Manners & Misdemeanors
A Word About Wedding Invitation Etiquette
Is it ever socially acceptable to send an e-vite?

With wedding season upon us, many young couples will be faced with the great invitation debate: Should you go paper or paperless?

Assuming you will not be repeating this ritual multiple times over the course of your existence, why not spring for engraved cards, sent snail mail, and addressed by a calligrapher? It’s costly to be certain but think of it as an investment in elegance.

Your invitation sets the tone for the entire event. If you are going to the local justice of the peace, then gathering 40 friends at the local bistro, an e-vite festooned with doves holding a garland of flowers in their beaks will indeed suffice. If on the other hand, you are having a full-on religious ceremony with sit-down dinner and dancing to follow (or, in the British tradition, an elegant pre-noon affair with groomsmen in “morning suits” and formal breakfast) you want an invitation consistent with the rest of the event. In such cases, nothing says “skimping” like an e-vite, however cute the doves are.

Engraved invitations also serve as magnificent keepsakes for you and your guests. I’ve known brides who created invitations based on Blue Willow china patterns and carried the motif through the wedding décor (in lieu of the tried-and-true “black on ecru” invite.) The effect was nothing short of magical, and the invitation served as a beautiful foreshadowing of the glories to come. Should your relationship not make it 'till death do you part, well, you will have a permanent memory of what was…that you can burn in effigy when the divorce papers come through.

A note to recipients of invitations: Whether electronic or engraved, read the envelope carefully. If you are single: Unless it says “Your name and guest,” it is meant for you and you alone, not “you and random hottie you met at Electric Studio.” If you are a family member and your five children were not listed, do not show up with your brood. Weddings are expensive affairs. The couple loves your children, they just may not want to feed and wrangle them in the course of what is intended as a formal, adult affair, and one of the most important nights of their lives. Do not take it personally. Treat it as an opportunity to have a lovely date night with your spouse.

This story originally appeared on
* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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