Planning makes perfect, a step-by-step guide to all you need to know – and then some…

The Invitations

There’s an enormous selection of fabulous wedding stationery out there – both from national companies and from local businesses who will design and hand craft whatever you require specifically for you.

It’s worth taking time to choose carefully, because Save the Date cards and invitations are the first clue your guests will get to the style of your wedding. Whether it’s to be romantic and traditional, chic and classical or off-the-wall and bang-up-to-the-minute, you can set the scene right at the start.

If you’re getting married at the height of the summer – or at other peak holiday times like Easter or over a Bank Holiday weekend –  it’s a good idea to send Save the Date cards out around six months before the wedding to give important uests the opportunity to plan their holiday and work arrangements so they can be with you on the day.

The invitations themselves should be sent out at least six weeks before the wedding (ten or twelve weeks before is not uncommon) so start thinking about them at least six months before the big day – and order them well in advance.
Then the rest of your wedding stationery can be ordered in the same style, including maps to help your guests find their way easily, order of service sheets (you’ll need one for each guest plus a few spares), menus for the reception, place cards and so on.

The exact wording of your invitations can be extremely complicated if your parents are divorced or you are hosting the wedding yourselves – see below for examples or ask your stationer who will be delighted to help.

As well as a map detailing how to get there, it’s useful to include with the invitation details of where guests can park and, for those who are coming long distances, a selection of recommended accommodation.

For guests of the groom’s family, the groom’s mother should send a list of names and addresses to the bride’s mother so she can issue the invitations and according to strict wedding etiquette, envelopes should be addressed only to the wife of a couple or family: Mrs Samuel Johnson.

The beauty of both Save the Date cards and formal invitations is that you can make it perfectly clear who is invited and who is not – you either invite ‘Mr and Mrs Samuel Johnson’ or ‘Mr and Mrs Samuel Johnson, Anthony and Ella’ or ‘Mr and Mrs Samuel Johnson and family’. Or you invite ‘Mr Michael Smith’ or ‘Mr Michael Smith and Miss Christine Jones’ or ‘Mr Michael Smith and guest’.

If you spell it out, it may save you the embarrassment of  telling friends who ring up to ask that no, you don’t want their children at your wedding. And it may also save your guest list rising exponentially every time a single friend calls to ask if they can bring a partner.

As a matter of courtesy, an invitation should be sent to the groom’s parents and to the minister and his wife if it’s a church wedding.

And when ordering your invitations, remember you’ll only need one for each family, plus a few spares for emergencies.

Stationery by Sophie Dyer Design

...and what they should say

The traditional invitation, with the bride’s parents as hosts, is worded as follows:

Mr and Mrs Simon Hayes request the pleasure of your company at the marriage of their daughter Jennifer Anne to Mr Michael Jones at St Benedict’s Church, Bristol on Saturday August 19th at 2pm, followed by a reception at the County Hotel, Bristol
RSVP 10 Marigold Gardens, Bristol.

In this form, the names of the guests are handwritten in the top left hand corner of the invitation.

Alternatively, a space is left in the invitation for the guests’ names:

Mr and Mrs Simon Hayes request the pleasure of the company of

at the marriage of their daughter Jennifer Anne to Mr Michael Jones at St Benedict’s Church, Bristol on Saturday August 19th at 2pm, followed by a reception at the County Hotel, Bristol RSVP 10 Marigold Gardens, Bristol.

Make it clear precisely who is being invited:

For a married couple: Mr and Mrs John Jeffries
For a family, Mr and Mrs John Jeffries, Jeremy and Jemima.

It is also quite acceptable nowadays to point out when children are expressly not being invited:
Unfortunately, due to numbers, children under 16 are not…

Where the bridal couple are the hosts, the invitations should be worded:

Miss Jennifer Anne Hayes and Mr Michael Jones request the pleasure of your company at their marriage at St Benedict’s Church, Bristol on Saturday August 19th at 2pm, followed by a reception at the County Hotel, Bristol
RSVP 10 Marigold Gardens, Bristol.

Divorced parents as hosts, if the bride’s mother has remarried:

Mr Simon Hayes and Mrs Margaret Simpson request the pleasure of your company at the marriage of their daughter Jennifer Anne to Mr Michael Jones at St Benedict’s Church, Bristol on Saturday August 19th at 2pm, followed by a reception at the County Hotel, Bristol.
RSVP 10 Marigold Gardens, Bristol.

Divorced parents as hosts, if the bride’s mother has not remarried:

Mr Simon Hayes and Mrs Margaret Hayes request the pleasure of your company at the marriage of their daughter Jennifer Anne to Mr Michael Jones at St Benedict’s Church, Bristol on Saturday August 19th at 2pm, followed by a reception at the County Hotel, Bristol.
RSVP 10 Marigold Gardens, Bristol.

Bride’s mother as host, if she is divorced:

Mrs Margaret Hayes requests the pleasure of your company at the marriage of their daughter Jennifer Anne to Mr Michael Jones at St Benedict’s Church, Bristol on Saturday August 19th at 2pm, followed by a reception at the County Hotel, Bristol.
RSVP 10 Marigold Gardens, Bristol.

Bride’s mother if she has remarried and is hosting the wedding with the bride’s stepfather:

Mr and Mrs George Simpson request the pleasure of your company at the marriage of her daughter Jennifer Anne to Mr Michael Jones at St Benedict’s Church, Bristol on Saturday August 19th at 2pm, followed by a reception at the County Hotel, Bristol.
RSVP 10 Marigold Gardens, Bristol.

Bride’s father as host:

Mr Simon Hayes requests the pleasure of your company at the marriage of his daughter Jennifer Anne to Mr Michael Jones at St Benedict’s Church, Bristol on Saturday August 19th at 2pm, followed by a reception at the County Hotel, Bristol.
RSVP 10 Marigold Gardens, Bristol.

Bride’s father remarried and hosting the wedding with the bride’s stepmother:

Mr and Mrs Simon Hayes request the pleasure of your company at the marriage of his daughter Jennifer Anne to Mr Michael Jones at St Benedict’s Church, Bristol on Saturday August 19th at 2pm, followed by a reception at the County Hotel, Bristol.
RSVP 10 Marigold Gardens, Bristol.

Invitations to civil weddings follow the same format, substituting the name of the register office or approved venue for the church in the examples above.

Where space at the wedding ceremony is limited, guests can be invited to the reception only. For these invitations, the wording is (dependent on the host):

Mr and Mrs Simon Hayes request the pleasure of your company at a reception at the County Hotel, Bristol on Saturday, August 19th at 3pm following the marriage of their daughter Jennifer Anne to Mr Michael Jones
RSVP 10 Marigold Gardens, Bristol.

The same wording can be used to invite guests to an evening party following the reception.

 

Stationery by Sophie Dyer Design

Wedding Planner

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Best Man / Bridesmaids

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The Invitations

Set your wedding style right from the start with your choice of invitations – and find our how to word them.

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Who Does What?

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The Ceremony

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Don't miss this invitation from one of our favourite wedding venues, The Bedford Hotel, Tavistock, Devon...Our Wedding Open Day - Saturday 16th June. We'd love to show you around, and treat you to a delicious home-made scone with jam and cream! Just pop in between 10am and 4pm. ...

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