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Wedding Etiquette: Invitations and Thank-you Notes

Having a wedding will mostly be all about you and your special love, yet you need to remember some etiquette rules that apply to your guests. The better you treat your guests, the more likely they are to enjoy your wedding and think of you in a positive light.

Wedding Invitations Wedding invitations should be mailed out six weeks prior to the wedding day, unless friends or relatives need to fly in from out of town. Then the invitation should be mailed eight to ten weeks in advance to give your guests time to make travel and hotel arrangements. Custom also has it that invitations need to be mailed from the bride's home, even if guests are friends of the groom. The envelope should have the full names of the family or persons you are inviting, and the inside card should just have first names. When you are inviting a single person, it is polite to write "and Guest" next to their name.

Weddings invitation wording should reflect the formality of your wedding. The more formal, the closer to tradition you want to be. Invitations should tell your guests exactly what they need to know. The wording you use is also important, although there are many varieties to choose from. Consult a wedding invitation magazine or guide before you order your invitations to know which wording will suit you best.

For destination weddings, make sure you mail the "Save the Date" cards well in advance so guests can begin making travel plans.

Thank-You Notes It used to be that if you said thank you to someone in person for his or her gift, a thank-you note was not required. But these days, when couples are inviting more guests to the wedding, and more people send gifts through mail, thank-you notes are the only way to express your sincere appreciation.

When should you send out thank-you notes for your shower and wedding? ASAP! The sooner, the better. Everyone appreciates a thank-you note, especially if it comes soon after the event. For the shower, notes should be sent out 10 to 14 days after the shower.

Thank-you notes for weddings gifts received before the wedding should go out two weeks after receiving the gift so a prolonged period of time does not go between receiving the gift and sending the note.

Proper wedding etiquette says that notes should be sent out two weeks to a month after you return from the honeymoon. If time starts racing and you've put notes on the back burner for too long, send them anyway. People expect thank-you notes for their gifts and they will still appreciate one even if it is late.

Handwritten notes are the only way to go. If a guest receives a pre-printed thank-you note, he or she will feel unappreciated and think you are not thankful for their time and effort to get you something. No matter how short your handwritten note it, it expresses your appreciation so much better, and your guest will know you are truly thankful.

Along with sending notes for gifts, be sure to send thank-you notes to friends and family who planned showers or parties for you; they worked hard to celebrate for you.

If you receive more than one present from someone, write a thank-you note for each gift. If someone gives you a gift for your shower and then three weeks later for your wedding, it is not polite to write one note for both gifts. Get the shower thank-you note out before the wedding.

Colored ink is getting more popular these days, but for thank-you notes, black or dark blue ink should still be used. These colors are easier to read and they just look better.

These tips will help your guests appreciate your politeness and the time you spend thinking of them. Some of you guests will spend a good amount of money or time on you, and they want to know you appreciated that.

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