Your guide to wedding invitation etiquette; from who is invited to RSVPs

Wedding invitations have changed a lot over the years. With even more styles and designs, modern couples have seemingly unlimited options when it comes to inviting guests to celebrate their big day. One thing that certainly hasn’t changed however, is wedding invitation etiquette.

The aim of your wedding invitation is to provide your guests with the crucial information they need for the day; namely ‘who’, ‘where’ and ‘when’. Formal phrasing of invitations is still incredibly popular with modern couples, but if you’re a little more casual, it is perfectly acceptable to loosen up the language a little. Whether you’re getting married at an exclusive use wedding venue, or you’re hiring a marquee at home, you’ll most definitely need to send out wedding invitations. Here’s how we think you should do it…

Who is invited?

To save any embarrassment, you’re better off naming each guest you are inviting on your invitations, rather than simply putting ‘ & guest’ or ‘plus one’. This has many benefits, such as breaking the news to parents that you’ve opted for an ‘adult only’ affair or avoiding the awkward situation of explaining why a friend can’t replace their recent ex with someone you don’t know! If the style of invitation you’ve chosen doesn’t allow individual names to be added, it is best to include the actual names of the guests invited, on the outside of the envelope. If you want to go the extra mile and make sure your guests are thoroughly prepared for the day you can opt to include a little more information such as the wedding attire, a map of the church and/or venue location and local accommodation and transport services.

Top tip:

If you are inviting children to your wedding and are planning on having evening entertainment or a nanny/crèche for them, it would be advisable to let the parents know in advance. Some parents may choose not to bring their children, even if they are invited. It could be a weight taken off some of the parents shoulders if they know there will be someone to keep their children entertained at your wedding.

Dietary requirements

Generally a couple will choose two options for the wedding breakfast, a meat option and a vegetarian option. However, this of course does not cater for all dietary needs. Those with intolerances and allergies will need adjustments made to their dishes. It’s advisable to request dietary information from your guests to pass on to your caterer. If any of your guests have specific allergies or dietary requirements, the catering team at your venue should be made fully aware in advance so they can plan and make the necessary changes.


In order to keep your sanity (not to mention the sanity of your caterer or wedding venue), include an RSVP deadline and make this at least 3 weeks prior to your day. Of course, there may be a few last minute adjustments to the guest list in the days leading up to your wedding, but you’re going to need a reasonably accurate idea of numbers in advance in order to complete your table plan.

It could also be worth mentioning on your wedding invitations that if anything changes, and guests actually can’t make it after saying they’ll be there, to let you know as soon as possible. There’s bound to be changes in the planning process, and your ideas might not always go as planned, but leaving yourself enough time to find alternatives will alleviate some of the stress.

Top tip

If you’re getting married abroad, plan to send your wedding invitations out well in advance. Guests may need to book the time off work or save if they’re travelling far.

Finalising your wedding invitations

Don’t forget to add these important points of information to your wedding invitations:

  • Wedding date
  • Time of ceremony (if you are inviting a day guest)
  • Time of Evening Reception (for evening guests only)
  • Carriages (the time guests a required to depart from the venue)
  • Location of the church and/or wedding venue
  • Dietary requirements
  • When you need an RSVP by
  • Your contact details
  • Who the invitation is from (your parents may be inviting the guests)
  • Information about your wedding gift list
  • Accommodation details, or information about local accommodation if your venue doesn’t provide it, or is limited with rooms
  • Whether you are providing any transport for guests (from the church to the venue, for example)
  • Information about your personal wedding website, if you choose to create one