Need To Know Wedding Etiquette | Sara Drake Design – Sarah Drake Design
Shopping Basket


At Sarah Drake, we believe modern etiquette should be followed to help your guests’ feel comfortable. The following information is meant to assist you in creating an accommodating event, but is by no means a complete list of all things wedding related. If you have a question not listed here, feel free to reach out to us, or err on the side of, “What would make my guests feel more at home?”

When should I mail my wedding invitations?

Traditionally, 2 months ahead of your wedding. For destination weddings, 10-12 weeks. Save the dates can be mailed anywhere from 6-12 months before the wedding.

What is the proper way to word my wedding invitations?

Invitation wording varies, depending on who is hosting, where your wedding is held, and how formal or casual it is. Please see these examples for help on your unique situation.

How do I compile my guest list? Do I need to add titles?

It’s perfectly acceptable to address your invitations without titles if you are having an intimate or casual wedding. For formal or traditional weddings, proper etiquette does show the importance that such a special occasion merits. In this case, the following rules are applied:

Man or Woman First?

Traditionally, the woman’s name went first, so that the man was not separated from his surname: Carol and John Smith

Nowadays, it is acceptable for either to come first.
Mr. and Mrs. John Smith
Mr. and Mrs. Carol and John Smith

unless one or the other outranks in title:
Dr. Carol Smith and Mr. John Smith

If they are unmarried, and living together, the names go on separate lines, women's name first:
Ms. Carol Lewis and
Mr. John Smith

Same-Sex Couples

Mr. John Lewis and Mr. Frank Alan
If they have the same last name:

Mr. and Mr. John and Frank Lewis

There are no formal rules on who's name should be listed first on same-sex addressed invites. You may choose to list the person you have known the longest in this case.

I don’t know the name of my guest’s boy/girlfriend, how do I handle that?

Ms. Joann Smith and Guest

Adding Children:

Mr. and Mrs. John Smith
Master (if boy is under 13) Charles Smith and Miss Faye Smith
Mr. and Mrs. John Smith and Family

If you are using an inner envelope, the children’s names are written out there. If the Child is over age 18, and living at home, they receive their own invitation.

We’re not inviting children, how do I indicate that?

Etiquette states that if children are not mentioned on the invitation envelope, then they are not invited. Some may not be aware of this, and may assume their children are invited. It’s not proper to state this on the invitation, but you may rely on word of mouth to pass the information on to your guests. In some cases you’ll have to address this directly with your guest.

Streets and States are written out in full: Avenue, California.

We’re not inviting everyone to the rehearsal or brunch, how do I handle that?

We suggest a separate insert for these events in your invitation suite for these events. You may ask them to respond via email, or in most cases, we design two response cards: one for the in-towners who are invited to the wedding and reception only, and one for the out-of-towners that are invited to the weekend’s festivities.

How do we tell people where we are registered for gifts?

No mention of your registry should go in your wedding invitation. It is impolite to assume that the reason you are inviting them is to receive gifts, and to place this information in your invitation would indicate that you expect gifts. Word of mouth is the best way to communicate this information. Your guests will ask.

Do I need a wedding website?

No. We believe you should keep things simple. Any information that you need to communicate about travel or accommodations may be made via an insert in your invitation, or by word of mouth. One exception is destination weddings; they may require more information, so a website would be helpful to your guests.

view our invitation wording guide for more help.