Wedding Invitation Etiquette – 5 common mistakes

I look at invitations daily.  In books, on websites, on social media.  Clients bring in invitations they received in the mail or found online.  Unfortunately so many invitations that we use for examples are full of errors, and not just spelling errors but inconsistencies, improper punctuation and designations, bad wedding invitation etiquette and other cringeworthy faux pas. Peggy Post won’t be reading your invitation, but probably another 150 people will and some one will pick up on even the most subtle no-no.  Here are a few that come up the most. 

1) Doctor Brides and Grooms or Parent

“Doctors” get married all the time, as in Medical doctors, Ph.D’s, J.D.’s, and doctoral students or candidates.  More often than not couples assume that all doctors are to be designated a “Doctor” on the invitation.  In the world of wedding invitation etiquette, they are not.   With a few other exceptions (judges, military, clergy, etc.) if you are not a medical doctor you are a Mr, Mrs., Ms., etc. Crane says “Ph.D. is an academic title that is used only in academic settings. The use of “Doctor” on wedding invitations is reserved for medical doctors and ministers with advanced degrees.” 

2) Dress code on the invitation instead of reception card

If you think it appropriate to indicate a dress code, the designation is printed smaller on the lower right hand side of the reception card. It is not included on the invitation.  If the you do not have a reception card because your ceremony and reception are taking place at the location of the reception, invitation etiquette would suggest you simply create a separate reception card. 

3) Registry information on the invitation or insert card

Don’t.  Just Don’t.  

4) Adult reception only”

I personally would never bring my kids to a wedding even if the WERE invited!  They’re cute and all… I might be in the minority because clients tell me daily they have friends and relatives who assume their children are invited to weddings.  One popular way to let these guests know from the outset that children are not invited is to list the reception as an “Adult Reception.”  This seems harmless enough but its actually poor invitation etiquette.  More subtle ways to get the message across is to have relatives spread the word in advance, make a note on your wedding website, and to address the envelopes properly by naming only the adults invited.  As a last resort, although uncomfortable, make a phone call if a guest rsvp’s with a child’s name. 

5) The year

The year is written properly as follows: “two thousand eighteen” There is no “and,” and the year is not capitalized.