The date has been set, and everything is going smoothly, the next step is the invitations. So, when is a good time to send your invites out?
Get organized about a month before your desired send-out date. This should be six to eight weeks before the wedding, allowing your guests adequate time to respond and ensuring that you will get a reliable head count a week or two before the event. The address on a wedding invitation should be handwritten; printed labels are not appropriate (though calligraphy done by computer directly on the envelope is gaining popularity and acceptability).
Confused about addressing?
Though etiquette for addressing and assembling invitations has relaxed, there are still some requirements, which we will outline.
Names and titles:
Your guests’ names should be written in full on outer envelopes — no nicknames or initials. Use the appropriate social titles as well, such as addressing married couples as “Mr. and Mrs.” If a man’s name has a suffix, write “Mr. Joseph Morales, Jr.,” or “Mr. Joseph Morales IV”; “Junior” can be spelled out on a more formal invitation. It gets a little tricky when husband, wife, or both have different professional titles. If the husband is a doctor, for example, the titles will appear as “Doctor and Mrs.”; if the wife is a doctor, her full name would come first, as in “Doctor Sally Carter and Mr. John Carter.” If both are doctors, write “The Doctors Carter.” If they have different professional titles, list the wife first: “The Honorable Pamela Patel and Lieutenant Jonathan Patel, U.S. Navy.” If a wife has kept her maiden name, her name should appear first and be joined with her husband’s using “and.”
Spell out all words in an address on your envelopes. Rather than “St.,” “P.O. Box,” and “Apt.,” use “Street,” “Post Office Box,” and “Apartment.” This applies to city and state names as well; instead of abbreviations, write “Saint Paul, Minnesota” and “Washington, District of Columbia.” House numbers smaller than 20 should also be spelled out.
Write out all words here, too. The preferred place for printing the return address is on the envelope’s back flap. Traditional etiquette called for blind embossing, or colorless raised lettering, for wedding invitations; the idea behind this was that guests would get their first glimpse of the fancy engraving on the invitation itself. Blind embossing is still available, although the United States Postal Service discourages it, as it is difficult to read; today, most couples have the return address printed in the same method as their invitations.