Thank you for all of the love and support this little corner of the internet has received over the past several years. As friends and family members were getting married, their weddings fueled the inspiration for this blog. But as seasons of life change, my focus, along with those nearest and dearest, shifted away from the wedding planning stage and I began to neglect this blog.

I have decided to indefinitely retire Calligraphy by Shannon in an effort to pour my attention into my lifestyle blog The Scribble Pad where I will be merging past and future inspiration boards and parties. You will still be able to place orders for calligraphy, custom invitations, and hand stamped items through my etsy shop. And as always, you can stay in touch with me under my moniker, The Scribble Pad on my blog, etsy shop, facebook, and even twitter! I look forward to sharing this new adventure with you.

Today's Wedding Etiquette

It cannot be denied, navigating the wedding invitation etiquette is no easy task. From proper wording, to questions about what to send to whom and to how to reply, here are some helpful etiquette lessons that we could all stand to learn:

Q: When should invitations be sent? How long should you allow for guests to reply?

A: Invitations should hit the mail 6-8 weeks prior to the date of nuptials. This gives your guests plenty of time to make arrangements, but not enough time to {gasp} forget. You should set the RSVP date 3-4 weeks before the wedding date, understanding that some guests may respond immediately and others may respond past the deadline. This gives you extra time to round up those final RSVPs. It also allows you ample time to finalize the headcount, seating chart, etc. before you are down to the wire in your final week. Although not all engagements allow for this time frame, at the very least you should provide guests five weeks advance notice, and request their response two weeks before your big day.

Q: Who should get a wedding announcement?

A: Announcements should be used after the wedding to let friends, family, and possibly professional colleagues who were not invited to the wedding know about your nuptials. These should be sent within a week after your wedding. To ensure the timely mailing of these announcements, elicit the help of a detail-oriented friend.

Exception: If you are getting married in the late fall, you can couple this with your holiday greeting card, but it should be sent to everyone, including wedding guests. However, this would not work for a spring wedding – the announcement would come too late and would appear awkward.

Q: How do you not invite everyone? What about two receptions?

A: I subscribe to the all or nothing mentality. If you are inviting one of your friends from your close circle, you should invite them all. If you are including one next door neighbor, you should include the other, especially if any of the wedding events will be held at your home. Even if you are certain that someone will not be able to attend, it is proper to invite them. A wedding is a celebration, and people want to join.

If you have a large contingent of guests in one area, who will likely be unable to attend your wedding, it is appropriate to consider having a second reception or party after you return from your honeymoon. Examples of when this may be appropriate: you or your spouse are involved in a leadership position in an organization but do not want everyone at your wedding; you or your spouse have a pocket of family far away; you or your spouse have a large number of colleagues and business acquaintances who are on the fence for the invite list.

Q: How do you convey a formal occasion for an afternoon event?

A: One of the best indicators that a wedding is formal or informal is the invitation itself. To covey that an event is formal, skip the DIY invitations and rely on the traditional, possibly oversized, invitation. As you flip though invitation ideas, it will become apparent which ones are formal, and which are not. Your guests should pick up on this subtlety. If you are still concerned that a sundress will be donned, make note that your nuptials are a formal occasion on your wedding website, and ask your bridal party to spread the word.

Q: Do all of the invitations have to be mailed? Is it appropriate to hand out invitations or to convey the invitation via phone or e-mail?

A: There is a very different feel to receiving an invitation in the mail instead of having it handed to you or conveyed over the phone. Your wedding is a special event that you have put thought and effort into, especially in terms of the people you invite. Taking the time and effort to compose and mail an invitation to each guest lets them know that their presence is important to you. Why else would you invite them to such a significant and personal event? Barring extreme circumstances, (your close friend who was thought lost at sea is rescued and returns home hours before your wedding) all invitations should be sent through the mail. Even if your wedding is an informal barbeque and you want to keep things casual, it’s still different from a Fourth of July weekend bash. It’s your wedding. Take this opportunity to acknowledge its importance.

Q: Can the outside envelope addresses be printed by a desktop printer as long as you use a fancy font?

A: You should never print addresses with a computer. No matter the excuse, addresses should always be handwritten. This rule applies to all items that you mail regarding your wedding from the very first engagement announcement to the very last thank you note. Remember, a wedding is a once in a life time event, and your invitation should suggest this. (Still considering the printer option? Just think about how many pieces of junk mail you or your employer receives with “pretty” printed addresses.)

If it's a matter of not enough time or poor handwriting, hire a professional. If hiring a professional is not in your budget, enlist the help of family who have handwriting you admire. A wedding invitation is the most formal and proper piece of mail that your guests likely receive

Q: Do you put a return address on the wedding invitations?

A: You don't necessarily have to have the return address printed on the envelope when you order your invitations, (as this will likely increase the cost of your invitations) but a return address should be included on the back flap. This can either be handwritten, or you can purchase an embosser or return address stamp (only if it is formal) to use.

FYI: The return address should be that of the person whom you've designated to receive response cards. The response card envelope or postcard should be printed with this address. (P.S. Don’t forget the postage stamp)
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