Rules of Etiquette

Issued By
Invitations are issued by the parents of the bride; or by the surviving parent; or, if the bride is an orphan, by the nearest of kin. The accepted order of kinship: 1) elder brother, 2) elder sister, 3) both grandparents, 4) uncle and aunt, 5) guardian, 6) bride and groom issue invitations themselves, and 7) groom’s family.

Invitations and announcements are folded with the printed surface on the outside except for “contemporary” invitations which are folded with the printed surface on the inside. “Contemporary” invitations usually have a design or caption on the outside.

Two envelopes are used with wedding invitations and announcements. The invitation or announcement and accompanying cards (reception and response cards, etc.) are first enclosed in an inner envelope which has no glue on the flap. Guests’ names are written on the front of the inner envelope (titles and last names only - no address). Example “Mr. and Mrs. Smith”. The invitation or announcement is inserted into the inner envelope folded edge first. The inner envelope is then placed within the outer envelope with its flap facing the front of the outer envelope. The outer envelope is addressed for mailing. Envelopes should always be written out by hand in black ink.

The invitations must be sent by priority post, 12 weeks before the ceremony date for the out-of-towners and 8 weeks for invitations sent to in-town guests. The reply should be requested 1 month before the event's date.

As a general rule abbreviations are avoided. The exceptions are long established contractions such as “Mr.”, “Mrs.” or “Jr.” House numbers are written in figures, while numbered streets are usually written out.

Addresses of churches, clubs or public buildings are usually omitted because such addresses are considered superfluous. However, a street address may be shown below the name of the church or club if such an address is considered necessary for better direction.

Correct Social Titles for Men
The correct social title for a man, either the bridegroom, the one issuing the invitations, or an invited guest, is “Mr.” with the exception of: 1) reverend, 2) doctor, 3) judge, 4) justice.

Correct Social Titles for Women
If the bride is a doctor of medicine or dentistry, she does not use her title when the invitation is being issued by her parents. If, however, the invitation is being issued by the bride and groom or a guardian, the bride’s name is given as, “Doctor Susan Howard”.

If the bride has a doctorate degree and uses her title professionally, she has the option of calling herself, “Ms.”, “Miss” or “Doctor” if she is issuing her own invitations.

When addressing an invitation to a married woman with a title, it is tradition to use her married name. If, however, she prefers her professional title or has retained her maiden name, you would put the wife’s name above the husband’s on the outer envelope. The inner envelope would carry the couple’s married name, “Mr. and Mrs. Andrews”.

If the bride will be retaining her maided name after the marriage, an at-home card announcing this would be included with the invitation or announcement. The wording might be: “Susan Howard, Charles Bradford, at home...” This situation is never handled in the invitation wording itself.

 Special Situations