Guestiquette: Honor vs. Pleasure

wedding-invitations-flowing-calligraphy-5680I was recently asked a question that I think a lot of people may have had confusion over. Recall, if you will, an invitation that you’ve received for a wedding or other formal event.  Chances are it opened with the line “request the honor of your presence” or “request the pleasure of your company” as part of the wording. Believe it or not these phrases actually have etiquette guidelines on when they can each be used and are not entirely interchangeable.

The phrase “…the honor of your presence…” is reserved for wedding ceremonies taking place in a house of worship, be it a church, temple, mosque, synagogue or another religious institution.

Meanwhile the phrase “…the pleasure of your company…” is used to invite guests to a wedding ceremony taking place anywhere else. Examples of this would include a country club, resort garden area, the beach, etc.

This rule does not take into consideration a religious ceremony, but rather the location. So if you have a Jewish ceremony, complete with a Chuppah, at a resort, you would still request the pleasure of your guests company.

If you want to stick with tradition in this area though, then each has an appropriate and specific use.

Is this etiquette rule breakable without being totally faux pas? I say, yes! Only the trained eye will notice that you used “…the honor of your presence…” to invite them to your beach front wedding. After all, God is everywhere and one could argue that the beach front is just as sacred as the Chapel. I personally believe that God is not limited to a building and that many things can be sacred, so I would have no problem using “the honor of your presence” to invite people to an outdoor wedding.

Do you have wedding questions that you need answers to? Email us at


Complimentary Party Printables from HGTV

I stumbled across these pretty party printables while seaching the HGTV site. This particular suite includes 17 printables that are fun, colorful, and rather stylish.  They offer an array of options for various party types, including weddings, baby showers, and summer gatherings.  Best part…THEY’RE FREE!!  They’re also very easy to use – each download is an edittable PDF so all you’ll need is ADOBE to edit.

Download Easton Place Designs’ Pink and Yellow Floral Invitation

Download Jayme Marie Gonzalez’s Floral Party Invitation

Download Paper & Pigtails’ Table Setting Party Invitation

Choosing to use printables as your invitation template is a budget saving idea that doesn’t have to look cheesy – the  magic is in the paper.  By using quality stock paper and pairing your invites with matching envelopes, you end up with an invitation that looks like it just stepped out of a printing press.  Your guests will never know the difference.

Don’t forget you can see the entire suite of printables at HGtv and if, by chance, you use one for your next event, let us know which one!

Happy Planning!

A Guide to Your Wedding Stationery

The world of wedding stationery can be a confusing one, so here’s a breakdown of the most common components of your wedding stationery, including an overview of their purpose, importance, and timing.

Wedding Announcement/Save the Dates

Some couples choose to send Save the Dates as a pre announcement and invitation to the actual wedding.  It’s only been in recent years that they’ve become a standard item on the stationery list but I really only recommend them as a Must-Have if you’re having a destination wedding.  Otherwise, only include them if your budget allows.

The Invitation Suite

For most couples, Invitations are just the tip of the iceberg on the stationery wish list – after all, guests must know who is getting married and where and what time to arrive to the celebration.  You should plan to order invitations approximately 3 months ahead of time  (cushion in an additional  3 – 4 weeks if you plan to hire a graphic designer to design a customized monogram or design) and distribute to guests 8 weeks before your wedding.  Oh and just in case I have to state the obvious, these are a definite Stationery Need To Have.

  • Note: Send invitations approximately 12 weeks before your wedding day if you are inviting guests to a destination location or out-of-town guests

Just as important as your wedding invitation is the RSVP/Reply Card.  It accompanies the Invitation but serves the purpose of allowing guests to tell you whether they intend to attend your wedding.  They also include meal choices and a date for return which brings me to another point.  Always, self-address the envelope they will be returned with and ALWAYS include a stamp.  You will want to give yourself enough time to gather your final headcount for your venue and caterer, so a general rule of thumb is to make the RSVP date approximately 3 weeks before the wedding.

If you’re reception will be taking place at a location different from the ceremony, you may want to consider including a Reception Card.  It only serves the purpose of telling guests when and where the reception will occur and is only a requirement if you are having a black tie event.  These tend to get bundled with wedding invitations, though we will say they aren’t strictly necessary.

Just as optional as the reception card is the Wedding Map which gives exact directions from your ceremony to the reception venue but with all of the recent technologies in GPS, it’s safe to say most of your guests will know how to get there.

Your Wedding Ceremony and Reception

The easiest way for your guests to follow along with the wedding itinerary is to include a Wedding Program.  The key details on your wedding program should include:

  • Your full names
  • Wedding date
  • City, state, & location of the ceremony
  • The order of the wedding ceremony including musical selections and the first and last name of the composers and performers
  • The readings, the source or author, and the first and last name of the person who will be reading it
  • First and last name of all members of the Wedding party and their relation to you
  • The first and last name of the wedding Officiant’s
  • Thank you note to your parents & guests (optional)
  • A brief explanation of traditions, rituals, & ethic customs for both religious & secular ceremonies (optional)

You may also wish to honor those who have passed or could not join you by including a memorial.  Wedding programs should be ordered as soon as you know all of the information you want included

Pew cards, although not commonly used, are appropriate for super-formal weddings (e.g., with celebrities and dignitaries) and are used to indicate to special guests that they have signed seating.  They are usually enclosed with the invites or mailed once their reservation has been received to ensure the appropriate number of seats. Guests would hand these cards to the usher before they are seated so the usher will be sure to seat the guest in the proper spot

Once the ceremony and cocktail hour has concluded, guests will need to know where they are seated for the reception.  This is the job of your Escort & Place Cards. In an earlier post called:  Placed Cards vs. Escorts Cards we covered the major differences between the two pieces (escort cards allow guests to quickly find their tables and place cards tell guests which chair to sit in once at the table) but depending on your table layout and seating arrangements, these cards may not always be necessary.  If you do, however, include them in your wedding stationery, you will most likely want to have them printed with your invitations.

Next up are the Menu Cards.  I file these under the Nice To Have list because you can typically eliminate the need by including your menu choices on the RSVP card.  However, if dinner is being served buffet-style it may be a good idea to include one table Menu and labels next to each food item at the buffet.

When it’s all said and done, you’ll want to be sure to send a Thank You Card to each guest who participated in your wedding day.  Handwritten cards are ideal and in my opinion, are the only true way to express sincere gratitude and thanks.  Wedding gifts that arrive before your wedding date should be acknowledged immediately while thank you’s for any gifts received during or after the wedding should be sent within two weeks after returning from the honeymoon.

Your wedding stationery is the perfect way to tie details together.  From the save the date to the escort cards, invitations to thank you notes, customized stationery carries the theme throughout the day.  There are, of course, other pieces you may want or need to include in your own wedding stationery suite, but this is a basic list of items to help you begin the fun & exciting process of your wedding invitations!

ABCs of Wedding Planning: [A] is for Announcing Your Wedding

You’ve said “Yes” and naturally you’re on such a high that shouting it from the mountaintops with an amplified bullhorn seems the only appropriate way to announce to the world that YOU’RE GETTING MARRIED!! So it’s only fitting that the first step on your journey down the aisle is the announcement of your engagement.

Ways to Spread the Big News

Traditionally, snail mailed invitations were the only method of spreading the good news but with all of the advancements in technology (and creativity) variety is now truly the spice of life when it comes to the number of ways you’ll have to choose from when announcing your engagement.   The Bride’s parents were usually responsible for creating the wedding buzz but we’ve found that the couple is more often than not taking this task into their own hands or delegating to the MOH to help get the job done.  Here we’ve listed a few based on couple’s personality types:

STILL A TRADITIONALIST AT HEART? Announcing It and Wedding Paper Diva are just two of our fabulous twitter friends who specialize in awesome wedding stationary. Pay them a visit and tell them we sent you.

Sweet and Simple: Publish an announcement in your local newspaper.

photo courtesy of newspaper announcements

Writing your love down in history by publishing the details in a local newspaper is a sentimental and cost effective way making your big announcement.   Select and contact one or two newspapers in your area which will accept your wedding announcement submission.  Upon contacting them you’ll want to ask:

  • What forms are required in order to have your announcement published? Typically, you’ll be asked to provide the location and date of your wedding ceremony, the bride’s maiden name, your parent’s names and city of residence and sometimes, where you will live once you are married.  If you’re allowed to provide additional details about your wedding, consider publishing the names of your bridal party, how you and your fiancé met and where you will be going on your honeymoon.
  • Here is an example of a standard engagement announcement:
    • Mr. and Mrs. John Brown of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania announce the engagement of their daughter, Miss Mary Jane Smith, to Mr. Ryan Edward Brown, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ryan Brown, also of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  An October wedding is planned.
      Miss Smith is a 2001 graduate from Drexel University and is a Marketing Director for KPMG.  Mr. Brown is 1999 graduate from Temple University and is a Financial Investor for PWC.

Socialbfly says: There are also many circumstances where the wording must be changed to reflect the situation of the bride and/or groom. There are many different combinations of situations that can occur so if you have a question about how to word your announcement, please contact us.

  • What size, resolution, and quality photograph do they prefer and can they accept for printing? Once you determine whether high resolution, full color photography is preferred over black and white, you’ll need to select a photo that best captures you and your sweetheart happy, smiling and in love.  Remember to include your name and phone number on the back of the photographs and enclose a SASE if you want the photo returned.  If you don’t have a photo that you think best compliments your announcement, consider scheduling a photo shoot.  If needed, the photographs from the shoot can be repurposed for inclusion on your save the date cards, invitations, and wedding programs and even a slide show.

Once you’ve received your publish date, you’ll want to tell everyone to pick up a copy.  What a sweet way to forever capture your wedding moment in time!


Tech Savvy and Not Afraid to Prove It:  Create a wedding website

The use of wedding websites as a method of announcing your engagement has become a fast-growing trend for several reasons:

photo courtesy of dex knows

  1. It doesn’t take long to register and create an online wedding profile using pictures, wedding details, and your personal love story.
  2. Most sites like the Knot, WeddingWire and Wedding Announcer, are free making it a cost effective and budget friendly alternative.
  3. Not only can you announce your engagement but it also allows for easy ongoing communication regarding your wedding plans to friends and family with the click of a mouse.

A simple email to friends and family asking them to check out the cool new website you’ve found only to learn that that cool new website is their favorite and newly engaged couple is a plan so simple, it’s Genius! Hit send and watch the congratulations pour in.


photo courtesy of your engagement 101

Life of the Party: Throw an Engagement Party

Should you have an engagement party?  Well consider this, gone are the days when couples must have one.  Sure, it’s a great way for both families to get better acquainted but if you are hosting your own, you’ll want to start by carefully assessing your budget.  It is, after all, another party and weddings quickly add up.

You’ll also want to consider your timing.  In terms of the wedding timeline, engagement parties should be planned about 3 months after the official proposal and about a year before the actual wedding date.  If your budget and timing can accommodate an engagement party, then let’s plan a party!!  If your timeline doesn’t allow for that you can also consider celebrating it 6 months before your wedding date but we tend to sway couples away from this decision – there will be several future opportunities to toast to your love leading up to the wedding ceremony.

If you decide to plan a party, you will again be faced with options as an engagement party can take the form of a backyard garden party, formal dinner, intimate home gathering and anything in between.  Regardless of your location, have fun!  The most important goal of your engagement party should be to create a friendly, warm environment that inspires conversation and celebrates you and your fiancé as a newly engaged, soon-to-be-married and super in love couple.

Sidebar: As with formal announcements, the engagement party was the honor of the bride’s parents but today, it’s no longer a faux pas to have a best friend or godparent fulfill this role.  If someone other than the Bride’s parents are planning the engagement party, she should speak with both sets of parents to ensure they are available for the event date.

The Etiquette Behind Announcing Your Engagement

There are some rules of…pardon the pun…[announcing your] engagement!

  • Whom To Tell First and When? If you or your fiancé have children from a previous relationship, you’ll want to start here and you’ll want to handle with care.  After all, imagine how daunting learning that there’s a new daddy in town or that all of a sudden you have older siblings can be.  You’ll want to allow plenty of time for the children to adjust to the change and often times, the old saying “time heals everything” will apply itself as long as there is unwavering love from the biological parent and unconditional support and an genuine attempt to bond from the new one.  Next up are your parents. Traditionally, the bride’s parents are notified first and the groom’s immediately thereafter.  There is no “right” way to tell your parents however whenever possible, face-to-face is always the best policy – it just adds that extra oomph to the excitement factor.  Regardless of how you announce it, the both of you should be present.  I usually recommend that Grandparents, siblings and anyone else who you know would be emotionally devastated at the idea being the last to know be notified. This includes close friends.  Once you’ve completed this roll call, my dear Bride, you are free to tell the world.
  • Who to Invite to the Party? If you decide to host an engagement party, take extra care with your guest list and never invite anyone who will not be invited to the wedding.  It’s just bad social relations.
  • Gifts NOT Required. Not only is it a bad idea to ever mention your requests for gifts on your invitations but it’s important to know that gifts aren’t “regulars” at engagement parties.  If you do, however, receive gifts, wait until after the event to open them and always send a thank you card.

Tell Us How You Announced to the World That You’re Getting Married.

From the moment you said I do you’ve been busting at the seams with the excitement that you’re getting married.  And for good reason – you’ve been fantasizing about it since you were a little girl marrying Barbie to the latest Ken doll (wait…was that just me?). So, don’t you think you should tell us all about how you made the big announcement? Did you throw a surprise engagement party for your guests?  Was a large fireworks display your way of telling the world you said “yes” (don’t laugh…it’s been done)? We want to hear your story.

Other Online Resources: Announcing Your Engagement at Work