Invitations and Bridal Shower Etiquette

Weddings can be stressful enough without having to worry about figuratively stepping on someone's toes or hurting their feelings. Yet, wedding etiquette doesn't need to be complicated.

Of course, wedding etiquette is broad topic covering everything from the engagement to the thank-you notes sent after your ceremony. Here are some tips on wedding invitations and bridal showers.

Invitation Etiquette

Make sure to allow plenty of time when sending out your invitations.

When to mail your save-the-date cards and invitations varies depending on the type of wedding you plan to have. For a local wedding, the save-the-date cards aren't necessary and invitations can be mailed six weeks in advance. If your wedding falls near a holiday, save-the-date cards should be mailed five months in advance and invitations two months in advance. For a destination wedding, save-the-date cards should be mailed nine months to a year before and invitations three months in advance.

When writing your invitations, be sure to refer to guests by name and to use proper titles.

In today's modern age, it is perfectly acceptable -- and environmentally friendly -- to ask your guests to RSVP via email. Be certain to include an alternate way to RSVP in case your guests don't email or in case their responses get caught in your spam filter.

Include a bridal registry card with bridal shower invitations not the wedding invitations. Some other invitations don'ts include forgetting to include maps and other inserts, not handwriting envelopes and using a stand-by list.

And remember even if you mail save-the-date cards, you still need to send out traditional wedding invitations.

If guests still have not sent their RSVP a week before the wedding, it is perfectly acceptable for the couple, or for members of the wedding party, to call and remind individuals.

Bridal Shower Etiquette

Traditionally, the maid of honor throws the bridal shower although it is perfectly acceptable for all the bridesmaids to host the party together. The shower should not be hosted by the bride's mother or sisters as this can be viewed like the family is begging for gifts. Family members can, however, help organize the party. Their names just can't appear on the invitations.

It is in bad taste to invite people to bridal shower but not your wedding. This gives them the impression that they are good enough to give you gifts but not good enough to attend your ceremony.

You should invite your closest women friends and relatives. Sending an invitation even to those you know can't attend is a nice gesture, but you are not obligated to invite every woman on the guest list.

The shower hostess is responsible for all costs.

Even if the groom did not attend the shower, his signature should be on the thank-you notes along with the bride's. After all, the gifts are for the couple not just the bride.

Weddings can be both fun and stressful at the same time. Allow yourself plenty of time to plan and your wedding should go off without a hitch.

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