Monday, June 1, 2009

Wedding Planning Guide: Invitations & Announcements (Part III)

Q. My fiance and I find traditional wedding invitations too formal for our tastes. Can we write our own invitations? If so, can you suggest the wording?
A. Yes, you may. Your invitation, in your own, less formal wording, may be engraved or thermographed just as a traditional invitation is, or if your wedding is to be simple and untraditional, it may be printed on paper or a card with a design or border, often in acolor carrying out the color scheme of the wedding itself.

Printers' wedding invitation books now include as many less traditional samples as they do tradir tional ones, so you might look at them for other ideas.

One sample of an invitation that seems warmer than the traditional form is:
Our joy will be more complete if you will share in the marriage of our daughter Susan Hall to Mr. James Bogard on Saturday, the second of October at half after four o 'clock 6 Sesame Lane Greens Lane, Pennsylvania We invite you to worship with us witness their vows and join us for a reception following the ceremony If you are unable to attend, we ask your presence in thought and prayer Mr. and Mrs. Hugo Stone [or, Anne and Hugo Stone]

Another very informal idea would be a card written in the bride's hand, as in the following example.

Lee Spencer and Peter Davis
invite you to celebrate their marriage
Saturday, September : the eighth at four o'clock
44 Beach Road, Essex, Connecticut

Q. We are only inviting twenty people to our wedding. Would it be proper to send handwritten notes rather than printed invitations?
A. Absolutely. In addition to the handwritten invitation above, another suggested wording might be:
Dear Aunt Sally,
Dick and I are to be married at Christ Church on November tenth at four o'clock. We hope you and Uncle Jim will come to the church, and afterward to the reception at Greentree Country Club.
With much love from both of us, Jeanne

Q. Just when may a wedding invitation be addressed to "Mr. and Mrs. John Smith and Family"? A. Only when every family member is intended to be included in the invitation. When the outer envelopeis addressed in this way, the inner envelope is addressed "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" and (below) "Christine, Catherine and Robert."

Q. Are abbreviations used when addressing wedding invitation envelopes?
A. The only abbreviations should be Mr., Mrs., Dr., etc., never the street addresses or parts of names.

Q. At what age should children receive their own invitations?
A. Children over the age of ten should, if possible, receive their own invitations. If more than one child in a family is to be invited and you are sending one invitation for all of them, the inner envelope is addressed "Marion, Richard and Robert" and the outer envelope is addressed "The Messrs. and Miss Dow-ling" or "Miss Marion Dowling and The Messrs. Robert and Richard Dowling" below.

Q. Should wedding invitations have return addresses on the envelope?
A. Yes. Although in the past it was considered in bad taste, it now is required by the United States Postal Service that all first-class mail bear a return address. Also, it is a way to provide a return address if no R.S.V.P. appears on the invitation.

Q. Should invitations be sent to . . .
. . . the person who performs the ceremony and his or her spouse?
A. Yes. It's courteous, and indicates that you definitely are including the spouse.

Q. . . . the fiancee of the invited guest?
A. Yes. It's particularly nice to send him or her a separate invitation, but if that is not possible, his or her name should appear on the inner envelope below the name of the invited guest.

Q. . . . the bridal party members?
A. Yes. They are not expected to reply, but may like to have the invitation as a memento. A response card is not included.

Q. . . . the groom's parents?
A. Yes. It is a courtesy and also a special memento for
them. Again, no response card is included.

Q. . . . relatives and friends living too far away to attend the wedding?
A. Yes, although many people prefer not to do this, feeling it might appear that they are merely asking for a gift. In this case, they should receive an announcement or possibly an invitation to the church only, neither of which carries any obligation whatsoever.

Q. . . . small children who are not invited to the reception?
A. Yes, if it will be convenient for their parents to arrange to have them taken home before the reception —otherwise you may be creating an awkward problem.

Q. . . . people in mourning?
A. Yes, even though they may not attend.

Q. Is it ever acceptable to invite one member of a married couple without inviting the spouse?
A. No. Both members must be invited, even if you only know one of them.

Q. May I invite only one member of an unmarried couple who are living together?
A. No. Both should be invited. A single invitation should be sent, addressed to Miss (or Ms.) Joan Morrison and Mr. Frederick Newsome on separate lines. In the event that you are unaware that your friend is living with someone and he or she asks if the other person may come after receiving your invitation, you should issue another invitation to the second person, if possible. If you have no more invitations, send a personal note explaining that you were unaware but would be delighted if both would attend.

Q. Is it correct to invite co-workers in your office to your wedding with a single invitation posted on the bulletin board?
A. Yes, so long as you are aware that it means that everyone and their spouses are invited. If you do this, it is a good idea to post an "R.S.V.P." sheet with it so you know how many people to expect. If you can afford the extra invitations, it is preferable to send them individually.

Q. We've changed the date of our wedding. Our invitations have already been printed. Can we cross out the old date and insert the new one?
A. Yes. If you have no time to enclose a printed card reading "The date of the wedding has been changed from May tenth to June sixteenth,'' you may neatly cross out the old date and write the new one beside it.

Q. We canceled our wedding plans shortly after mailing the invitations. How do we inform people?
A. There are three ways to do this. If you have time, a printed card may be sent:
Mr. and Mrs. Charles Markham announce that the marriage of their daughter Denise to
Mr. Pierce Delaney will not take place

This method avoids your or your parents' having to answer questions when you are undoubtedly upset.
If time is short, invited guests must be notified by telephone and/or telegram. Telegrams would read "Regret to inform you wedding of Denise Markham and Pierce Delaney has been canceled." Or to closer friends, "Regret that Denise's and Pierce's wedding has been called off."

If you are relaying the message by telephone, friends and relatives may be asked to help make the calls, thereby parrying questions so you and your parents don't have to repeatedly explain.

Q. How do announcements differ from invitations? Who gets them and who doesn't?
A. Announcements are just that—they announce that a wedding has taken place and they are sent after the wedding. It is never mandatory to send them, but they are useful. They place no obligation on the recipient to send a gift, but they serve to inform old friends who have been out of touch, business clients, people who live too far away to be able to attend and closer friends who cannot be included when the wedding and reception lists are small. Announcements are never sent to anyone who has received an invitation to the ceremony and/or the reception.

Q. How is an announcement worded?
A. The form of a wedding announcement resembles the form of the wedding invitation in everything except wording. The notepaper, style of engraving and manner of addressing the envelopes are all the same.

For many years the announcements were issued in the name of the bride's parents. I recommend that the family of the groom be included on the announcement with that of the bride as in the following example.
Mr. and Mrs. Howard Carter James and
Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Homes Seaburn announce the marriage of Nancy Lynn fames and
Stanley Homes Seaburn, Jr. Saturday, the second of May One thousand nine hundred and eighty-seven Trinity Church New Milford, Connecticut
Q. How soon after a wedding are announcements sent?
A. As soon as possible after the wedding, preferably the next day. If there is some extenuating circumstance, they may, however, be mailed up to several months later.

Q. What information should be included in a newspaper wedding announcement and when should it be sent?
A. At least three weeks before the wedding, the announcement and the bride's photo should be sent to the newspapers and should appear the day following the ceremony.

Each paper will use as much information as it wishes, and in its own words. Some large city paperswill return a form to be completed with all the information they require, but most will accept your copy. In general, you should provide:
  • Bride's name and address
  • Her parents' names and their address
  • Her grandparents' names
  • Bridegroom's name and address
  • His parents' names and their address
  • Time of ceremony
  • Place (church, synagogue, etc.)
  • Location of reception
  • Who will give the bride away—relationship to bride
  • List of all the attendants
  • Description of the clothing of the bride and her attendants
  • Bride's schools
  • Bride's profession
  • Groom's schools
  • Groom's profession
  • Wedding trip
  • Future residence
Q. We selected our wedding rings when we picked out the engagement ring. In what order are our initials engraved? Are both rings engraved the same way?
A. You really may engrave your rings with whatever sentiment you wish or just with initials. Today, most wedding rings are engraved with the initials of the bride and groom and the date of the wedding. When Charles Evan Forte marries Michèle Harriet Cole, they may choose to engrave their rings "C.E.F. to M.H.C." on hèrs to him and "M.H.C. to C.E.F." on his to her, or "C.E.F. & M.H.C." or with both sets of initials and a decorative symbol between them.
Although engagement rings are not usually engraved, they certainly may be, if you wish, in any manner you like.

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