Stuffing: If you've gone the traditional route and you have your invitation, an inner envelope, your response card, your reception card and perhaps other enclosures, etiquette dictates how to stuff the envelope properly. Here goes:
When using an inner envelope, the invitations and all enclosure cards are put in facing the back. If the invitation is a single-fold or single card, the left edge goes in first. If it's a double-fold invitation, the folded edge goes in first. The inner envelope should be placed in the outer envelope unsealed with the flap away from the person inserting it.
If the invitation is a single-fold or single card, you should place the insertion cards face up in front of the invitations. In all cases, the reply card should be placed face up tucked inside the flap of the reply envelope lying against the invitation, so that the reply envelope is face down.
If the invitation is double-fold, the enclosure cards should be placed inside the flap, still all facing toward the person inserting it. Of course, you can always pay your stationer extra to stuff them for you.
Gift Wording: It is never appropriate to say "No Gifts" on the invitation. Also, it is not appropriate to say where you and your groom are registered anywhere on the invitation. The same is also true if you would prefer cash instead of gifts. However, more and more bride and grooms are including a separate enclosure card that states what stores the couple is registered at (and also, for example, whether they have any registries with WeddingChannel.com).
Guest Attire: Should you wish to have your guests wear black tie, your request should appear as a footnote in the right-hand corner of the reception card or invitation. Avoid the wording "black tie preferred," as it may confuse your guests. Also, note that traditionally black tie is reserved for events after 6 p.m.
Dining Choices: Avoid putting entrée choices on your invitation or response card. If you are offering a choice, pre-arrange that with your caterer. You can serve your food French waiter style, where a tray is brought around to each table with the two dinner choices and the guests can choose then. Also, if your reception is including dinner, you should print "Reception and dinner following the ceremony," or some variation of that wording, so your guests will know that dinner is included and don't make other plans.
British Spelling: The words favor and honor are spelled in the British way on formal wedding invitations. For example, "the favour of your reply" or "the honour of your presence" is considered the proper invitation spelling.
More Wording: On a formal invitation, when the ceremony is in a place of worship, the wording should read "the honour of your presence," but when the ceremony is at a home, club or hotel, it should read "the pleasure of your company." If you're having a full Catholic Mass as part of your wedding, it is appropriate to say:
______ and ______
request the honour of your presence
at the Nuptial Mass uniting
In the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony
Numbers: Make sure you spell out all numbers unless they are particularly long, e.g. 18994 Olympic Blvd. Dates should be written as the thirty-first of July or the ninth of April. The year was not commonly used on wedding invitations until recently, but if you do use the year, write it out completely (e.g. two thousand and seven).
Jewish Invitations: It is common on Jewish wedding invitations to include the names of the groom's parents below their son's name, for example:
Son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Goldberg
Inner And Outer Envelopes: On the inner envelope of the invitation, no given names or addresses are used unless the recipients are children under the age of 13. For example, if the outer envelope were addressed Mr. and Mrs. Brian Smith, the inner envelope would simply read Mr. and Mrs. Smith. And if the Smiths had children under the age of 13, the names would be listed under them both on the outer and inner envelopes, as either Amanda Smith or Miss Amanda Smith, or for a boy Mark Smith or Master Mark Smith (until age eight).
Boys And Girls: Girls should be addressed before age 13 as either Miss Amanda Smith or Amanda Smith. After age 13, she should only be addressed as Miss. After her 21st birthday, she should be addressed as Ms. A boy should be addressed as Mark Smith or Master Mark Smith until around age eight, then after that as simply Mark Smith until his 18th birthday, when he should be addressed as Mr.
When addressing a family that includes multiple siblings, you may group them together in the following way: The Messrs. Smith for boys and The Misses Smith for girls.
Nicknames: When addressing your guests, it is more proper to put their full names instead of nicknames. For example, if someone goes by Maddy, but her real name is Madeline, use the proper name.
Single Guests: Remember that if you do not address "and Guest" after a single person's name, they are not to bring a guest. Additionally, if you have invited a single friend to bring a guest of their choice, it is a nice idea to address that guest by his or her name.
Abbreviations: Just as abbreviations are not to be used in the wording of your invitation, the same holds true for the addressing of your envelopes. Everything should be written out including words like "street" and "avenue." Also all names of cities, states and countries should be written out completely.
Couples: When addressing a married couple, you must include both of them on the envelope, even if you are acquainted with only the husband or wife. Tradition dictates that you address them as Mr. and Mrs. Brian Smith, using only the husband's first and last name. For a couple that lives together, you should address them as Mr. Jack Jones and Ms. Rebecca Wells, with their names appearing on separate lines.
Labels: Printed labels are not appropriate for wedding invitations, even if you are inviting hundreds of guests. Weddings are such personal affairs that the impersonal nature of printed labels does not work. Plan ahead and either have your invitations addressed by a machine or a professional calligrapher, or do them yourself.