Whether you've gotten married in the past or are currently planning your nuptials, chances are you've had a run in with.... wedding etiquette. And not just any wedding etiquette. If you're southern gal like myself, then there are aaaaall these little nooks and crannies where that silly proper nonsense is supposed to go. You know the part I mean, the part your grandmother will be looking for.
Basically what g-ma is looking for is - you guessed it - tradition. And what does that look like exactly? Well, depending on your region, your culture, and your own personal taste, it will absolutely be different from bride to bride.
All wedding invitations follow the some similar guidelines though, right? Bride and groom names, the date, the location, the time, probably the host names, and don't forget that line about, oh yeah, inviting them to your wedding. These things are kinda a given, but today - for tradition's (aka Grandma's) sake - we'll go over some elements your more traditional guests might admire if you chose to include them.
Basic elements aside, Grandma is looking for something else. She's looking for traditional wording that goes something like:
"Mr. and Mrs. John Smith cordially invite you to celebrate the marriage of their daughter..."
Probably also "At five o'clock in the evening"
Don't get me wrong - I love a good, modern wedding invite. Something like "Laurel and Matt are gettin' hitched! Here's the deets! Free food and booze! HIGH FIVE!" I can just hear the pearl clutching, can't you?!
But if you're looking to add some proper charm to your invitations, go with grandma and stick with the wordy version. Who knows, someday, when you look back on your invite, you might appreciate the tradition over some flash-in-the-pan, trendy wording. Just sayin. (Or is that my mom talkin?!)
This might surprise you, but I'm a big cheerleader for some inner envelopes. A lot of brides think they are out of their budget, when most of the time, it only raises your stationery budget by about 3-5%. In my opinion, it's just not a huge increase. When you're talking about the difference between pretty litter and an actual keepsake, the inner envelope goes a long way.
It protects the actual invitation from the dreaded abusive postal service whose machines I swear to God eat mail for breakfast. The tradition also stems from back in the day when your house servant used to deliver the mail to the snobs upstairs. (Think Downton Abbey, y'all!) The invitation was delivered to your residence safely housed inside its double envelope home, removed from said outer envelope by said house servant, and safely handed off to whomever's name was lovingly adorned the front of the inner envelope. That way the envelope was free from the postman's manhandling and the invitation (and other enclosure cards) have somewhere to be stored that is neat and tidy. These are also supposed to be ungummed and not meant to be sealed.
Bottom line, yes, the inner envelope is an extra expense (albeit probably not as much as you think) and it's a bit archaic but in my opinion, this is one area of tradition that grandma knows what she's talking about. I mean, think about how many haggard invitations she's received over her lifetime. Just get the damn envelopes.
Whenever brides ask me, "Do people really send these back?" My answer is always the same, "As long as you make it as easy as possible for them, YES!" That means tradition is also right on this one too. Make sure you aren't sending incomplete suites! ACK! By that, I mean, do not send out your suites without properly addressing and adding postage to your rsvps envelopes. That is, if you wanna get those cards back! (And trust you need those cards back!)
Besides, Grandma is sure to snub her nose if she has to make a special trip down to the post office to retrieve her next book of stamps all because her non-traditional granddaughter decided not to add postage like tradition dictated in the first place. Don't even get me started if she has to make a phone call to find out the return address. Or worse. A text message.
Most people don't realize that there's actually supposed to be very little punctuation on a wedding invitation. Really the only place a period should exist is after a title like "Mr." or "Dr."
This isn't a newsletter. Even though the verbiage is written like sentences, adding periods and colons is often unnecessary. Though there is typically a comma between the day and month if you're writing out the date. Also the city, state. But the jury is still out on whether it's "Two thousand eighteen" or "Two thousand and eighteen". For me, I tend to drop the "and" but that's me. Maybe ask Grandma what she thinks. She's sure to have an opinion.
ABOUT THOSE KIDS
We all love the precious children in our lives. They are the future! But if on this night, their presence is not requested, make sure you handle that with grace. (Grandma honestly might not care about this one y'all lol)
I'm not a huge fan of lines like "Adult Reception" or especially a line that specifically says "NO KIDS YO!" Instead, I always recommend the inner envelope be your saving grace on this one. (There it is again, bein' all awesome and underappreciated!)
You can have your inner envelopes addressed to ONLY those invited to the wedding. Don't want kids? Don't put their names or the word "family" anywhere on there. Those parents will know! And if they don't come because their kids aren't welcome or they can't get a sitter, then that's just something you'll have to deal with. (It's not the end of the world!) Chances are no one will lose sleep over it in the end. Except maybe that one cousin with 500 rowdy kiddos who attends all events with kazoos, their new puppy, and enough snacks to feed an army. On second thought, invite that cousin and fire your caterer! Goldfish and veggie straws will be had by ALL!
Bottom line, proper wedding etiquette does exist. Do I recommend it to all brides for all weddings? No way! Some of my brides are the most proper little southern belles you could imagine. Her guests are on the lookout for the above mentioned traditional elements. That bride wants to make her g-ma proud, and I love that! For her, I always recommend the most traditional route. For others though, that might not be the case, and that's ok too. Brides are like snowflakes - no two are the same.
Every bride has to decide for themselves what level of "properness" they are going for. Maybe each detail needs to be decked out in the most flowery fashion or they wanna make up words like "properness". As the bride, you totally call the shots, and I am here to create what YOU have in mind. I love that more and more brides are bucking trends and going outside the norm for wedding invitations, but there will always be a place for Grandma's version of what your wedding suite should look like. Luckily, there's room for both.