet) but are having a baby in 2 months, I think we’re pretty damn committed lol.

        • Agreed. This is also why I hate bouquet tosses where all the “single” (aka unmarried) people are expected to come out on the dance floor and act excited about being put on display. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been dragged out for them at weddings because I wasn’t married, but in a long-term committed relationship that apparently qualified me as “single.” In one instance I was dragged out by the bride herself, who already knew my disdain for the ritual, but I sucked it up because it was important to her. Bonus bouquet-toss-awfulness points for the times I was called out to participate despite my then-boyfriend (now fiance) and I being together longer than the people getting married. Fortunately, there were a couple times I was able to strategically make a bathroom run and avoid the shenanigans, but I’m just glad I don’t have to dread that part of attending weddings anymore.

          • Natalie

            I hate bouquet-tosses for so many reasons, including this.

          • Ashlah

            I’ve been to weddings where almost all of the women in the bouquet toss (myself included) were dragged into it despite being in long-term relationships already. It makes for a very awkward bouquet toss when no one makes any effort to catch the bouquet…

          • accidental_diva

            I’m pretty sure this is why my friend (accidentally) nearly chucked her bouquet at my face… I somehow got placed directly behind her and our friends knew I’d put my hands up to block my face- so it landed in my hands.

            I honestly don’t mind the bouquet toss – its not my favorite but its not nearly as bad as the guy who catches the garter then having to put it on a stranger – cause I have now been that stranger more than once and that is the epitome of awkward.

          • Maddie Eisenhart

            Confession: I love the bouquet toss, because #competitive. Can’t we just strip that whole “she who catches is next to marry” bullshit from it, let everyone join, and make it about what it’s really about (reenacting the end of Clueless obvs.)

          • Ashlah

            My husband was a little bummed when I told him I didn’t want to do bouquet/garter tosses, but had no interest in a gender-neutral fun-prize alternative :( I’ve seen some cool ones on the internet, though! I definitely think it could be a fun tradition, if we got rid of the ickiness of it, and made it more voluntary.

          • Yes! Seeing my cousins and small children energetically jump towards some flowers thrown in the air was fabulous. (Although some of my cousins were MAYBE a little more into the bouquet toss that the should have). To make the boys be more excited about the garter toss because we also wanted competition among them (and didn’t want to do anything where you take something off of my leg), we had like $5 tied to a football with a ribbon or something. Maybe we did money with the bouqet too? I don’t remember, since I did NONE of the planning. I just remember how amused I was by my cousin’s boyfriend leaping like 3 feet into the air in front of everyone else to tackle that. (And that my husband had to do it twice because the first time he threw it the wrong way).

            COMPETITION IS FUN!

            (Also I would like the chance to still be competitive in fancy events so it is too bad that as one of the first to get married, I’m going to miss out on all of those now.)

        • Meg Keene

          Yeah, I didn’t even think to clarify because… WHAT?

      • Leah

        Yep, and I think this is increasingly true as we get older – we got married in our mid-30s, and most of our friends are roughly the same age. At this point, if our friends are in a relationship it’s assumed to be fairly ‘serious’ by whatever metric one wants to measure such things. For example, we got married 6 months after getting engaged; we assumed that any of our friends who had an SO when we sent out save the dates 5 months pre-wedding would still be with that person when the wedding rolled around – so we invited them (and they all were, though of course a breakup is always possible). One of our best friends had just started a new relationship when we got engaged – we asked him if he wanted a +1 or her name on the invitation, as we didn’t want to make assumptions (they are still together 2 years later). We didn’t feel the need to make any judgements abut the level of ‘commitment’ of the various couples. As many of our friends are unmarried with kids than married at this point…so that distinction certainly didn’t mean anything. I guess the point of my rambling is – these are your people, if you don’t know their deal or what they are comfortable with, ask them.

    • Stephanie B.

      An old friend invited me to her wedding; at the time, I had been living with my now-husband for over 2 years. She had met my boyfriend several times. But the invitation was addressed to “Stephanie and Guest.” True story. I was incredibly hurt by it.

      • K.

        My husband’s close friend (who I had spent significant time with – she even stayed at my family home once) completely left my name off the invitation. She said that it was because I was “obviously” invited but also that the invite was “really” for my husband (I.e, if he couldn’t make it, I shouldn’t go alone). I mean, maybe that was one of those things that’s technically true—like, I probably wouldn’t have gone without my husband because we weren’t that close individually. But damn, way harsh, Tai. Felt like something you don’t actually have to indicate or say! Our relationship with her hasn’t ever been quite the same.

        • K.

          (Note for clarity: We weren’t married at the time…forgot to mention. So she felt like she could get away with that more I think because I wasn’t necessarily permanent, even 6 years into our relationship)

        • Becky

          I had something similar happen when my fiance’s cousin got married a few years ago. At the time we had been dating for a year and a half and I knew the cousin fairly well. He verbally invited me to the wedding, but when the invitation showed up, my name wasn’t on it. His reasoning: his boss’s nephew’s couldn’t bring dates, therefore I was not invited. I shook it off because what else can you do, but I still thought it was incredibly rude.

        • anon

          The worst for me was when I was intentionally slighted – we got engaged while my husband’s brother was also engaged – the save the date (sent when we were dating) for husband’s brother’s wedding had my name on it (by handwriting seemed to be addressed by husband’s brother), and the wedding invitation (sent after we had gotten engaged) was addressed to Husband + Guest – addressed by future sister in law.

          Apparently they were upset that we got engaged during their engagement… even though future sister in law also had a brother get engaged during the same time, which they seemed over the moon about.

          • Eh

            Ugh My BIL/SIL did not send my husband a invitation when they got married (they got married while I was dating my husband). He was in the wedding party (Best man) and other members of the wedding party got invitations. A few months before the invitations were sent my BIL (husband’s brother) said that they were going to put my name on the invitation and not “and guest” so that my husband would have to bring me. Well things happened leading up to the wedding (a family feud and some jealousy) and then a couple weeks before the wedding my SIL blew up at me. In her rant it became clear that she did not necessarily want me at the wedding but that because I was dating my husband she felt pressured (one of her issues was that I was quickly accepted by the family and nearly five years she was still not accepted by my husband’s family) that part of the rant ended with that I could still come. Since I was only dating my husband my SIL told the photographer that I was not to be included in the family pictures (against my MIL’s request – so my MIL was a bit upset). My SIL said that since they were paying for the photographer and pictures she did not want to waste a family picture on me in case my husband and I did not last.

          • CMT

            Oof. Sounds like you were the target of SIL’s pent up feelings :( That sucks.

          • Eh

            The family feud continued until after our wedding (they did not come to our wedding due to a misunderstanding and to spite my in-laws). We have worked things out since (and she has apologized for what happened at both of our weddings).

      • Bethany

        I had a similar thing happen to me where I was addressed as the “and guest” on my then boyfriend, now fiance’s invitation. We had been together for 2 years at that point and I had met those friends several times – in small settings, where it was just the 4 of us! They obviously knew me. It did sting a little, even though I have to assume they meant no harm by it.

        On the other hand, when we had only been dating a few months, another one of my (then) bf’s friends included me by name on the escort cards at their wedding. It was the first time I was meeting them, so I knew they had to go out of their way to even find out my last name. I thought that was so kind and really made me feel included.

      • Laura

        One of my now-husband’s high school friends had met me several times before his wedding, as we had been dating for three years at that point. Husband was incredibly outraged that his invite to this guy’s wedding had “Husband’s Name and Guest” on it.

        This was made doubly funny to me by the fact that when this guy called my husband to announce that he was engaged, my husband had to awkwardly ask, “to whom?” Last they had talked the guy was single, as he was only dating his fiance for six weeks before they got engaged.

      • Eh

        My dad had been dating my step-mum for a couple years and my dad was “and guest” to my step-sister’s wedding.

      • A.

        The worst thing we did I’m still mortified about and I still can’t believe was real. We invited a family friend of my husband’s family and tried to find the full name of his partner online, through his FB contacts. We found two possibilities – Katie A. or Catie B, both without profile pictures that showed their face (for real). We asked my father-in-law which name was correct since he was closest to them…and I’m guessing you see where this is going.

        We wrote a save the date, a wedding invitation, and thank you card to family friend + random Facebook friend with the same first phonetic first name as his live-in girlfriend. It wasn’t until a YEAR later when we received their wedding invitation that we realized what happened.

        • Natalie

          I did something similar to my best friend. I had met her serious long-distance boyfriend once, but only knew his first name. I looked on facebook for his last name, and his profile listed his name as “John Smi,” so that’s how I addressed him on her invitation. Turns out he didn’t have his full name on his facebook profile, and his last name, while beginning with “Smi,” is much longer. I felt embarrassed, but she was a good sport about it.

          • Eenie

            A lot of people knew their invites were coming because they got the late night text: “How do you spell your significant other’s name?” I facebook stalked as much as possible, but at the end of the day, it was so much easier just to ask.

          • Jess

            Currently doing this! Every few days, it’s, “Hey how do you spell… because I need to put it on an envelope”

            I’m taking the position of “It’s not like I’m surprise-inviting you, I may as well talk to you”

          • Natalie

            Yeah. I made the mistake of assuming that people put their actual names with their preferred spellings on their own facebook profiles. I should have just asked my friend for her sig other’s last name, but I was also using facebook to remind myself which of my friends spell their name “Rachel” and which use “Rachael,” etc., for which I found facebook to be excellent.

          • Eenie

            YES! I was also trying to use it to confirm post marriage name changes and apparently it’s a crap shoot for that. And no one understood why I thought it was important that their invite have their preferred name on it.

          • A.

            HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS STRATEGY. Learn from us! Don’t rely on your absent-minded yet extremely confident father-in-law, hypothetically speaking!

          • Aubry

            almost the same happened to my friend who is getting married in November. Friend goes by Matt, and his Facebook name is Mattias __(not his real last name). Well, Mattias isn’t his real first same either (he is a cop so no real names in facebook). Luckily we know his last name, but addressed the invitation to Mattias. Luckily he found it funny :)

          • I feel ya on this one. If I didn’t know the guest well enough to know if their FB last name was their real name, I just used first names only. No need to be so proper! But that assumes that you’re suspicious of people’s FB names to begin with.

        • khshire

          Yup. Sent a save the date and wedding invitation to my husband’s friend and his girlfriend whom we had only met once. Didn’t learn until we got their wedding invitation that she uses a fake last name on facebook!

        • hotpug

          FWIW, I use a fake last name on FB because of my profession, and several of my husband’s friend’s sent us invitations or thank yous to my “FB name”. I find it amusing, not at all offensive. You tried :)

        • laddibugg

          I don’t have my full last name on Facebook (I use my middle initial and my last name itnal). When I was sending out baby shower invites I realized that many people I’d consider friends probably don’t know or remember my last name. We decided to put in an insert that says ‘my first/last’ and ‘his first last’ are registered at X for that reason, plus many people might not know his last name since his and his mom’s are different.

    • AmandaBee

      This is a really great point – I don’t really think of people in long-term committed relationships as “single,” but to me it goes without saying that any partners in long-term relationships warrant an invite.

    • a.

      Yikes, that’s awful! To me, this is the kind of myopia that can come from the stress of wedding planning, but it’s SO not an excuse–you still have to try to prioritize your people and leaving out a committed relationship is a crappy thing to do. I get that a lot of couples justify it by claiming that they had to make a cut-off “somewhere,” but if you’re refusing to let someone’s partner join them, you’re still being rude, even if there’s consistency.

    • Sara

      We’re giving a plethora of plus-ones for the same reason (lots of cousins, don’t want to miss an important relationship, etc). I asked one aunt for the full names of any boyfriends and girlfriends her grandkids have so they wouldn’t get missed on the invitation, and the response left out a long-term significant other who has been in the picture longer than I’ve been dating my fiance–presumably because my aunt is still coming to terms with the fact that her grandson has a boyfriend. Thankfully Facebook let me confirm they were still together and get the right spelling of his last name, but I would’ve been mortified if I’d left off his boyfriend–even listing him as “guest” would’ve been pretty offensive given that they’ve been living together for over a year.

      • Vilmos Kovacs

        We did blanket plus ones and it was awesome. There were more than a few “randos” at my wedding (people we knew, but didn’t know that well). It made for a really, really, really kickass party. The pictures of friends of friends losing their minds on the dance floor even made it into the album. And I underestimated people’s social anxiety. I invited my maid of honor’s mother and sister to the wedding. They each brought platonic plus ones. My maid of honor’s sister still tells me how much it meant to her to have a “buffer” at my wedding, for when her sister and mom where otherwise occupied. We were lucky we had the budget to do it. Whenever someone says they want an intimate wedding with their nearest and dearest (and money isn’t an issue), I just want to tell them they don’t know what they are missing. More plus ones equal MORE PARTY and MORE FUN.

        • Sara

          I definitely agree with you on the fun that adding new people can bring. I understand completely that not everyone has the budget to do it–or would even enjoy it–but it fits us perfectly. We find ourselves guessing at who people might bring, especially acquaintances who we’ve met but aren’t close enough to for us to have invited them ourselves. (“Ooo, I wonder if she’ll bring her friend Mike. He’s so fun at a party!” or “If Scott is his guest, he won’t have to worry about finding a designated driver! Plus Scott might hit it off with your sister. Hmm…”)

    • Eh

      I think that this is a very unfortunate situation. My MIL forgot to include her friend’s husband on the guest list and other friend’s significant other. The one RSVP’d with her and her husband’s name. The other asked if she could bring her significant other. In our case they were oversights (having never met these people I didn’t know they were coupled) and they should have been invited from the beginning.

    • Laura C

      There was one wedding where they only gave a plus one if the guest was engaged where I made it in under the wire — literally the groom said to me when we saw him a few weeks before the wedding “once you were engaged I was able to go back to my MIL and get you added to the list” (his in-laws were paying). And another where the line the couple drew was you had to be living together, which we weren’t (we were long distance at that point) so they got around that rule for me by saying they had enough of an independent relationship with me that I would have been invited anyway.

      Our guest list was too pressured to be able to give everyone a plus one, but we did our best to do that for everyone who we knew to be in a relationship. Like, if we knew the person’s name, they were invited. And the two (that I remember) people who got serious in the six months between when we made our list and when they got their invitations, we were able to add their significant others on at that point.

      • Eh

        This is interesting. My sister invited my cousin and her common-law husband (by name) to her wedding. My cousin and her partner had been together for over 20 years and had a child together. Sometime between the invitations being sent out and my cousin RSVPing she had left her partner and had a new bf. My cousin told my sister that she was bringing her new bf. It was a bit awkward because no one knew the guy (I was helping my sister with the seating chart and had to ask who the guy was and my sister did not seem happy that he was coming). They did not last and my cousin is now back with her common-law husband.

        • Laura C

          Awkward!

      • Abe

        We’re doing the same. Unfortunately don’t have the space for plus-ones across the board, but if they are in a serious relationship, then we’d know who they are and invite both by name. I guess we are lucky that there wasn’t any grey area!

    • emmers

      Not quite the same, but I felt really badly that I didn’t give a dear friend a plus one, when I later learned that he’d been dating someone for about 6 months at that point. Our guest list didn’t have much wiggle room, but I wished I’d reached out to my few single friends to make sure I wasn’t missing anyone. But at the time I was so panicked about the guest list, that I almost didn’t want to know, as not to feel obligated to invite extra people. I still feel badly about it, but live and learn, I guess.

    • Abe

      This thread is very interesting! Before I was engaged to my longtime live-in partner, I was sometimes invited to weddings as a couple, and sometimes solo, and I never thought to be hurt like others have expressed.

      I believe it was usually conveyed to me that they recognized my partner, but either A) didn’t have space and/or B) hadn’t met him, and hoped I would come without him. I think it helps that I would be with other close girlfriends, so it was easy for me to go without a date. I guess sometimes it’s just a matter of knowing your friends and what they’ll need to be comfortable… it doesn’t always have to be blanket plus-ones.

      I would imagine in your case, they didn’t invite your boyfriend because they hadn’t met him… that always seemed to me like a pretty common and legit criteria for couples who want/need to keep their weddings small.

      • A.

        But what if they hadn’t met someone’s spouse? Would they still only invite the person they know? That’s generally seen as unacceptable since spouses are package deals, so why is it acceptable to make the same determination about a non-married significant other?

        • Vanessa

          Yes, yes (from someone in a long-term committed but not married relationship).

          At this point in my relationship, I would simply not go to any wedding I was invited to solo. It would feel very disrespectful, and I’m sure it would impact my relationship with the couple going forward.

          • A.

            Plus, have to bring this up, there’s the fact that so many people literally couldn’t get married until June of last year and it’s still a climb in many ways. Beyond it being crappy overall, diminishing partner relationships is also pretty heteronormative.

          • Abe

            GREAT point!!

            Although I imagine if you were having a small wedding with the “no one is coming to the wedding that we haven’t met” rule, you should stick to it… either don’t discriminate, or make an exemption for spouses AND long-term partnerships (see my comment above: if this person is so important to you, why haven’t you met their partner?) But I would be curious to hear from someone who has actually done this. I get the idea behind it, but could be problematic (AND heteronormative!) to execute.

          • Amy March

            You shouldn’t do it! Not discriminating, or making exemption for spouses, or whatever you want doesn’t make this okay. It just doesn’t.

          • Lisa

            There are a lot of reasons that an important person in someone’s life might not have met a partner, especially in a globalized society where people are increasingly far-flung from their hometowns. I didn’t meet one of my husband’s best friends from high school until this past Christmas (after we’d been together 5.5 years and she was invited to our wedding) because neither of them live where they grew up, they currently live several states away from each other, and my vacations to visit his parents hadn’t overlapped with her trips to see hers. This doesn’t diminish her importance to my husband just because I hadn’t had the chance to meet her, and it didn’t make her less important when it came time to construct the guest list for our wedding.

          • Abe

            Sure thing! I guess I should clarify that you should ask the question, but there are a variety of answers and situations. It doesn’t always mean that the answer is “I haven’t met this person’s partner, so they shouldn’t be invited.” Sometimes, the answer is, “Well, these people are very far away, so I haven’t met their partner, but I really want them both there!”

          • A.

            I think if you (universal) ask the question, you have to realize that that person you’re inviting will also have an answer and you need be ready for the answer to be “What the F?” with a declined RSVP and maybe even a damaged relationship. In my case, it’s probably been about 7 years since I would have been okay with my husband getting a wedding invitation that didn’t include me, even though we’ve only been married a year. We wouldn’t have made exceptions for close friends either, since we would have taken it as them not understanding or respecting our partnership.

            Obviously, that wasn’t your take or the take of your friends. Which is cool! Life is a rich tapestry of differences, etc. In your example above, your friends pretty clearly knew that your answer would be “of course! yay!” which worked out nicely for everyone involved. But all this to say that I think that’s pretty unique and that a lot of people (clearly!) would take issue with the same decision, so it should be done carefully on a more general level, if at all (I’d go with not at all, if it isn’t obvious ;))

          • Abe

            Absolutely! Very interesting to read such strong responses to something my friends did and was NBD to me as a guest. I must be an outlier!

            I suppose because I just tackled my own guest list, I’m so curious to hear how couples with even smaller weddings could pull this off without hurt feelings (and also in the mood to push back against “musts” and “always” :) ). The beautiful 50-person weddings that we see here on APW couldn’t all have invited every significant other, every family member… right? Would love to know how they navigated and where they drew the line!

          • Amy March

            Why not? That beautiful 50 person wedding could easily have been the 25 people most important to the couple, and those 25 people’s spouses. It could have been the 40 people most important to the couple, some of who come as pairs or are single, and 10 spouses/partners etc.

            For example, my fantasy small wedding could include my immediate family, my sister’s boyfriend, my three closest friends and their dates, and still leave room for Will, Kate, Charles, Camilla, and a few of Harry’s friends.

          • Abe

            Hahaha!! That DOES sound perfect! :)

            Though truly, I bet most limited guest list scenarios come with broken etiquette and/or hurt feelings (like, inviting close friends over extended family… or neglecting your duty to the royal court!). People clearly have very strong, very different feelings about who others “should” invite. If there’s a couple who had a small wedding and easily appeased everyone’s expectations… well, that’s awesome, I’m jealous (and curious)!

          • Ashley Schultz

            “(and also in the mood to push back against “musts” and “always” :) )” <— this! I have the same perspective now that I'm working on planning my own wedding. I have a large family. My mom has 12 siblings, most of them have multiple kids, who are older than me, and have kids of their own. Some of whom I'm close to, some of whom I haven't seen in years. If I were to follow the blanket "musts", our venue limit would be hit by just my family and their significant others!

            I've decided I will no longer ever judge the decisions of couples whose weddings I get invited to, all this stuff is tricky!

          • CoCo Anti-Conformity Young

            Unless you have a small circle of friends/loved ones, or have a rather considerate budget, it is very difficult to have a guest list without hurting people’s feelings. After explaining our position, if people still decided to have hurt feelings there’s not much I can do about it *shrug* if they decide not to be our friends over it, then oh well, but unless they’re trying to contribute to the budget that will allow us to upgrade to a larger venue, then there’s not much that can be done.

          • CoCo Anti-Conformity Young

            We’re doing this, and honestly it’s because we don’t have it in our budget/space capacity, and the affected friends will be surrounded by a group of close friends, so there won’t really be a bad time. In addition, we’ve talked with them about it and explained it to them that we just didn’t have the space, and they accepted. We have less than a handful of friends that this affects and they’re all in the same friend group so it wasn’t a huge issue. We did let them know that if enough RSVPs said no, then we would allow them to bring them. Plus, we wouldn’t be offended if they decided not to come. It’s more of a “know your crowd” kinda thing.

            I’ve also been on the receiving end, where I couldn’t bring my fiance (at the time a long term boyfriend) to a wedding. I was told that until they got the RSVPs back, only engaged and married people were invited. I wasn’t offended, I just knew that everybody doesn’t have the space, and it has to be fair to everybody. I didn’t think that my relationship wasn’t recognized, and I knew it wasn’t out of spite so I didn’t mind.

          • Natalie

            I have a friend who didn’t invite any significant others she wasn’t also friends with, including spouses, for people who lived in the same city as the wedding. Cost was a big issue for her and I was thrilled she could afford to invite friends at all. I was perfectly fine leaving my husband at home, because she was my friend, not his, and I had plenty of friends also attending the wedding. Situations vary and I think it’s harsh to be angry at friends for not inviting significant others no matter their reason.

          • Abe

            This is exactly the kind of situation I’m getting at, which is why going solo was totally OK for me. I was just happy that I could go and celebrate with my friends!

            (Maybe this is also a bit of a location/city thing? In NYC, people get that cost/size is a huge issue here, so there may be more “unconventional” small arrangements.)

          • A.

            See, this I’m actually more okay with (well, I personally wouldn’t be cool with it, but theoretically I respect the consistency). It’s more the determination by marital status as being more legitimate and therefore worthy of an invite (even if you don’t like them or have never met them or they’re too young to be serious, etc). I have a friend who lives around the world from me with a partner of 5 years who I’ve never met and I have family who got married on a whim in Vegas after knowing each other two months (and I’ve never met the partner). To me, both are valid relationships, but I’d take serious issue with someone saying that only the one with the marriage certificate is a default package deal.

          • Abe

            100% agree!!

          • tr

            The main upside of the “engaged or married only” approach is that it negates so many of the gray areas.
            I like the idea of including all serious partners, but short of a ring, it gets murky defining who is and isn’t a “serious partner”. Is the boyfriend of three months a serious partner? Is the boyfriend of six months a serious partner? And if I invite the boyfriend of six months, how is the friend with the three month boyfriend going to feel if her date doesn’t make the cut.
            Honestly, I’m really struggling with this right now. Budget wise, giving everyone a plus one would mean inviting far fewer of the people I love and care about, but I don’t know how to define the ambiguous “significant other” in a way that isn’t going to leave someone hurt.

          • Vanessa

            I guess I don’t understand what you mean by “it’s harsh to be angry”. My perspective is that if my partner or I were left off a wedding invitation simply because we’re not married, I would be hurt and angry. That would be my emotional response to the situation, and the idea that my feelings would be harsh or not harsh would not affect whether or not I experienced those feelings. Maybe I was over-broad when i said that I would “not go to any wedding” and should have said “any wedding where the reason I was invited solo was because I’m not married.”

            But I stand by my sentiment. I, personally, would not have an interest in attending a wedding or maintaining a friendship with someone who didn’t see my relationship as legitimate simply because I am not married.

          • Amy March

            I’m not okay with this at all. I think it’s incredibly rude to not invite people’s spouses, at a bare minimum, to your wedding. If cost is a big issue, change the rest of your plans or your guest list. Situations really don’t vary all that much.

          • Kara Davies

            And sometimes, husbands do not want to go to yet ANOTHER wedding. It’s fine to leave them at home and go kick up your heels with whomever happens to be at your table!

            My mom is a pianist and has played for many weddings. My dad didn’t want to go to every single one so my mom took me every now and then. It was of course discussed with the bridal couple if they were ok with me attending instead of my dad. I don’t recall any of them saying no. Dad got an afternoon at home, I got cake and visions of white frothy leg of mutton gowns and veils. Win win much? ;)

        • Abe

          Yeah, it’s tricky, right? We’re inviting any couple in a long term relationship… in the few instances we haven’t met them, there’s no question we know who they are. But with super-small weddings I imagine those choices get even trickier.

          I guess I would wonder — if they know that person but haven’t met their partner, why? Is that person really essential to your guest list? Are they coworkers that you don’t see outside of work? For me personally, I’d either add the partner, or delete them both.

          I do see some difference between, say, a young friend who just moved in with her boyfriend of several years (this was me. I could totally leave the bf at home!), and say, your aunt or someone who has a very long-term partner akin to a spouse. But that is very subjective, murky and potentially wrong-headed territory.

        • Aubry

          Our blanket rule in my social circle is dating for more than one year = invite. Regardless of your living together status. There has been no one get engaged in that short of a period, so that would add some complexity if this happened in your circle. Sometimes it excludes people that become important eventually, but greatly decreases the rando numbers. I had a smaller ceremony/reception and an all out after party where anyone was invited. Made some people happy, and others unhappy. You can’t please everyone but a blanket rule helps sooth feelings anyway.

          • Vilmos Kovacs

            The bottom line is that if you are making judgement calls about the seriousness of someone else’s relationship, you need to be prepared for that fact that you will likely hurt feelings. I always find this funny with weddings. So often the narrative is, “I knew it was him/her right away.” Well, so did Sue whose been dating Dan for 6 months, but you decided they weren’t serious enough. No wonder she’s upset with you!

    • Eenie

      The fiance won this argument. We gave blanket plus ones and communicated with any “and Guest” invitees to let them know what was intended by that (if you wanted to invite someone to make travelling more fun or started a new relationship we weren’t aware of). We also blanket invited any kids. Some chose not to bring them. I wanted to keep the wedding smaller, but in the end the blanket plus ones was worth it (so far at least).

    • Meg Keene

      Oh, I’m using “single” to mean, well, single. Partnered up is partnered up.

  • Jess

    Just on time! Ordered Save The Dates yesterday. I was rolling my eyes really hard about them, but my mom was in a panic that we needed to have them.

    So… APW justified my eye rolling, and also made me feel better about our bare-bones information. Thanks, ya’ll!

  • B

    Lots of my friends and family just included a link to their online RSVP system and it was NBD. You definitely don’t *need* physical RSVP cards!

    • Ashlah

      This is what we did. It worked great.

  • This reminds me of how my husband was insistent that we MUST have enclosure cards with our invitations, with info on the travel arrangements. All that information was clearly stated on our AppyCouple website & app, but he couldn’t fathom an invitation suite without it. Luckily we were able to add an additional card with minimal cost (thanks MagnetStreet!).

  • Amy March

    Love this:

    “If your dress code is “Everyone wear pink and black only,” don’t include it anywhere, because you don’t get to pick out your guests’ clothes.”

    Cat-with-heart-eyes emoji levels of love.

    • AP

      Sooooo…..I had a small, family-only beach destination wedding. We decided to use it as an opportunity to make a gift of family photos for everyone who came, so we did ask our family members to dress in similar neutrals (which isn’t out of the ordinary for professional beach portraits.) This was a “know your people” kind of thing, but the photos turned out amazing and everyone was really excited to get them as Christmas gifts. (And it was a great preventative measure against the Speedo my Grandpa and cousins kept threatening to wear.) Just as an example of when it might be ok to pick out your guests clothes!

      • Sarah E

        Haha, in my family, if a relative threatened to wear a Speedo, and I asked everyone to wear neutrals, that relative would just wear a nude-colored Speedo for the hugest backfire in the world. And I know my uncle really would do it, too.

        • Ashlah

          And you would have the most amazing wedding photos ever.

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          • Linda Goodnight

            ❝my .friend’s mate Is getting 98$. HOURLY. on the internet.”….two days ago new McLaren. F1 bought after earning 18,512$,,,this was my previous month’s paycheck ,and-a little over, 17k$ Last month ..3-5 h/r of work a days ..with extra open doors & weekly. paychecks.. it’s realy the easiest work I have ever Do.. I Joined This 7 months ago and now making over 87$, p/h.Learn. More right Here!b!151➤➤➤➤➤ http://GlobalSuperEmploymentVacanciesReportsMax/GetPaid/98$hourly…. .❦2:❦2:❦2:❦2:❦2:❦2:❦2:❦2:❦2:❦2:❦2:❦2:❦2:❦2:❦2:❦2:❦2:❦2:❦2:❦2:❦2:❦2:❦2:❦2:❦2:❦2:❦2:❦2:::::!b!151…

        • Dorothytthompson4

          ❝my .friend’s mate Is getting 98$. HOURLY. on the internet.❞….two days ago new McLaren. F1 bought after earning 18,512$,,,this was my previous month’s paycheck ,and-a little over, 17k$ Last month ..3-5 h/r of work a days ..with extra open doors & weekly. paychecks.. it’s realy the easiest work I have ever Do.. I Joined This 7 months ago and now making over 87$, p/h.Learn. More right Here!b859➤➤➤➤➤ http://GlobalSuperEmploymentVacanciesReportsHours/98$hourly…. .❦2:❦2:❦2:❦2:❦2:❦2:❦2:❦2:❦2:❦2:❦2:❦2:❦2:❦2:❦2:❦2:❦2:❦2:❦2:❦2:❦2:❦2:❦2:❦2:❦2:❦2:❦2:❦2:::::!b859…….

  • NotMarried!

    Didn’t i read this week that Liberty Ross and Jimmy Iovine asked everyone to wear red to their wedding?

    • Jess

      Just like with Solange Knowles, I’m pretty sure etiquette is way different when you’re famous. Which I am not.

      • Vanessa

        Also I would 100% be willing to be told what to wear if it meant going to Solange’s wedding

      • Amy March

        I don’t think etiquette is all that different. Famous people do rude stuff too!

        • Jess

          And they get away with it!! Maybe that’s the real distinction…

  • Sosuli

    We didn’t do save the dates, but got in touch with people we wanted to invite way in advance, and sent my overseas family and friends an e-mail infopack on hotels and flights 11 months in advance. I feel like that did the job. FH also called his relatives (who are not overseas) to invite them and tell them the date – which ended up with one hurt grandmother because Great Aunt Whatever had had a special phone call invitation and no one rang her… because we didn’t think she needed a separate phone call to know when the wedding we constantly talked about with her was going to be… Anyway!

    One regret of mine is a facebook message I sent over a year ago to an old university friend. I was at her wedding, we were friends for years, but have really lost touch. I sent her a really long message asking how she was doing, telling her we’d got engaged and when we were getting married, and generally trying to initiate some contact again. I got a 1 sentence response saying “We’ll be there!” and no answers to any questions or literally anything else, including a hello. I was sending the message to help us decide whether to invite her and her husband or not… I obviously should not have mentioned the date, she understandably took that as some form of invitation. But I have not heard from her since then. We’ve decided we don’t really have space for this friend and I don’t really want to invite her due to her total lack of contact despite my best efforts… but now I also feel bad because she might still think she’s invited. Ugh. Really don’t know what to do with this. Kind of leaning towards maybe she’s forgotten about it? Any thoughts?

    • Amy March

      Invite her. You’ve known for a year that she is assuming she is coming and let her go about her life with that in mind. Maybe she’s forgotten, maybe she won’t come, but maybe she’s really been looking forward to it, and is sad that you aren’t close right now but think of you as important and wants to make time for the most important stuff.

    • Kayjayoh

      What Amy March said. You don’t know if she will come or not. You don’t know if a lot of people will come or not. (For your space concerns.) Just invite her, it will be fine. Either she won’t come and it will be fine or she will come and you won’t really see her (as will be the case for many people who come) and it will be fine or she will come and you will reconnect in a lovely way and it will be fine.

  • Caroline Sjööh

    I’ve never received an invitation with a RSVP-card included, and didn’t include one when sending out invites to my and my husbands wedding. Guessing it’s a cultural thing, we just don’t do that in Sweden. The usual is to only print out a line that reads something like “RSVP to Name, number/e-mail, by date”.

    Also, I have a post-wedding etiquette question! How long is it OK to wait until you send out your thank you-cards? We kind of forgot about it, even though we ordered the cards, and now (7 months later) it feels to late and that we should keep from sending them. That feels wrong too, but come on, seven months? Wouldn’t it be weird sending them now? (Fyi, it was a small wedding, about 30 quests, only our closest family and friends, so of corse we said thanks when talking to them. We just left out the cards, so far…)

    • Eh

      Just send them! People will appreciate the cards.

    • Amy March

      Send them now! It’s never too late and it’s worse to not send them then send them on the later side. 30 guests you can get this done this week!

    • Lisa

      Standard etiquette says that you have 12 months from your wedding to send out the cards so you’re still within guidelines. Send the thank yous!

      • Amy March

        Not really! A year to send a gift but thank you’s should be sent promptly.

        • Lisa

          I stand corrected. Boy, someone should tell The Knot and all of the other wedding blogs that came up when I googled what I’d been told how wrong they are!

          • Eenie

            Half the reason for a thank you note is so the sender can stop worrying if it arrived or someone stole it off your porch! Three months make sense to accomplish that.

    • NotMarried!

      Send them! Its much better late than not at all and it’ll save folks wondering if they got lost in the mail.

  • Amanda

    We made our save the dates. I think it cost $300 for the paper, envelopes, liners, vintage stamps, and I bought a really high end printer on sale that I get to keep afterwords. And I included the wedding website, for anyone who wants to visit, but I know we a contingency of elderly guests who won’t understand it. Our wedding is pretty formal which should be clear from the venue/our personal styles. I just included a line that says, “Formal Attire” on the website. And we’re not doing kids, but I plan to have a line on the wedding website about contacting us if you need help finding a nanny for the evening.

    I know I don’t share most people’s POV about significant others. I still get a sickening knot in the pit of my stomach when I have to think about the fact that, due to guest constrictions, I can’t invite people I actually like because my dear friend’s shitty boyfriend I would never be in the same room as under any other circumstance has to come. I was seriously considering it just being core group & not inviting ANYONE’S partners, especially if we did a 30-person restaurant wedding like I’d initially wanted, but since the wedding got bigger for other reasons, here we are with all those plus ones. I know that I would not be offended if someone didn’t invite my partner for guest list reasons, especially if they didn’t know him. I feel like getting offended about that is making someone else’s wedding about yourself, not the couple you’re supposed to be honoring… I get that I’m in the minority on that one though. So here we are, with weasel face misogynist ding-dong seated at table 6.

    • A.

      Hm, interesting. I never thought about it from the perspective of it being selfish to insist on your partner being included at a wedding.

      I guess it comes down to expecting a certain amount of reciprocity from the wedding couple and my ultimate belief that a wedding really just frankly ISN’T only about the couple (probably where we’re differing?).

      Basically, if I’m going to go out of my way to go to their wedding and honor them, I would expect my relationship to be honored and respected as well. Honestly, I would expect that for any event with a formal headcount and in many ways as just a basis of friendship. They don’t have to LIKE them, but my choice in partner absolutely needs to be respected. Being told that my established partner and complete social unit isn’t welcome would feel like the opposite of that fundamental respect, regardless of the couple’s reasoning (and I wouldn’t feel like the couple had the right to make that determination on our behalf). I probably wouldn’t say this to the couple, but I would definitely decline the invitation.

      Sorry your friend is dating a shitty person, though. I’ve dealt with that more than once and it is NOT fun.

      • Amanda

        I get it, hence he’s invited. I could never ever do “your partner who i like can come, but your partner i don’t like can’t.” THAT would be off the charts rude, because it’s actually making judgements basically to a person’s face. but i can still see that seat in the back of my head as someone who is meaningful to us who i’d love to be there, but can’t do because of budget reasons. because couples.

        I was invited to a wedding for a high school friend, and I was oddly surprised that she’d invited my fiance (let alone me–we hadn’t talked in years). If she just wanted me there, and didn’t give me a plus, it wouldn’t have occurred to me to be offended. i was less surprised when i realized she was having a wedding with 300 people. I actually think it would have been better if there were no SOs because everyone spent their time talking to their SOs and not talking about “old times” because half the table would’ve been left out. so instead it was just a table full of couples only talking to each other… but that’s a horse of a different color.

        on the other hand, i think it’s totally fine in any formal and intimate scenario to say “absolutely no partners”–and then it isn’t a dig at any individual relationship, but it is about creating the kind of space you do want. I’ve had a few parties (birthday, usually) at my own house where my fiancee has made himself scarce so I could have the time with a group of old friends that i wanted. i don’t think that’s out of the question to do at a wedding either, but it just has to be a certain kind of wedding and those parameters need to be set up from the beginning.

        • Amy March

          It’s out of the question to do if you care about not hurting and insulting people. You don’t just get to determine that this should be fine and therefore it is.

        • A.

          Oh, man, I totally think SOs sometimes have to suck it up and listen to old times stories at events like that! I know when I go to my husband’s high school reunions, for instance, that what my stories and “what-I’ve-been-up-to” will have less draw by nature of the event and that part of the deal is reminiscing about things I wasn’t a part of. I think old friends meeting up at weddings is similar. Not that people should totally ignore an SO or something, but recalling memories together is an important part of the human experience and couples need to be able to navigate that, even if one part of the couple may feel briefly or not-so-briefly left out. There are worse things!

    • Sometimes I agree and wish that an invite for me didn’t have to include an invite for my husband now, because I feel like that makes budget conscious friends where I am on a maybe list less likely to invite me because I cost twice as much as a single friend. I would totally be ok with just being invited to something and not my husband (especially for friends who have met him like once. they don’t really care all that much about him. He doesn’t care all that much about them.) if they told me it was a cost thing. I also feel bad for my cousins who will get married later because the family size will like DOUBLE compared to what it was for me. But I guess it is just a wish and not something that can actually be done (and I mean, I guess I’m done with wedding invitations now so it isn’t a choice I have to make anymore). So I get that wish.

  • Kayjayoh

    We did magnet save the dates by ordering business-card sized magnets from Vistaprint. (On a Groupon, no less.) Partially because at least half the guest list lived a plane ride away, and partially because a lot of our friends have various save the date magnets on their fridges (including us) and it makes for a pleasant visual scrapbook while you are going to get a glass of orange juice.

    • Ditto! Except we used MagnetStreet and a coupon code. 90% of our guests had to travel for our wedding, so we wanted to do Save the Dates so people could start saving or making travel plans early. And I really love looking at our magnet our on fridge, especially since our anniversary is coming up.

    • Ashlah

      It’s super fun to see that people still have our Save the Dates on their fridge 18 months after the wedding. Highly recommended!

    • This sounds awesome! I’ve received one of these for a destination wedding, it was really cute and hung around our fridge for awhile.

      We took the exact opposite approach and figured that most people would quickly toss the Save the Date, so made ours a postcard that can be folded into an origami crane (complete with video instructions by the fiance and myself): http://byov.blogspot.com/2016/02/how-to-origami-crane-postcards.html

      You can pretty much do whatever with the Save the Dates. It’s fun :)

  • Rose

    If only the world would read guides like this. My early-twenty something cousin recently sent me a save-the-date (2 months out, so I’m still confused as to whether it’s actually a save-the-date, and will be followed by an invitation, or if it’s meant to be the invitation, and she’s confused about titles, particularly given that it directs you to the website on which there is an RSVP function), and notwithstanding the fact that I didn’t change my name when I got married, that Facebook (the only means of communication we’ve had for at least 5 years) gives no indication that I changed my name, and that she’s never met my husband, addressed the envelope to Mr. and Mrs. [Husband’s First Name and Husband’s Last Name]. It might be somewhat understandable for older generations to do this (though that didn’t stop me from addressing a Christmas card to my husband’s aunt and uncle with her maiden name (which she hasn’t used for 40 years), in response to a Christmas card to us also addressed Mr. and Mrs. [Husband’s First Name and Husband’s Last Name]), but millenials, really?!

    • Eh

      Oh good idea. Next time I get something addressed to Mr. and Mrs. [Husband’s First Name and Husband’s Last Name] I should return the favour by sending something to the wife’s maiden name. Over two years later we still get a good chunk of Christmas cards addressed incorrectly.

    • Fun fact: I’ve got a PhD, FH doesn’t, so when we get married, the proper titles will actually be ‘Dr. [HerFirst] [HerLast] and Mr. [HisFirst] [HisLast]’. This stuff is tricky, I’d give poor early-twenty something a break. But, like Eh says, maybe address something to her maiden name ;)

      • Amy March

        Ughhhh nooooooo. No using Dr. socially for PhD’s, at least not while claiming to be a stickler for the rule book :)

        • Yeah, this is true, if someone’s aiming to stick to strict etiquette rules (which nowadays seems quite rare?). So it’d only really be an issue in which the woman has an MD and the husband doesn’t. I’ve got friends who have that combo going on as well.

          But all this just sort of proves the point: none of it makes sense and it’s very poorly adhered to. So, of course the early-twenty-something has no idea what she’s doing. No one else does either, except, of course, those who are sticklers for the rule book ;)

      • Sara

        When a friend of mine earned her PhD, her husband printed a bunch of return address labels “Dr. & Mr. [HerFirst] [HerLast]” and said it was to counter the times she got referred to as “Mrs. [HisLast].”

        • Ahahahahahahha, yes! If we’re going to make up our own etiquette rules, why not balance it out?!

  • Lizzie

    Re. RSVP cards – I ended up with a holistic solution that I think works nicely. We have a wedding website with an RSVP form on there (thank youuuu, Squarespace). I did put the website url on our invitation (w/e, didn’t care enough to make a separate second card just for the website link). Then, on our RSVP card, the front is the traditional, like, “name(s) / yes / no / kindly reply by March 20th” – but then there’s a little “turn me around” arrow on the front of the card, and on the back, a place to include dietary restrictions plus:

    Please mail us this card -or-
    Email us at hello@myfirstandhisfirst.com -or-
    RSVP online at myfirstandhisfirst.com

    My hope, which is starting to bear out, is that this clearly indicates the many ways to RSVP, and that guests don’t need to do all of them (please do A -or- B -or- C). As soon as we sent an email telling people the website was up with hotel blocks and travel info, we started getting RSVPs online, so the cards might only even be necessary for a subset of guests.

    • Sarah E

      Agreed– we had a very casual invitation, and included and RSVP date, then listed each of our phone numbers and email addresses, and put our website URL at the very bottom. Most people emailed, a few filled out the online form (since we didn’t explicitly instruct it), nobody called. It was pretty easy since, obvi we were only inviting friends and family who we wanted to have our contact info anyway, and each of our email addresses is just our full names, so we didn’t have to label them further. Our grandmothers replied via a parent or an aunt with no issue.

      • Lizzie

        Exactly. So long as you tell one of us, doesn’t really matter how! Same as you, helps to have our invite list smallish and almost all close friends & family–hardly anyone on the list that I don’t already talk to regularly. And for those handful of people (my mom’s 4 friends, etc), eh, my mom can deal.

  • nycgirl6

    Ok, here’s a burning question: we’re directing people to RSVP on our website (made with Squarespace, but a Google form RSVP form).

    On the RSVP form we have one line that’s for listing who else in your party is attending. However, we want to word it to make it very clear that this is only for the people that were, you know, actually invited, and not just a free for all where you can add in anyone you want to bring.

    Any suggestions for how to word this kind of thing on an online RSVP page?

    • Oof this is tough. Any way that you can have it set so that a person can see how many RSVPs they get?

      We used AppyCouple and their RSVP form allows you set how many RSVPs each person gets, so we could personalize it for every person who logged into our website.

    • Abe

      Ah, I had EXACTLY this question this week!! As of now I deleted the line, which would force everyone to RSVP individually… but that doesn’t seem right either.

      Will now sit and await APW wisdom.

      • I struggled with this too, since our website is through Squarespace and we are also using their Google Forms integration. I toyed with putting something along the lines of “please enter your name(s) as listed on your invitation,” but ultimately decided against it, knowing some people might throw away the envelopes and not remember how their names were listed. Also, we are having an adult only reception and inviting plus ones for the few single guests, so it didn’t quite seem necessary. Attached is a picture of what our RSVP page looks like right now (though I might make some minor changes to the wording at the top). It is set up as a hidden page, so we plan to provide the direct page address on the invites.

        • Abe

          Ooh thanks for sending the image! We can’t do plus-ones for everyone, so I think this would imply that everyone gets a guest (which would put us way over), but in an ideal world your layout is perfect.

        • Keeks

          Are both your reception & ceremony for adults only? If so, you might want to include both in your last sentence up there. People start looking for any little loophole they can find! We had some guests who were like, “Kids just aren’t invited to the reception because of space, right? But the church is huge, so I’ll just bring my kid to the ceremony and then his grandparents will pick him up.” No. Just no.

          • Yes, both the ceremony and reception are adults only and are at the same location, in the same room. (It’s a converted warehouse space, so the ceremony and reception areas will be separated with pipe and drape). That’s a good thought about the added language, but do you think it’s necessary since it’s all in the same space? I suppose over-communication never hurts.

      • Eenie

        I wanted each guest to RSVP separately, AKA fill out one google form per person attending. A lot of our guest have food allergies/dietary restrictions and that is one of the questions I want answered so I can give them directions on what to eat/not to eat. Response thus far has been mixed, but I put an example in the google form for what should go with Name and then Other members of your party. My future brother in law asked if he needed to fill it out for all his kids (no, i just added them myself) and then lots of other couples haven’t figured it out.

        • TeaforTwo

          I went to one wedding where we had to RSVP individually, and I wouldn’t recommend it to people currently planning their weddings. Most couples have one person who does the social secretarying, and one person who doesn’t. I hated nagging my husband to RSVP for weeks and weeks, while he kept saying “but it’s your cousin’s wedding!” (She had sent out individual links to individuals’ email accounts.)

          I can’t imagine I am the only person who RSVPed weeks before my date to that wedding.

          • Eenie

            There wasn’t a secret form for us. It was just fill out the form with your name. If someone decided they wanted to RSVP via text, phone call, in person, or carrier pigeon – I just fill the form out for them. Definitely not saying this is THE way to go, but we did it and we got about 50% RSVP one week after sending.

          • Abe

            Good to hear — that’s what I was thinking! I liked the simplicity of 1 guest=1 RSVP on the Google form, but yeah, I was wondering if it might cause confusion among some of the guests.

          • Abe

            Yeah, ours is not a private form either, so someone would just submit twice (or more) for their partner’s name (or family’s names). Which is still a minor pain, though, I realize!

    • Natalie

      A friend of mine did something like this in her RSVP form:
      Name: ___
      Names of others attending (please include only those listed on the invitation):____
      Total number of guests attending: ___

      We also used a Google form, which I found to be wonderful for organizing RSVPs (send directly to a spreadsheet?! Yes, Please!). I made the mistake of not including a message about only rsvp-ing for those invited, thinking that of course everyone knows you only bring a guest if your invitation says you can bring a guest. It ended up confusing several of our friends, particularly those who hadn’t been to many weddings and had not been raised by someone as Miss Manners-y as my mother.

      • nycgirl6

        Thank you! I just changed our RSVP form to this format exactly. Thanks for the suggestion!

    • Vanessa

      Friends of mine did this on their paper rsvps, but maybe there’s a way to translate to online?

      Ms. Jane Doe & Mr. John Doe
      Number of seats reserved for your party: 2
      Number attending: ___

      I think it also helped them deal with the slightly tricky No Kids at the Reception situation.

    • Alison M

      I did something to the effect of

      Name:
      Will you be joining us? (yes/no)
      Are you RSVPing for any other invited guests?

      Worked fine for me.

      • nycgirl6

        Yeah, I like this – gently sends message that they can’t add anyone who wasn’t listed on the invite envelope.

        • Keeks

          I did the squarespace RSVP form and used almost exactly the same wording as above. My genius extra move was to include email address as a required field. That way I could follow up with anyone who wasn’t clear in their response AND I sent out a mass email reminder the day before the wedding!

          My one mistake was that I included only 2 spaces for names since we weren’t inviting children – apparently that hint (plus the envelope) wasn’t enough for people and they assumed they could bring their kids and yet not need to RSVP for them? I don’t know. So I had to put in a note that “the ceremony & reception are adult-only events”. But asking for the email ahead of time was helpful in contacting them & clarifying. :)

    • Meg Keene

      UM OH LORD GOOD LUCK. I mean, the suggestions are great. But also, good luck. Because to some extent people will just do what they like, which is fun. Getting back invites where people replied with random folks they decided they wanted to bring was a particular highlight of our wedding planning. Particularly because we ended up paying for those folks, and then they DIDN’T EVEN SHOW UP. Oh, humans.

      • emmers

        My fave was when my second cousin, who invited herself to help drive an elderly invited guest (I was fine with that part), RSVPed “maybe,” and added her college age son to the list as an additional maybe. So helpful. Thanks for submitting that by the deadline.

      • nycgirl6

        I just got the first one of those a couple days ago (even though we haven’t sent formal invites yet, just save the dates, because wedding is in May)– a friend email to say she and her BF booked thier flights, when we hadn’t invited her BF. Greeeeat. I freaked out a little but eventually realized I had to let him come since his flight is already booked. Don’t people know to CHECK before they book nonrefundable travel?? Glad to hear I’m not the only one dealing with that frustration…

      • the cupboard under the stairs

        THIS. When you’re dealing with more than 100 humans, at least a handful of them are going to be socially tone-deaf and do something you don’t want them to do.

        This is why we threw our hands up and issued blanket +1s.

    • We tried to do this (online RSVP form) and threw in the towel. Ended up custom designing RSVP cards because we were inviting different people to different events (pre-wedding). We had those cards printed and hand-wrote in the names on each before sending them out. That way it was super clear which family members were invited to which events and they could circle them or just check all. So far it’s successful (we have received about half back). Of course, our guest list was 107 people total (mailed 55 paper invitations) so it wasn’t an insane amount of work to write names when we were already handwriting the mailing addresses.

    • I know it’s probably too late for you to switch services, but…doesn’t Glo do this? http://www.glosite.com is an APW sponsor, and for $140/year, you get a custom RSVP form *per household*, so you can only RSVP for the people who were invited…for as many of the events they were invited to (rehearsal dinner, family portraits, wedding, etc.)

  • laddibugg

    I don’t understand how there is a difference between telling people what style of dress to wear, and suggesting colors or color palettes.

    As AP mentioned, I think the latter is a ‘know your folks’ type of thing. And probably works better if your color requests are for neutrals, like black or white versus off the wall colors.

    • TeaforTwo

      The difference is that telling people “black tie” or “casual” is a way to make your guests feel more comfortable: that way they can be confident their outfit will be appropriate. Telling people what colour scheme to wear isn’t for your guests, it’s for you.

      My dress code peeve is that I’ve been invited to several weddings that listed the dress code as “formal” where not even the wedding party was in formal dress! In all cases, the couple later told me “we meant no jeans” which…I would never. But if you say formal, I’m thinking evening gown, so don’t say formal unless you mean it.

      • Lisa

        Why misuse the word “formal” when there are perfectly good and understood terms like “cocktail attire” or “semiformal” available?

      • Abe

        I overheard my fiancé telling his groomsmen that the event was “black tie”… with absolutely zero idea what black tie actually meant! Had to correct before that dress code rumor got too far!!

        • A.

          A few of our groomspeople told others that our wedding was “black tie” because we asked the gentlemen of the group to wear…black ties. It was kind of cute in retrospect, but we faced some panicked calls from friends asking if they needed an evening gown. *face palm*

      • laddibugg

        Asking people to wear a certain level of of dress is still asking them to wear something that fits into your desires, not theirs.

        Maybe I’ve been to too many ‘white parties’ and such to really be that offended or taken aback by someone requesting their guests wear a certain color…as long as it was framed as a request and not an absolute requirement.

        • Violet

          I don’t know if style of dress is always about the hosts’ desires. Sometimes it’s just what’s practical- hot outdoor picnic reception, the people are going to want to be able to dress more comfortably. For a very fancy religious location for ceremony, most people want to show respect by dressing up, and would feel embarrassed if they arrived in casual attire to a formal venue. It’s about matching the clothing to the situation so that the *guests* feel comfortable.

          Directly asking for guests to wear colors makes me think the host wants the guests to do double-duty as decoration in addition to being a guest. That just strikes me as icky.

          So, style of dress is about guest comfort, whereas more specific with regard to color is about human props. That’s the distinction to me, anyway.

          • Eenie

            I’m encouraging our guests to wear sparkly outfits mostly to make the place sparkle without decorations (it’s not like it’s decorationless, we just aren’t adding to the restaurant decor at all. It is by no means a requirement (phrased as: sparkles are encouraged!). I’m not sure why it makes you feel icky? Can you elaborate?

          • Amy March

            Because I’m a person, not decor! It makes me feel icky that I’m being treated as a decoration, and it adds stress to something that is already not easy. When I go to a wedding I want to be wearing something appropriate for the time of day, level of formality, in my budget, that makes me feel beautiful. If I find a gorgeous matte jersey navy gown, I don’t want any pressure to be wearing sparkles instead. This request in particular feels super gendered- how many men are honestly wearing sparkles? If you want sparkles, buy them yourself!

            If I were invited, I would feel pressured to try and find something sparkly, because you just told me it is important to you, and presumably I like you. But I wouldn’t be happy about it.

          • TeaforTwo

            +1 to “already not easy.”

            I sometimes like the excuse to buy a new dress for someone’s wedding, but I most often want to wear a dress that I already own and currently fits well. Sometimes that means I have several wedding-appropriate outfits to choose from, at the moment (five months pregnant) it would mean exactly one.

            Weddings are not impositions, but between transportation, hotel and gifts, they’re not cheap either. I don’t want to have to buy a dress if I’m not in the wedding party.

          • Violet

            Cause if I’m invited, I like to at least imagine it’s for my sparkling personality, not for my sparkly dress. ; ) Sure, it can be for both, but in the spectrum of weddings, where celebration is on one end and show is on the other (and where most weddings are somewhere in between) stage-managing guest outfits feels more like I’m being asked to be part of a performance. I’m not saying it’s wrong, but I also don’t think it’s super out-of-left-field to feel this way.

          • Eenie

            Good to know. I think I’m comfortable knowing who we’re inviting and how we have it worded at the moment.

          • Violet

            And that is literally all that matters. : )

          • Ashlah

            I would actually probably find this kind of fun! Particularly if it’s phrased the way you state here. It’s just fun, not a requirement. I guess I could see being annoyed by “having to” find something new to wear if it’s not someone I’m very close to, but then I probably just wouldn’t do it.

            Amy March and others, would you feel the same about encouragement to wear a costume to a Halloween wedding? Just curious if it’s any different for you, or if you would dislike that as well.

          • Amy March

            Oh God I would HATE THAT SO MUCH MORE.

          • Ashlah

            Haha, fair enough! :)

          • Eenie

            Yeah, I tried to spread the word in December in case anyone really wanted to find a sparkly holiday dress they could grab one on sale. With no bridal party my parents and friends were struggling with what they should wear. We jokingly said our “theme” was sparkles, and then that morphed into actually being the truth. Mostly, I want my friends who would rock a sequin glitter dress or suspenders/jacket to show up without fear of “overshadowing” the couple.

          • Violet

            This example is hysterical, and no, not better, much worse, haha!!
            It seems like we’re pretty comfortable around here saying that guests are adults, and they can make their own choices about whether or not or how to attend a wedding. But the implicit underlying assumption is that if they choose not to do something, it’s because they didn’t want to, and THAT’S OKAY. I am an adult, I can look at an invite wording and feel ick, choose not to do it, and still attend and love the couple dressed in whatever I choose. It’s all fair. But it shouldn’t be a surprise to any adult, planning ANYTHING, that not 100% of their people are going to be thrilled about every choice. “Your wedding is not an imposition” only works if you work both sides of the angle. No one imposes on me, and no one gets mad when I exercise my right not to be imposed on. Win-win!

          • Ashlah

            So no big fans of costume parties here! Ha. The reason I chose that example, even though a full-blown costume is obviously more intense than sparkles, was that I wondered if the context (it’s generally assumed/accepted that costumes are a part of Halloween; sparkly outfits are not generally a given on any day) would make it more palatable. Apparently not :)

        • TeaforTwo

          But my point is that it isn’t really about what the host wants: it’s about making your guests comfortable by setting clear expectations across the board.

          If I wore an evening gown to what turned out to be a line dancing-themed wedding in a barn where everyone else was wearing jeans, I would feel ridiculous. Similarly, if I were the only person NOT in an evening gown, I would be embarassed. Stating the dress code prevents that. (It’s not a command; people will still wear what they wear, but it does help guests know what the norm is going to be.)

          The host may get to pick what the dress code is, but it’s not just about their whims. A colour scheme is about the photos, not about making other people feel comfortable.

          • J

            I’d also add that, a lot of times, the host doesn’t really get to pick the dress code – it’s often dictated (to some degree) by the venue, which might not be clear to a guest who hasn’t seen the venue. In that case, sharing that information feels like a kindness to the guest, not a command.

        • clairekfromtheuk

          I asked people not to wear black to my wedding because it was in the winter (in the UK) and I didn’t want *everyone* to be in black (and that’s how we worded it). It ended up that my BMs were in black so it actually worked out awesome. People were fine about it (though I did receive a panicked phone call from a cousin asking if she could wear black shoes!).

          Sorry Amy March ;)

          • laddibugg

            And that’s why I’m said you have to know your crowd! And it’s all in the wording.
            People are ok with asking folks to dress according to a theme but God forbid you request a color. Boggles my mind.

      • Carolyn S

        I think a lot of people just don’t know how formal “formal” actually is.

      • Jess

        I’ve always looked at the “dress code” to see what I should wear. Because if the grooms family shows up in evening gowns and tuxedos, I’ll feel real silly in my stellar jumpsuit, you know?

    • Amy March

      Because one indicates the level of formality of the event, providing helpful information to guests who wish to dress appropriately, and one indicates that you care more about pretty pictures than being a good host.

  • Sarah E

    If you’re not 100% on wanting Save-the-Dates, you might try our strategy if the timing works out for you. We were married in May, and the previous December sent all of our holiday cards to our wedding guest list (more or less) and included for all invited guest a “Can’t wait to see you May 16!” Two birds, one stone– or rather, two purposes, one normal stamp.

    • Lindsey d.

      We did this too! We sent our first joint holiday card in December before our March wedding. One side was holiday card and the other was our save the date!

    • We just sent out self-designed, self-printed Save the Date post cards. ‘Can do ~60 for less than $100, but it helps to have a little graphic design skill ;) : http://byov.blogspot.com/2016/02/how-to-origami-crane-postcards.html

  • ART

    A year and a half after our wedding, I am still a bit haunted by what I think might have been a couple etiquette mistakes in our invitation addressing – like the thing of “don’t list someone on the envelope who doesn’t live at that address” – which was the only way we were indicating who was invited, but we were super open with plus ones b/c it was kind of far away and we had some room to spare. But there’s one family member that I’m not sure realized that, and may have perceived that her significant other wasn’t invited, and I really wish we had clarified or even just called her beforehand and said “Name, we want to invite you both, how would you prefer that we address your invitation?” I would say when in doubt, just ask – as another commenter pointed out, you’re not surprise-inviting anyone, are you? Any element of surprise I might have wanted to maintain at the time now seems so unimportant when I consider that I might have hurt someone’s feelings.

    Also, I had at least one family member tell me that she was planning to send me a gift, and in fact was really detailed about what the gift would be. So when we were doing our thank-you notes, I had her on my radar but we hadn’t received it yet so I held off. And then a couple months after the wedding, she mentioned it again, again in detail. But we didn’t receive it. I wanted to send her a thank you note because she and her family helped out a bit with wedding setup, but I was afraid that sending it before getting this other gift could be seen as prompting, like where is it already?! Also, we’d had cards made that went with our invitations, and it didn’t occur to me that I could use *some other* stationery if we had to send a second note later on (duh? wedding brain…) So I held off, and after a while thought well, things happen, maybe they changed their mind or aren’t able to do that after all, it was nice of her to have the intention and that’s all that matters, gifts are optional so I didn’t have any expectations. But then I didn’t want to send her a “thanks for helping with our flowers” note like, a year after the wedding, because that REALLY seemed like it could be a “where is it” prompt! We actually did receive their gift 18 months down the road which was a really lovely surprise and I did finally send one of our thank you cards, but I wish I’d just sent one acknowledging the help right away (like RIGHT away), and then I would have been able to send a second one if and when she gave us the gift she’d been telling us about.

    Blerg!

  • Kirstin K

    Any suggestions for wording on an invitation for a second reception several months after our destination wedding?

    • Susan

      Here’s what we did:

      “On [DATE] in the heart of the redwood forest,
      [Groom] and [Bride] became husband and wife.
      Please join us to celebrate their union on
      [DATE and TIME of Reception]
      [LOCATION of Reception].”

      I was very focused on making sure everyone knew we had already gotten married so that no one was disappointed if they showed up and there was no wedding ceremony. Our wedding was mid-sized and in California where we live and this reception was for about 50+ extended family members back in the state that both of my parents are from.

  • Keri

    How can I convey a plus one/guest is welcome without writing “and guest” on the envelope? There are a few folks that I’m not sure if they are in relationships, or might be traveling and want a buddy, like you said. I think if I were single and got something addressed to me and “guest,” I might be put off – it sounds a little impersonal to me. I was thinking of including a little note or card in those handful of invitations with something to the effect of “Feel free to bring a guest if you want!” …Am I overthinking this?

    • emmers

      A personal note would be OK, but I feel like “and guest” is something that’s universally understood. Most folks will probably just be happy you gave them a guest! Thinking back to my wedding, for a few folks that I gave plus ones, I did sometimes reach out personally. I still used the “and guest” wording for the invitation, but if it made sense, I also reached out.

      For example, I had a college friend from a club we attended in college, and she was going to be the only person I invited from that club. I emailed her to let her know that she’d be the only person from that friend group attending, so she was welcome to bring a love interest or buddy, if she wanted. But if I didn’t email her, I’m sure she’d have gotten the message.

      • Keri

        Thanks, that makes sense! I think I was worried because one of my single friends was so adamant that did not need a guest to attend my wedding (because she’s her own person, damnit!) and it made me reconsider my wording. Plus the fear of people not looking at the envelope. For everyone we’d offer a +1, I really have no clue if they’re in a relationship! So I guess we’ll see. :)

    • A.

      My instinct is overthinking! If you know who they’d definitely like to bring, absolutely name by name. But “And Guest” is super understood as meaning that they’re more than welcome to bring a plus-one of any nature. If my wedding was any indication, your single guests will just be happy to have the option and won’t think twice about the wording (but definitely will if they’re in a committed relationship so just be sure to confirm that!)

    • Amy March

      Overthinking.

    • CMT

      I think you’re overthinking it. If I weren’t in a relationship, or I was but it was new enough that you didn’t know about it, I wouldn’t be put off, I’d be happy!

  • saminrva

    This might be the only place on the internet where someone has said it’s ok to send invitations earlier than 8 weeks out. THANK YOU! We sent ours around the 3 month mark and the world didn’t burn down (in fact it was right around the time when people started asking me questions about travel etc. so it was on their minds)

  • As someone who has attended many, many weddings solo I would like to gently suggest that seating single people together is not always in the best interests of your guests. I would much rather sit and catch up with people I know. At an out of town family wedding I want to sit with my cousins who I only see about once a year. I don’t want to sit at a table of strangers where I am forced to make small talk. I live far away from them, we probably don’t have that much in common and I really just want to talk to my great aunts and my teenage nieces. Same thing at a wedding for say college friends. It’s a reunion! Just because I’m not with someone doesn’t mean I don’t want to sit with my friends and their spouses.

  • I tossed some etiquette in the air, because I’m just sick of it. Mainly…I wrote whoever in the couple was the primary invitee first, and if the pair were equally invited I usually wrote the woman’s name first, unless I felt like writing the man’s first name letter in calligraphy instead (The Postman’s Knock, Amy Style Calligraphy capital letters only!). I used everyone’s proper first names and proper last names [when I knew them], but just switched up the ordering, even for the older generation. Because sometimes women should come first, and if I’m addressing all the Save the Date postcards, then I’ll see to it that they are.

    • NotMarried!

      I love and agree with you on this order. Of I’m close with the female partner in a hetro relationship, she comes first and her male partner of any title comes next. Likewise, if me and the male go way back, he’s coming first on the envelope.

  • MsDitz

    I would like to vote my approval for a “personal phone call” to parents whose children are not invited to a wedding. Since having my son two years ago we received two wedding invitations, and neither of them had my son’s name on them. For one wedding it was discovered that my son actually WAS invited, they just didn’t write his name for whatever reason. The one other wedding he was not invited, but the situation was confusing because the mother of the groom was certain our kid would be invited. She even said to us she was SURE it was a mistake and OF COURSE we could bring him…when she was wrong. It was after all of that confusing mess that my husband finally got an awkward email from the groom confirming that the invitation wording was correct and that our son was not invited. We understood their decision, but it probably would have been easier and less awkward to have that conversation before the invites go out.

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  • SoCal Kate

    We really do need more modern etiquette rules. For instance, if I get one more wedding invitation addressed to Mr. and Mrs. HisFirstName HisLastName, I think I shall scream (particularly as someone who hyphenated). But I can’t blame the poor folks who do this, because nearly all the etiquette websites still suggest that this is the proper way to do things. But still. This is 2016. There’s no reason why I should ever be addressed as Mrs. HisFirstName HisLastName.

  • katemim

    OK, question. What’s the etiquette on cheques mailed as presents from people who won’t be attending the wedding? Cheque is not post-dated, we’re four months out from the wedding. Do I cash it now or after the ceremony?

    • Amy March

      Cash it now and send a thank you note today or tomorrow. Don’t spend it until after the wedding and if, for whatever reason, the wedding doesn’t take place, you just return the money.

    • Amy March

      Now! And send a thank you immediately.

      • ART

        Agreed. I was always taught that it is impolite to let a check sit around unless specifically asked to do so, to just deposit it as soon as you get it (maybe after you’ve dropped the TY in the mail tho). For the check writer’s checkbook-balancing purposes and whatnot. This concept was foreign to my husband, though, so I guess that’s not a universal etiquette thing?

  • Love this! We’re currently navigating how to send out invites for four different functions: our small, private destination ceremony, the dinner that follows it (which adds about 10 guests), and then two larger parties – one in our home state, and one in our state of residence. Long and the short of it is: we want to celebrate with everyone, but we’re private and want to be married with only our closest friends present.

    • the cupboard under the stairs

      That sounds really awesome and is probably how I’d have chosen to do it in retrospect. Some of my family won’t be able to attend any of the festivities because they live 1,000 miles away, and that really bums me out. Tell us how it all turns out!

  • Too lazy to sign in

    In regards to addressing people …. what is the best way to ASK someone if they changed their name after they got married? In particular, my fiance’s boss’s wife, someone I don’t know well. What is a nice neutral way to ask without assuming for offending. I don’t think looking on facebook is the right way.

    • ART

      Hm, I think I would go with “I would like to make sure our wedding invitation is addressed to you and your wife correctly. Would you please confirm the correct spelling of her name(s)?” If I’m about to ask what feels like an awkward question, I feel better if I state my purpose first. And if appropriate for you & your fiance, in keeping with the social secretarying discussions going on elsewhere on this site, I would go with your fiance doing the asking, it’s his boss (& his wedding) :)

  • the cupboard under the stairs

    I’m five months out and can say that invitations have been the most difficult obstacle of planning thus far. We’re hosting a two-day affair: a 40-person backyard ceremony on one day and a 200-person reception the next. That means we not only had to decide who NOT to invite to our ceremony (that was a very difficult conversation) but also had to send out two sets of save-the-dates and invites. Plus, we both agreed that we didn’t want paper invitations, given that nobody remembers to RSVP by mail anymore (I’ve seen bride-friends stress out about this), nobody has each other’s street address anymore, and they’re not all that eco-friendly.

    Here’s what we did/will do. I hope it’s helpful to anyone who isn’t that traditional and/or can’t afford paper invites…I wish someone had been there to walk me through the process!

    -Created a fancy spreadsheet of all our invitees, with columns for realistic # of attendees (essentially a bet on which guests would bring a +1), which invitees were also invited to the ceremony, drink preference (we’re asking them in the RSVP form) and location (out of town vs. in town)
    -Created a simple Squarespace site with reception info, registry link, and an unlinked page with info about the ceremony
    -Decided on Paperless Post online-only invites, except for a small handful of grandparents and family members who specifically requested paper (about 20)
    -Decided on blanket +1s to be nice and avoid confusion/complication
    -Sent out save-the-dates 6.5 months ahead of time, because many of our attendees are extremely busy people and/or coming from another state. Gave ceremony invitees the option to RSVP early via the unlinked webpage we created, and about half of them did!
    -Will send out invitations 3.5 months out with link to RSVP form on website
    -For all those who don’t RSVP quickly, will send out reminders on 3 months out and 1.5 months out
    -Will send out a “hey, remember, this wedding thing is happening!” reminder 2 weeks out

  • Rebekah Abeja

    We didn’t have RSVP cards and got RSVPs just fine. We didn’t do it online either, just included a phone number and email address (my mom’s) to respond to. We ended up having to wrangle some RSVPs towards the end, but let’s be real, who doesn’t have to do that? People suck at RSVPing, it’s just a fact of life.

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  • Nicole

    I’m experiencing a bit of a dilemma… Both me and my fiancé’s families are HUGE. A majority of our guest list is in fact made up of family… We have several cousins between the ages of 25-40 who have boyfriends/girlfriends, but are not living with them. Since we are paying for the wedding ourselves, we really can’t afford to invite plus ones for these cousins. Not to mention, any additional declines we get, we’d like the extra spots to go to friends of ours who didn’t make the list. Can anyone help me!?!?

    • Amy March

      Don’t invite the cousins! If you’d rather have more friends that’s totally fine.

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  • see you again. learn so much from these articles.

  • Kerry

    We have a few interstate guests we want to send invites to but completely understand that its just not possible for some but we also wanted them to know we were thinking of them and if things were different we of course would have loved them to come….. how can I word this to our interstate guests?

    • Amy March

      By sending them the same invite as anyone else. That is the message you are sending.

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  • Momma

    Is it appropriate to hand out invitations in person or should they be mailed

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  • Well as for me it would not matter if my partner is not invited because we must also understand that maybe they really set limits to their invitees ’cause of higher expenses and for sure not only one is experiencing may be there are others too. Oh well be it true or not we must just always respect the bride and groom just as they respect the invitees through choosing you as one of the invited guest, for me its a pleasure. Now its up to you now whether you’ll get to attend the ceremony or not based on what you prefer. Nevertheless its better to think of trying on and wearing nice clothes to wear for the ceremony to enjoy, socialize and feel beautiful. If confused of what to wear then maybe read blogs like http://www.fabulousafter40.com/4-top-trends-in-holiday-party-dresses/. Think beautiful, feel beautiful, life is beautiful.

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  • belle

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  • Abby

    I have a huge family. So does my fiance, so how do we politely tell our extended family that we are getting married but that they are not actually invited? If we invited everyone there would be 500 people there. And half of them are young children. I want to keep our guest list down to 100.

  • ny2fl

    If friends are more important to you than your own family members, it says a lot about you. My Granddaughter sent an invitation to her wedding which didn’t include my husband, even though he’s been my husband (and her only living grandparent) since before she was born. The invite was addressed to “MISS”, making matters even worse. I am broken hearted by this. Making matters even further worse, she included a poem about not sending gifts……saying they just wanted to celebrate the day…..but it would be appreciated if guests would send money for their honeymoon!

    Sometimes (most times), this younger generation should go back and follow tradition. Especially the use of formal wedding invitations, not included as a freebie from the venue! Polite society and good manners never go out of style!

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