Wedding Invitation Q&As

Composing wedding invitations involves complex-and beautiful-etiquette guidelines. We RSVP to your urgent questions.
By: 
Diane Forden, Editor-in-Chief

Engagement Announcement in Newspaper

Q: What is the time frame for submitting our engagement photo and announcement to our local newspaper? —Toledo, Ohio

A: Most announcements usually run two to three months prior to the wedding, but they can be published up to a year in advance. If applicable, you might also want your engagement news to run in your and your fiancé’s hometown papers, as well as your local one. And don’t forget to include your announcement in any alumni and professional publications.

Since the requirements for engagement announcements vary by publication, you’ll need to check with your paper to find out exactly what you need to do. (The lifestyle editor is often the person to contact.) There might be a particular form that you simply fill in and submit. Other papers give you more leeway to create your own announcement, and still others give you the option of using their form or writing it yourself. And be sure to check about any photo requirements. For example, does the picture have to be a certain size? Are black-and-white or color both acceptable? Can you send it digitally? Finally, inquire about any costs. Many newspapers run announcements gratis, but others charge a fee.

 

How to Notify Guests if Wedding is Postponed

Q: My grandmother has become very ill, and my fiancé and I have decided to postpone the wedding. Our invitations have already been mailed and the wedding date is several weeks away. What’s the best way to notify our guests? —Madison, Wisconsin

A: From time to time, weddings must be postponed due to illness, cold feet, a family situation or another reason. You have time to send a printed card to everyone, and if you don’t know the new date, use this wording: Mr. and Mrs. Jeffrey Adams announce that the marriage of their daughter Jennifer Adams to Michael Connolly has been postponed If your wedding had been just a few days away, phone calls and e-mails are the best way to notify guests; you may decide to alert some in this way as well.

 

How to Notify Guests that Will Be Childcare Provided During Reception

Q: We would like to provide childcare for our guests’ small children during the reception. How can we let them know? —Marshall, Missouri

A: Kudos to you for making such arrangements; it’s a great idea to provide a nursery for small children at a wedding. Younger tots can easily become restless and disruptive during the reception—but parents often have a hard time finding childcare for them. With a nursery, the kids get attention and activities, and the parents get to let loose and have fun.

Give guests the word by enclosing a separate card in their invitations notifying them that a nursery and babysitting services will be provided. I’m sure they’ll be thrilled and will probably bring along some extra toys to help keep their children occupied. Also, if any of the parents have concerns about the type of care their children will receive, they’ll have ample time to contact you about the specifics.

 

Wedding Announcements

Q: My fiancé and I are getting married in Las Vegas and cannot invite too many people. I'd like to send out announcements instead. What's the procedure? —Troy, New York

A: Wedding announcement should be mailed as soon as possible after the wedding ceremony takes place, so you'll probably want to have them addresses and ready to go before you leave for Las Vegas (assuming you'll be honeymooning afterward).

You can have your announcements printed wherever you get your invitations, and formal white or off-white paper is generally preferred. The announcement may be issued by your parents or the two of you, and should include the date, city and state in which the marriage has taken place. The ceremony site is optional. They typically read:

Mr. and Mrs. John H. Brady
have the honor of announcing the marriage
of their daughter
Martha Lynn
to
Michael Thomas Mayer
on Friday, the seventh of October, two thousand
Las Vegas, Nevada

Announcements are usually sent to friends, business acquaintances and relatives unable to come to the wedding - there's no need to send them to guests who did attend. And although no one who receives an announcement is obligated to send you a gift, many people do so.

Q: I’m marrying for the second time and having a very small ceremony in Italy. How should I word our wedding announcements, and when should they be mailed? —Des Moines, Iowa

A: It’s best to send out announcements the day after you exchange vows, but it’s acceptable to do so up to several months afterward. You should send them to friends and relatives who were not invited to the wedding, or to any business associates and acquaintances with whom you’d like to share the news of your marriage. If you prefer getting the announcements out immediately, then be sure to have them printed in advance and ask your mom, a sibling or maid of honor to drop them in the mail while you’re on your honeymoon. Here’s a suggestion for the wording:

Marianne Teresa Miller
and
Jonathan Sinclair
announce with pleasure
their marriage
Saturday, the fourth of October
Two thousand and eight
Positano, Italy

 

How to Share Your Wedding Website

Q: What’s the correct way to include the link for our wedding website on our invitations? —Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

A: At the bottom of your invitation, add a line that reads “For more wedding details, please visit our website, www.(your address). Although many wedding sites have maps and directions to venues, keep in mind that not all your guests may own a computer—so be sure to include maps or directions with your invitations.

 

Save-the-Dates

Q: Is it appropriate to ask guests to convey their responses via reply card or a phone call after receiving our save-the-date cards? —Falls Church, Virginia

A: No, save-the-date notices are sent to alert guests as to the time and place of a wedding so they have ample opportunity to make the appropriate arrangements. Reply cards are enclosed with the wedding invitation only. However, if you and your fiancé want to get a rough estimate now, I recommend you follow up through e-mail or phone calls. Keep in mind that it may be too early for some people to confirm, so be sure to get your invitations out 4 months before the big day (especially if it’s a destination wedding) and ask to have responses by 10 weeks before the wedding. That should give you plenty of time to finalize all of the details with your pros.
 

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