How many invitations do I need to send?

The number of invitations will always be less than the total number of wedding guests. Firstly, there's family: aunts, uncles, cousins, etc, will receive one invitation per household. Then there are your guests who are couples, where one invitation covers them both. Look at your guest list and calculate the number based on those considerations. 

Most couples will order 'spares' - usually an extra 10%. to cover contingencies such as replacements if some guests initially invited can't make it and 'decline with regret' or if invitations are damaged or lost in transit or even if a caligrapher - or you - makes some spelling mistakes with guests' names.

Do I send a wedding invitation to my bridesmaids, groomsmen and parents?

Although they may be obvious attendees, always send wedding invitations to your parents, your siblings and your bridal party, it would be impolite not too. For many religions it is also polite to invite the religious officiant and their partner.

When do we send the wedding invitations? 

Wedding invitations are sent 6 to 8 weeks before the wedding. If you are holding a destination wedding, or you have guests that need to travel far to attend, send out a Save the Date card up to a year in advance to facilitate travel arrangements.

My Fiancé's father has passed away but I was still thinking of putting his parents names on the invites. How do I correctly word this?

Here are two ways that are shown below:

Jane & John Smith
request the pleasure of the company of
at the marriage of their daughter
Susie Anna Mitchell
John William Jones
son of Lesley Wilson & the late George Jones
at Lucinda Park
Iluka Road, Palm Beach
Saturday 3rd May, 2003 at 3.30pm
and afterwards at
The Pacific Club
Ocean Road, Palm Beach.

Lounge Suit

17th April,
3 Jersey Road, Woollahra. 2025.


Jane & John Smith
together with
Lesley Wilson & the late George Jones
request the pleasure of the company of
at the marriage of their daughter
Susie Anna Mitchell
John William Jones
at Lucinda Park
Iluka Road, Palm Beach
Saturday 3rd May, 2003 at 3.30pm
and afterwards at
The Pacific Club
Ocean Road, Palm Beach.

Lounge Suit

17th April, 2003
3 Jersey Road, Woollahra. 2025.

What are Save the Date cards and what wording do you use?

Save the date cards is a card that is sent out before the actual wedding invitation to ask guests to put aside this date in their diary. They usually come in the form of a small card with a calendar of the specific month and the particular day circled in red or highlighted in some way. The text is usually very simple

Mark your calendar OR Save the date
Fleur & ?
are getting married
Saturday 14th February 2004
Invitation to follow

Invitations are usually sent out 6 weeks before the wedding but save the date cards can be sent out months, even a year before for destination weddings. It is nice to keep the save the date card in the same theme as your wedding invitation as it will give your guests' their first impression of the wedding.

We don't want children at our reception, so how can we word this into our invitation?

Couples find the best way to make this suggestion is the following:

By request of management children under the age of 14 will not be permitted.


To allow guests - including parents - a day of relaxation and uninhibited revelry, we respectfully ask that no children attend the church service or reception

I would like to know how to word invitations asking our guests to pay for their meal rather than purchase a wedding gift. We don't want to appear offensive!

One way is to have a note running across the the bottom of the invitation below the RSVP details, as follows:-

1st November 2004
2a Clyde Street Bondi NSW 2026

*We respectfully request that in lieu of a wedding gift, guests include $50 per head with their RSVP to assist with the cost of the celebrations.

How do we request that we do not require any wedding gifts, just the presence of the guest.

The best way to express this is:

'Your presence is our present'
Alternatively a more blunt approach is:
'We request that you do not bring any gifts as we have all our worldly needs'

Do you have any suggestions as to what I could put on the wedding favours thank you message - something short and sweet?

The message you choose usually is something that is personal to you. Some message are as follows:

A special thanks to you for taking part in our wedding day - the start of our new life together - Fiona & Brian

Thank you for your company, gifts and good wishes - Fiona & Brian

Your love, friendship and support has made our wedding day truly memorable - Fiona & Brian

Find more ideas on thanking your guests

How far from the wedding do you request receipt of RSVP's?

The usual time frame for a RSVP is anywhere from 2-4 weeks. It really depends on what suits you. Some couples have an A list and B list so will make the RSVP date in a time frame that allows them to invite the B list of guests. One month is a good time as it allows you to advise suppliers of numbers such as the caterers, venue and bomboniere suppliers.

How is the most polite way to ask guests to pay for their own alcohol at our reception?

This type of information can be printed on the bottom of the invite or on a separate slip of paper of card placed in with the invitation.

If the reception venue will be selling the drinks over the bar, then the wording should be along the lines of:

Light refreshments will be provided and a bar will be available for those who wish to purchase alcoholic beverages

If you want the guests to bring their own, modify the above slightly to:

Light snacks, soft drinks, tea and coffe will be served. Those seeking alcoholic refreshments should be aware that this is a BYO function.

I need some help with the wording of my wedding invitations. Our wedding will be held in Sydney, with the ceremony and reception in the same location. A week later we are flying to my country for another reception, which will be more like a big party. I don't want to call it a "blessing" or a "commitment service". I'd like to invite everyone to both places, but am unsure how to put this in words.

Couples sometimes approach this situation in a number of ways. One option is to include two separate invitations in the one envelope so the guest knows they are invited to both celebrations. The other option would be something like this (Obviously you will have to insert the appropriate details)

The Doyle and Luscombe families (or parents names)
request the pleasure of the company of (alternative - are delighted to
to the marriage of
Kim Elizabeth
Ian John
Yester Grange
Yester Road, Wentworth falls
on Saturday 27th March 2004 at 6.00pm
with a celebration to follow

We would also love you to join us to continue the celebration in England (with appropriate details)

Dress Formal

5th March 2004
1 Clyde Street Bondi NSW 2026

If the dress details are different for the different events you will have to put these details under both invitation sections.

We have a gift registry at two places - an online store and a honeymoon registry. Is it acceptable to put the two registry cards in with the invitations?

The jury will always be out as to whether it's appropriate to include registry cards with you invitation, some guests will expect to find one advertising where to find a gift while others will be offended. It's safe to say in Australia it's fairly commonplace to include a card but keep it to just the one card and avoid using the registry cards supplied by the store.

Most of our guests will be coming from New Zealand and Sydney for a wedding in Adelaide. Is it rude to put a gift registry card or a wishing well poem with our invitations?

It isn't rude at all to include a gift registry card or wishing well poem. With most gift registries you can go online and order/purchase the gifts through the website which is very convenient for people travelling interstate. More often than not guests prefer that you let them know what you want so they don't have to deliberate over choosing a gift when they may not necessarily know your taste. In saying all this some couples do consider that the guests have to incur the cost of travelling and accommodation so say something to the effect on the bottom of the invitation: 'Your presence is our present'.

I would like to give almonds wrapped in tulle for our favours. However, I would like to have an little insert explaining the significance of what each almond represents and the history of providing almonds. Can you help?

I think putting an insert in is a great idea as time goes by many of these traditions are forgotten. Below is what one couple included with the almonds they gave to guests. It is quite long but you can shorten it as you require.

"Koufeta" (the Greek word for wedding favours) are given to wedding guests. They are an ancient Greek cultural tradition. Koufeta are sugar-coated almonds which symbolise the sweetness and bitterness of marriage and which have, over time, also symbolised fertility. The almond has a bittersweet taste that is symbolic of life itself. The sugar coating is added with the hope that the life of the new family has more sweetness than bitterness. As they are eaten, the sweetness of the candy coating and bitterness of the almonds mingle and become inseparable. You will have received an odd number (5) of Koufeta. Odd numbers cannot be divided by 2 - so the bride & groom will remain undivided! The five almonds have significant meaning - wishing the new husband & wife: happiness, health, wealth, fertility & longevity.

My fiancee is English, and we are having a ceremony in Australia followed by a blessing/commitment ceremony in England 2 weeks later...

We'd like to invite all of our guests to both occasions and were wondering whether you had any suggestions for wording. My parents will attend both occasions, as will the groom's father. I think it would be "politically correct" to include both sets of parents on the invitation, even though my parents are paying for most of the Australian wedding and we'll pay for the English wedding ourselves - the groom's parents are divorced yet still have the same surname, which further complicates things.

The invitation will be very wordy, but it should be along the lines of (note the difference between how your fiance's divorced parents is expressed compared to your still-married parents):-

Mr and Mrs Robert & Phoebe Baran
(or, more formally, Mr and Mrs Robert Baran if you wish)
together with
Mr Sam Gazal and Mrs Susan Gazal
request the pleasure of the company of
at the wedding of their children
on Saturday 31st December 2018 at 3pm
at St Andrews Church, High Street, Sydney
and afterwards at
The Wedding Reception Centre, The Rocks, Sydney
from 5pm.

We would also like you to join us for
a blessing and commitment service
on Saturday 14th January 2018 at 4pm
at St Michaels Church, Central Lane, London
and afterwards at
the Mayfair Hotel, Mayfair, London.

Dress - Lounge Suit
R.S.V.P. - 1 December 2018 address 

I would recommend the first style for your parents names as the more formal version gives your mother less recognition than the groom's mother. This is a traditional layout and should keep everybody happy.

This is my second wedding and my partners first. We would like something simple but meaningful on the invitations, not so formal and not from our parents. Any suggestions?

Many couples now word their invitations so that they, themselves are inviting their guests rather than the parents, especially if they are financing the event themselves. Something along the lines of:

Leanne and (David) would like you to join us to celebrate our love and marriage at...

Remember, you can be as informal and flexible as you like. After all, it's your day.

We were thinking of having candles in glass holders, that are lit for the reception, as bomboniere for our wedding. Is it rude too give a half used candle as a present?

It is not uncommon for wedding couples to use votive candles as bomboniere and have the scented (and often coloured) candles burning when the guests arrive at the reception. The soft ambience created sets the perfect atmosphere for a beautiful night. You may even consider having the guests' names on the votive holders so that they double as place cards while personalising each item.

We were wondering if there is correct etiquette for order of names in an invite, eg girls first...Betty and Fred... Jill and Jack request the pleasure of your company, or boys first...Fred and Betty, Jack and Jill etc?

If the parents are inviting the guests, the father's name is usually first. If the couple are inviting the guests, whatever suits them can be applied, as it is a "non-traditional" format anyway, so you can be flexible to suit yourselves. In listing the guests names for couples, once again you can be flexible to reflect your relationship with the invitees or how you feel they would like to be addressed.

I would like to know how to word an invitation when both my parents have remarried and my partners parents are separated. We have made the decision to pay for our own reception, but all parents would like to contribute assist with costs in some way.

When parents are divorced or separated it is usually worded as follows.

If the wife is using the same name:
Mr Sam Smith and Mrs Sarah Smith
together with
Mr Michael Roberts and Mrs Sophie Roberts
request the pleasure of the company of ...

Usually if the parents are not divorced it would be worded as follows:
Mr & Mrs Sam & Sarah Smith
together with
Mr & Mrs Michael & Sophie Roberts
are delighted to invite ...

For a more casual or relaxed wording you may go with something more like this:
Sam Smith and Sarah Smith
together with
Michael Roberts and Sophie Roberts
are delighted to invite ...

It may change if you decide to include any of the parents partners.

What is the standard time frame for RSVP's? Our wedding is the 7th of November, so should we ask for the RSVP's about one month before?

The usual time frame for a RSVP is anywhere from two weeks to two months.  Some couples have an A list and B list so will make the RSVP date in a time frame that allows them to invite the B list of guests. One month is a good time as it allows you to advise suppliers of numbers such as the caterers, venue and bomboniere suppliers.

I'm a wedding coordinator in Denver, Colorado, USA. I've been asked by an Australian bride the proper way to word an invitation to inform guests that they will need to pay for their own dinner...

As this is not customary here, I'm not sure of the protocol. She tells me this is standard in Australia. Is it? If so can you help me with the wording?

No it is definitely not the standard in Australia. I have heard of some brides requesting guests do pay for their own drinks but this is very rare.

Nevertheless a solution has to be found. My only suggestion would be to have
the standard wording as follows and include the cost per head in the RSVP details. I would also think it's appropriate to include that in lieu of a wedding gift the couple request that guests contribute to the cost of the meal.

Desiree and Michael Russell
together with
Betty and Lionel Wise
are delighted to invite ...
to celebrate the marriage of
Kylie & Alistair
at The Roslyn Court Homestead Gardens
33-35 Raleigh Street Essendon
on Saturday 24th January 2004
at 4.30p.m
to be followed by a reception in
"The Gilbertson Room"
The Roslyn Court Homestead
Commencing with cocktails at 6pm

$70 per head
7th January 2004

We want to keep our wedding fairly casual but not jeans, but on the other end no tuxs or ties. Does "lounge suit" mean ties? 

Lounge suit does mean ties. Less formal descriptions are; Elegant, Smart Spring/Summer, Smart Casual.

Should I put a dress code on my invitations and if so, what would is appropriate if I would like the men to wear either a suit or sports jacket and a tie.

All wedding invitations state a dress code these days. Traditionally 

'Lounge Suit' lets people know that the men are expected to wear at least a collared shirt, a jacket and (usually) a tie or a modern variation of the suit theme. Of course the girls can dress up as much as they like! One thing is certain - if you don't state a dress code on the invitation, you will receive a phone call from each and every guest asking you what they should wear! It's interesting to note that traditionally, etiquette demanded that no dress code be stated on the invitation as the guests would understand that the men were to wear lounge suits for morning and afternoon weddings and that black tie was required for weddings after six o'clock. Thankfully, we are far more flexible these days, so the dress code should always be stated to avoid confusion.

Q - I am doing my inviations myself. Could you suggest some different styles of wording?

A - Here are some suggestions:

Helen and Alan Berry
have pleasure in inviting
you to celebrate the marriage of
in the grounds of
Roberts at Peppertrees
Halls Road, Pokolbin, Hunter Valley
on Saturday 12th April 2003 at 11.00am
followed by lunch in the restaurant
from 12.30pm to 4.30pm


29th March 2003
address or telephone # must be supplied with rsvp if no rsvp card is supplied


Mr and Mrs Andrew Main
request the pleasure of
at the marriage of their daughter
Jessica Susan Main
Michael Daniel Priebe
at Lucinda Park
Iluka Road, Palm Beach
Saturday 3rd May, 2003 at 3.30pm
and afterwards at
The Pacific Club
Ocean Road, Palm Beach.

Lounge Suit

17th April, 2003
13 Thompson Close,
111 Jersey Road, Woollahra. 2025.


Together with their parents,
Lonita and David
are delighted to invite

to share in the celebration of their marriage
at St Peter Chanel¹s Church
Futuna Street (off Woolwich Rd) Hunters Hill
on Sunday 9th February 2003
at 4.00pm
and afterwards at
Angelo¹s on the Bay
Prince Edward Park Phillips Street Cabarita
at 6.00pm
Semi Formal

R.S.V.P. 14th January 2003
3/79 Garfield Street Five Dock NSW 2046
Tel 02 9712 7741

Q - My partner and I are having a budget wedding. We have made our own invitations on computer, and we would like to know what is written in the ceremony booklets.

A - Order of Service booklets range in the information that they contain. Some are far more detailed than others. It really also depends on what kind of ceremony you are having ie Catholic, Church of England or a civil
Ceremony. Usually if you are have a wedding that is denominational your priest may have certain guidelines that he would like you to follow & have examples of other booklets. Also the booklets will depend on how relaxed your wedding is eg church or outdoor wedding.

Q - Just wondering if you know as a guide how much I should expect to pay for approx 100 invitations from a wedding stationer including acceptance cards, thank you notes and all envelopes. I know that it all depends on different papers etc but I am hoping for a very rough estimate.

A - It's impossible to answer your question without you qualifying exactly what you're after. On average, Australian brides spend just over $400 on their wedding stationery. Having said this, some will utilise do-it-yourself solutions at a minimal price for a very small wedding of 20 to 30 people. Whereas others may spend over $25,000 on overly elaborate stationery for a gala event for hundreds of guests.

In short, for 100 invitations (I assume that means that you'll be having 120 - 150 guests as some invites cover several people in a household/family) you can pay as little as $500 for a do-it-yourself type package where you print inserts on your own computer and glue them into covers. Bear in mind that this will take you a great deal of time, on top of the time it takes to compile a full, correct list of invitees and their addresses and enter them into your system, check for errors, etc. This is just for the invites, RSVP's and Thank You's (as per your question) and does not include such items as Order of Service Covers or Place Cards (for which you must allow 1 per guest).

At the other end of the spectrum, custom designed stationery may cost you around $1800-$2000 for the same items that will be professionally presented with quality finishes and all the work done for you once you've supplied guest details.

Bottom line is, you get what you pay for.

Q - Any suggestions on what wording to use for our parents invitations? They are hosting the wedding, so it's a bit silly to use the same wording that we have used for all the other invites.

A - I assume that your invitations are set out with the formal wording along the lines of

"(Kellie's Father's name) and (Kellie's Mother's name)
Request the pleasure of the company of (guest)
at the marriage of their daughter
(Kellie's Fiancee's Name)
at etc etc.

If you want to prepare a special invitation for your parents, you can word it along the lines of the way couples who arrange their own weddings do, as follows:-

"Kellie (your surname) and (Kellie's Fiancee's Name)
request the pleasure of the company of
(Kellie's Parent's names)
at their wedding
at ......etc etc.

While tradition and etiquette suggest that your parents, as hosts, don't receive an invitation as they're theoretically sending them out, it's a lovely gesture for you to include them and give them an initial memento for the occasion. The suggested wording allows you to do this and make them feel special and formally welcome at your special day.

Q - My Fiance and I are in the process of doing our invitations. We are in our early 30's and have no children. We do not want children at our wedding. How do we word this on our invitations?

A - It is becoming increasingly common for couples to request guests to provide a child-free wedding day. As such, the following wording can be added to the invitation package via a separate card or included on the RSVP or 'Accommodation Card' if you're using one. It politely expresses your wishes in a way that suggests that you have the best interests of all your guests in mind.

To allow all guests - including parents - a day of relaxation and uninhibited revelry we respectfully ask no children attend the church service or reception.

Q - My fiance and I are getting married next year. We have everything we need for our home, so would politely like to request a cash gift from our guests. Any suggestions?

A - The way that people go about asking for money in a nice way is usually by using the Wishing well poem. There are a couple of versions. Some are considerably longer than others. You can take out a couple of lines to shorten some. But they are listed below:

Our home is quite complete now,
we've been together long,
so please consider our request
and do not take us wrong.
A delicate request it is,
we hope you understand.
Please play along as it will give
our married life a hand.
The tradition of the wishing well
is one that's known by all.
Go to the well, toss in a coin
and as the coin does fall,
Make a wish upon that coin
and careful as you do.
Cause as the well's tradition goes
your wishes will come true.
So on this special day of ours,
the day that we'll be wed.
Don't hunt for special gifts
but give money in it's stead.
And as you drop the envelope
with money great and small,
Remember, make your wish
as you watch your money fall.

Now we are to be Mr & Mrs
We don't need a wedding list of dishes
We have two kettles, two toasters, a microwave
We require a house for which we have to save.
If you would like to give us a monetary gift this would give us a lift
We like to think of it as our "Wishing Well"
Which will be filled with your love, we can tell.


In our house we have the things
that living together normally brings
most household items we've already bought
and because of this reason we thought
A wishing well would be great
(only if guests wish to participate)
A gift of money is placed in an envelope
so in the future we hope
to furnish our home to its very best
and always remember it was due to our guests.

Q - When should I send out my invitations?
A: You should allow for the invitations to reach your guests no less than 6 weeks before the wedding day. Therefore, allowing for delivery times, it would be best to mail out invitations to guests 7 weeks before the wedding and 8 to 9 weeks before for overseas guests. You should notify any out-of-town guests (especially those overseas) up to 12 weeks prior to the date to allow more time for travel and accommodation bookings.

Who can help with the wording?

All invitation retailers will have a selection of formal wording variations from which you can choose. They can point you towards the 'correct' wording, according to etiquette, which acknowledges the relevant parties involved.

Less formal wordings are often composed by the couple themselves but once again, your invitation designer should have samples to assist you convey the mood and feel desired.

What costs should I consider when ordering invitations?

Does your invitation quote include the cost of envelopes? And how much will it cost to post each invitation? If your invitations are not a standard postal size, it may cost up to 2 1/2 times more than the standard postal rate. Will you need to handwrite any part of the invitation? Hiring a calligrapher will incur additional costs.

Other than wedding invitations what else should we consider when ordering our wedding stationery?

Your wedding stationery can include not only the invitation but the Thank You's, RSVP Cards, Place Cards, 'Order of Service' or 'Mass Book' covers and Registry Cards. Some designers also offer an option of Menu Cards for the reception, maps and information cards for out of town guests.

I am having a dilema with the wording of a thankyou card for my fiance`s parents. Not only did his mother give me a family heirloom as my engagement ring, but they also took me in when I had nowhere to live for two months. They organised and hosted our engagement party as well.

This isn't really a stationery question but I'll give it my best shot. This is really a personal thing that you can only really compose yourself. The best way is to just jot down all your feelings, straight from the heart. How they've made you feel like part of the family, how much joy they've brought you and how they've confirmed that the most important decision you've made in your life is the right one. Write it all down on a page and then just sort the ideas out into an order that makes sense. Then finish off by thanking them with all your heart and promise to return their love however, wherever and whenever you can. Just make sure you say whatever's in your heart.

Blue Wedding Invitations

Beast Pieces

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