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Invitations, Programs and Thank You’s

Don’t Forget to Include the Wedding Party and Officiant!

Remember, even though special people are playing a role in your wedding you do need to send invitations to them. This includes your parents, grandparents and other immediate family.

William James Photography

William James Photography

Wording Invitations

Your wedding invitation needs to give your guests all the information they need to know: who’s getting married, location and time of ceremony, location and time of reception. Also be sure to include an RSVP card with a pre-stamped envelope. Mark the RSVP cards with initials or a corresponding list number to avoid the problem of receiving a nameless response. Optional inclusions to consider: website address for travel and host hotel information and directions to the location.

It’s common to list both parents on the invitation, regardless of who’s paying. However, families have become more complex. Simpler wording may be better: “Together with their families, Jane Smith and John Doe request the honor of your presence…” Or suggest listing one parent and his/her partner on the ceremony invite and the other parent and partner on the reception card.

Correct Spelling of Names

Etiquette books and websites cover proper addressing of both inner and outer envelopes. Before addressing your envelopes, make sure you double check on your master list for the CORRECT spelling of names.

Ordering Invitations

Ideally, you should order your invitations three to four months before the wedding to allow enough time for delivery. Some shops offer quick-print for an extra cost. Invitations should be sent six to eight weeks before the wedding. Be sure you are counting families or couples not individual guests for the number of invitations needed. Don’t forget to order a few extra for your scrapbook and anyone who gets added along the process.

Mailing Invitations

Invitations are usually mailed 6 to 8 weeks before the wedding. Keep in mind that some invitations require special postage and hand processing. Factor in these costs into your budget. Consider sending one to yourself in order to track the date guests will receive the invitation.

Programs – do you need one?

Programs are optional, but if you’re planning a ceremony that guests may have a hard time following (like a lengthy inter-cultural service), a program will make everyone feel welcome and involved. It’s also a nice keepsake.

Ideas for content:

•  Your names, wedding date, time and ceremony location

•  Participant names, including your parents, officiant, wedding party, readers, musicians and ushers.

•  Elements of the ceremony, such as prayers, readings and musical pieces. To encourage participation, list the words to prayers, refrains, and hymns

•  An explanation of cultural traditions

•  Thank you’s to your guests and to your families

•  A tribute to deceased

Powers Studios

Powers Studios


Who hands them out?

Groomsmen or anyone you’d like to honor. Programs can be handed out to each guest or to each couple (which will determine how many you order) as they are being seated, at the front door, placed in a stack on the guest book table, or on each seat.

Should you make them yourself or go through a printer?

If you are ordering your invitations from a company that also creates programs, they may be more cost-effective than you think. You would also be consistent with your theme and colors. If you choose to do them at home, keep in mind that embellishments, multiple colors and graphic lay-out and design may be difficult to pull off. Home printers may limit the size and thickness of the paper you use and you could end up wasting not only beautiful, expensive paper in the process, but hours of your valuable time. However, doing it at home certainly limits your costs. You can also get very creative with them – making paddle fans, scrolls, and ribbon tied booklets – and not have to worry about something happening to the programs before the wedding – belated delivery, wrong spellings or color or crushed items. If you already have too much on your plate, enlist the help of your maid of honor, bridesmaids or any other close friend or relative. This is also a nice way for them to participate in your special day and they can be responsible for making sure they not only get to the church, but carried over to the reception as well, making sure everyone
receives one.

Thank You Notes – Rules & Etiquette

Send thank you notes to acknowledge everything from place settings to gifts of time or talent. It’s important to remember that a separate, handwritten note must be sent for each wedding present or act of kindness. Start sending thank you’s as soon as gifts arrive, even if it is before your wedding (use your maiden name). Gifts that you receive on your big day should be followed up with a thank you note no later than one month after you return from your honeymoon (now you can use your new name if you’ve changed it). To ease the process, keep track of wedding gifts and thank-you cards on the same list of names and addresses used for your invitations. Personalize the thank-you cards by ordering them with your monogram or with a picture from your big day on the front.

Other Stationary

Consider printing or ordering place cards, escort cards, signage, maps, gift bags or favor tags as well.

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