If you want your wedding invitations to be presented in the traditional, formal manner according to wedding etiquette guidelines or you simply want to apply some of the ideas used in traditional wedding invitations and formal address, then this article will tell you how.

The most traditional of wedding invitations require a proper paper, print, packaging and mode of address.


A folded heavy card stock or quality paper in ecru (off white) or if you prefer pure white. The edging of the heavier card stock can be beveled with gold or silver foil.


Traditional wedding invitations are engraved in black ink. This is considered the purest form of printing, having been used for centuries. Ink is applied to an engraved metal plate and paper is pushed onto the etched plate leaving an inked raised imprint. The result is a clean, precise and perfect finish.

The guests names are handwritten on the printed wedding invitations. It doesn't have to be in a calligraphy style, however if a five year old would do a better job of it than you then enlist the services of a professional Calligrapher.


Like nail polish and paint, different printers tend to use their own names for variations of the same font for their wedding stationery. The most common fonts used in traditional wedding stationery is Antique Roman, Copper Plate or Monotype Corsiva.


The traditional formal wedding invitation is mailed within two envelopes, an inner envelope (this should have no glue) and an outer envelope. Both envelopes should be the same shade of white as the wedding invitation.

If you have two envelopes put the wedding invitation inside the unglued inner envelope then put it in the outer envelope that is addressed and sealed.

The invitation should be placed so that the guest doesn't have to turn it over when they receive it. If your wedding invitation is an unfolded card then it goes in with the words facing out visible when the guest opens the envelope. If your wedding invitation is folded then the fold goes into the envelope first.

For aesthetic reasons some inner envelopes have a fine paper lining.


Outer Envelopes

  • Use formal names with middle name written in full (no initials) if you know them. Abbreviate Mr., Mrs. and Ms. and write titles such as Doctor in full.
  • Address a married couple as Mr. and Mrs. Peter Jolie and non married couples with the name written on separate lines.
    Mr. Timothy Smith
    Ms. Kristine Johnston
  • Spell out all words such as street, Apartment, Street and State names.

Inner Envelopes

Address the wedding guests as on the outer envelopes but omit the first names. If the invitation is for a close friend or relative, using nicknames Auntie Rita or Grandpa is acceptable. If children are invited include their names on the inner envelope too

  • If you are asking a single friend then the inner envelope is where you write and Guest if you would like them to invite an unknown partner. Never put and Guest on the outer envelope.

Traditional Wedding Invitation Wording

The formalities of address can be complicated particularly when your parents, your in-laws, your step parents and you are all contributing to the wedding costs.

This issue about how to word your invitation is dealt with more thoroughly in another article covered within this topic, Wedding Invitation Wording.

The following lists a few rules when writing wedding invitations in the traditional manner:

  • Never abbreviate. All words are written out in full, Street, Doctor, New South Wales. Exceptions are Mr., Mrs., and Ms. Remember that Miss is not an abbreviation so no full stop (period) is required.
  • Never use full stops (periods), anywhere on the invitation, exceptions are after the abbreviated Mr. Mrs. and Ms.
  • Write out numbers for dates, years and street numbers in full. Exception is when one number will run over a two or more lines. Saturday, the forth of December two thousand and ten
  • Write out the time in full and never write using a digital time. For example write half past four o'clock or half past four, not four thirty.
  • Use commas only between the day and the date of the wedding and the city and the state. For example Saturday, the forth of December ... and ... Melbourne, Victoria.
  • For wedding ceremonies in a house of worship use, the honour of your presence anywhere else use, the pleasure of your company
  • Always put the brides name before the groom's name.
  • If the brides parents are hosting the wedding use Mr. with the grooms name and nothing before the brides, however if the grooms parents are hosting the wedding then use Miss with the brides name and nothing before the groom, regardless of who hosts, the brides name will still come first.
  • Modern etiquette for traditional address allows for professional and military titles to be used for both men and women.
  • Dress codes were omitted on traditional wedding invitations. The dress code was determined by the start time of the wedding. An invitation for after six meant white tie, an invitation for a wedding after four meant black tie and a daytime wedding was always morning suit.

Wedding Tip:

Choose to combine the principals of both tradtional and modern wedding invitations.

For example for a formal wedding invitation can adopt the traditional wording and mode of address with a modern design that uses a print and paper that says more about the bride and groom's personality than the occasion.

Simplethings Press

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