Etiquette


We are BIG on etiquette at Papier d’Amour. We try to honour tradition while accommodating the more modern couple in these ever changing times. You will find some helpful information in our etiquette tips below. If you do decide to use our services (you won’t regret it) we will always give you advice on wording and any other questions you may have. Here are a few tips to get you started...

When should I send my invitations out?
Wedding invitations were traditionally sent out 8 weeks before the event, with the R.S.V.P. date set 2 to 4 weeks before the wedding day. These days invitations are generally sent out 6 weeks before with the R.S.V.P. date just 2 weeks. The longer you have to follow up on late replies, the better. If you are having a destination wedding or a lot of your guests will be travelling from overseas, then the invitations or Save the Date should be sent much earlier. The Save the Date can go out 6 to 9 months ahead of time.

Do I really need an R.S.V.P. and should I stamp it?
R.S.V.P. cards with an addressed envelope or in a postcard format are a sure way of receiving most replies. It will also help if you stamp them, giving your guests as little to do as possible for their ease of reply.

What is normally included on the R.S.V.P. card?
R.S.V.P. cards always include a space for guest names, followed by the traditional

Accept with pleasure
Decline with regret 

Sometimes additional information is asked such as

  • Special dietary requirements
  • Favourite tune (for the DJ)
  • Number of guests requiring bus transfers

If it is a destination wedding there may be more information necessary like transport to and from venues if required and R.S.V.P. to other functions before and after the wedding.

R.S.V.P. dates are traditionally set to fall on either a Monday or Friday. Just make sure you leave at least 2 weeks before your wedding day!

If we don’t have an R.S.V.P. card, how will people respond?
Traditionally, guests sent a very formal reply via post, however these days a website (if you are an IT guru) or just an email address will work. In these busy times, we find a lot of our brides are opting for either a printed R.S.V.P. card or the inclusion of an email address.

Is it normal to have a gift registry card or wishing well card?
It is traditional to have a gift registry card, but as a lot of our brides have been ‘living in sin’, they have all they need in regards to household items. In this case, a ‘wishing well’ card works well and usually includes a poem that mentions whether the bride and groom would prefer money, contribution to an artwork, holiday fund or another worthy cause. In some cultures it is tradition to hand cash directly to the groom at the wedding. Popping a cheque in a lovely card is also acceptable practice. 

How do we say ‘No kids please’?
This is a tricky one. A lot of our brides have friends and family with young children and need to stipulate that little ones are not invited, but there is the fear of upsetting them.

Your options are

  • Personalize the invitation and envelopes with individual names, not just ‘The Roberts Family’
  • If there is no space for guest names on the invitation, you can personalize the R.S.V.P. card
  • We can print on the invitation or R.S.V.P. ‘By request of the venue children under the age of 14 can not be accommodated’ or  ‘This is an adults only event’ or ‘For uninhibited revelry we request this is an adults only event’
  • If it is a destination wedding and you are needing an information card, then the addition of a ‘baby sitting service’ and a phone number will be a good indication without being too specific.

Do we need everyone’s details on the invitation or just the Bride’s parents?
Traditionally, it was the Bride’s parents that hosted the event (as they paid for everything) so the wording reflected that i.e.

Mr. and Mrs. Peter Rabbit
have great pleasure in inviting you
to celebrate the marriage of their daughter

Mary-Louise Rose
to
Mr. Paul Thomas Jones

Today we have a lot of clients who are hosting the event themselves i.e.

Mary-Louise Rabbit and Paul Jones
together with their families
would love you to join them in celebrating their upcoming marriage…

If all the parents would like to be mentioned on the invitations then it should be the bride’s parents first, followed by the groom's.

If the bride's parents are hosting but the groom's parents feel left out then this wording is appropriate

Mr. and Mrs. Peter Rabbit
have great pleasure in inviting you
to celebrate the marriage of their daughter

Mary-Louise Rose
to
Paul Thomas

Son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Jones

There are many other helpful invitation wording styles on our website  – Papier d'Amour Wording and Fonts

How do parents names appear on the invitation if divorced?
If the bride’s or groom’s parents are divorced or unmarried, the appropriate wording would be

Mr. Peter Rabbit and Mrs. Eva Rabbit

instead of

Mr. and Mrs. Peter Rabbit

How do the parents names appear on the invitation if deceased?
If there is a wish to acknowledge a deceased parent then the appropriate wording would be

Mr. and Mrs. Peter Rabbit
Request the pleasure of your
company at the marriage of...

Mary-Louise Rose
to
Paul Thomas

Son of Mrs. Judy Jones and the late Mr. Robert Jones

Is it normal to personalise the invitations with the guest’s names?
Yes and No! If you would like to personalise your invitations we leave a space for the guest names. We also offer a calligraphy service if you are not confident in your own handwriting. These days generic invitations are very popular, if there are any issues with personalising and the design does not accommodate personalisation, then the R.S.V.P. card can be personalised. This seems the easiest way to specify without leaving the invitation open to the whole family plus extras e.g. Rob and his newest girlfriend who you haven’t even met! If Rob is allowed to bring someone but is not dating at the moment, then ‘Rob and Guest’ is appropriate on the invitation. The envelope would be addressed to just Mr. Rob Brown. 

How should I address the envelopes?

James and Ellen Beerworth would be

Mr. and Mrs. James Beerworth

or 

Mr. and Mrs. Beerworth

or

J & E Beerworth

or

James and Ellen Beerworth

Dress Code – What does it mean?
Women tend to dress up whatever the code. We have always thought that the dress is usually directed at the male.

We find the most commonly used term are

Lounge suit which means a dark suit and tie for men and a knee length cocktail dress for ladies
Black tie is recommended for a more formal occasion, the traditional black tie is the bow tie with pleated shirt and black suit for men and floor length gowns for ladies
Cocktail is a more casual dark suit for men, possibly without a tie and the little black dress or party frock for ladies
Formal is a term we don’t use a lot on our invitations as it sounds like you are going to a school ball, but it suggests black tie for men and floor length gowns for ladies

What is included on an information card and when are they needed?
These are mostly used for destination weddings or weddings with a lot of guests from out of town. It works perfectly if you have several functions over a weekend. If it is a destination wedding and accommodation has been booked at several locations then it is a useful tool to have a map with pick up locations for arranged transport. The map can also indicate any other venues that may be relevant.

This card can also be used for the bridal registry and R.S.V.P. details if these cards are not already included. It also allows all the housekeeping (as we like to call it) such as babysitting services and taxi numbers to be on the one card – easy!


What stationery do I really need?

The traditional essentials

  • Invitation
  • R.S.V.P. card
  • Order of Service booklet
  • Thank you cards

Other stationery that you may need

  • Save the date cards
  • Map and Information card
  • Gift Registry card
  • Wishing Well card
  • Transport card
  • Menus
  • Table numbers
  • Seating plan
  • Place cards
  • Calligraphy service

Do I need a Save the Date?
This is a good idea if you are hosting a destination wedding or the majority of your guests are from overseas. The save the date cards can be sent out 6 to 9 months ahead. Your guests will then have sufficient time to make the suitable arrangements to be there on your special day.

How many invitations do I need?
We advise our clients to order two-thirds the number of invitations to number of guests. You need to consider large family groups and couples who will be on the same invitation. One interesting tip is that children under the age of 16 are traditionally included on an invitation with their parents but if they are older they should receive their own invitation.
One of the most important tips is to have at least 15 to 20 overs (extra invitations) as there will always be people that you need to invite but know they will be unable to make it, or that person you invite on a night out when you have had a few glasses of wine. It is also good to have overs as some invitations just never arrive and you also will want to keep a couple as keepsakes.

Should I send the bridal party invitations?
Yes, absolutely. Everyone that is invited to the wedding and attending the wedding as a guest, in whatever capacity, should receive an invitation. Even your mum and dad…