Good Manners Will Get You Everywhere

by | Inspired Plans, Weddings


Miss T

Invitations are the first contact you have with your guests regarding your wedding. It will indicate to them the type and style of event, and although you need not spend a lot of money to make them look good, it is important to convey to your guests the courtesies of a host.  There is good reason that there are so many rules of etiquette relating to invitations, but there are also many that are anachronistic, illogical and irrelevant. If you consider each rule in light of whether it shows consideration for your guests and common sense, you can’t go far wrong. - Save the Date. You're on our B-List.

Not an acceptable invitation. Image by

Miss T’s Top Three Tips on Invitation Etiquette

1. Who’s invited?

Invitees only are listed on invitations. I’m with Emily Post on this one, who says: “May I bring? Don’t even ask! An invitation is extended to the people the hosts want to invite—and no one else”. This applies to adults and children. If you choose to have an adults-only event (gosh that sounds naughty), make sure that you are consistent with the line you draw about any children you do wish to attend. But remember that as a matter of common sense, infants and breastfeeding babies are an exception to the ‘no kids’ rule. There is a school of thought that decries the inclusion of words to the effect of ‘no children’ on written invitations, on the grounds that invitations should say who is, not isn’t, invited. Although I theoretically agree with this, you may need to clarify who your guests think they are replying for when you receive their RSVP (“Thank you for your RSVP – I’m so glad that you and Mrs Tiddliwink can attend”). Also spread by word of mouth.

Not my hen's night ... but inventive!

This isn’t my hen’s night … but I’m pretty impressed. Etiquette-wise it’s not too far off the mark, which isn’t bad considering it’s a pair of candy pink heels. Image sourced from Manolo for The Brides.

2. Any information beyond who, what, when and where should go on an information card, for visual purposes if nothing else. On to the matter of letting your guests know where you are registered.

There is a vocal group who maintain that it is the height of squeamish bad manners to put any information about registries or gifts with your invitations as it assumes that you will receive gifts. Instead you are meant to quietly spread the word about where you are registered and assume that people will Google you to find out where to go, or include the information on your wedding website, where it is acceptable.

This is tripe and hogwash of the worst kind, and misguided snobbery to boot.

Let me remind you that up until about 15 years ago registries themselves were considered to be the utter end of all manners and extremely tacky, so it’s a bit rich to say now that there’s a whole lore of ironclad etiquette around them.  Sneaking about to include a roundabout way to access the mysterious gift registry – that you can’t acknowledge exists that contains the things you want but can’t say you want but that you registered for anyway so that your guests can buy you a gift even though you can’t acknowledge that they will – is ridiculous at best and disingenuous at worst. This is a clear case in which to apply both common sense and consideration for your guests.

If you already own every KitchenAid and Le Crueset you’ll ever want and instead would prefer cash or a contribution to your honeymoon fund, it may be unpalatable to put account details on the information card but be sensible here – you can’t expect your poor mum to memorise your BSB and account number and give it out to anyone who enquires. The inclusion of this information may be blunt but it is helpful for your guests.

*Disclaimer: Be sensible with it all. Don’t have a registry with gifts only $200 above. Be a gracious host and expect that not everyone has the funds to both attend your wedding and buy you a gift. Just don’t pretend that it’s polite to pretend to hide your registry in a place you want people to find it, is all. - We're getting married! We are registered at: Gucci, Dior, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Hermes and Cartier. Strictly. Or Else.

This isn’t acceptable either. Image by

3. Dress code.

Although Emily Post considers that the time and style of the invitation should indicate the dress code, to save yourself a lot of bother and for your guest’s ease of reference, a dress code is an appropriate inclusion on an invitation. Noting that ‘code’ means something like ‘cocktail’ or ‘black tie’, not a specific set of rules or acceptable colour schemes.

You can most certainly command the wearing of any sort of silly hat you want if you are the future Duchess of Cambridge. Image sourced from Royal World.

And finally, the rules of etiquette also apply to you as a recipient of an invitation – RSVP to the right place, on time, and promptly.  Turn up on time wearing appropriate clothing, behave with decorum and say please and thank you.

Good manners will get you everywhere.

Ms Gingham says: Some very interesting insights to commonly pondered over issues. Thanks to Miss T for some fabulous recommendations.

Miss T says: Organised to the max; fan of all things sparkly and organic; vegan (but no hemp or dreadlocks); proud mama to a Chihuahua princeling and two snooty cats; drinker of beer; and thrilled to her little cotton socks to be marrying the sweet, silly, smart and snuggly Buzz.

Read more by Miss T here.

  • Laura G says:
    June 29, 2011 at 2:44 am

    This post came at a perfect time for me as my fiancé and I were deciding whether or not to include registry cards. Before planning my wedding I never knew it was “proper etiquette” to not include registry information since I have seen it in many invitations I have received. I think if done tastefully it helps the guests out a lot!

  • Miss T says:
    June 29, 2011 at 6:58 am

    Oh hooray! I’m glad it was helpful. I just think that if you can overcome the idea that you’re ‘asking’ for gifts, then you can start seeing the inclusion of gift suggestions as really just providing some ideas that would be welcomed and preventing you receiving a direct enquiry from every single guest which is a hassle for them and you. I also think that expecting guests to hunt around and make enquiries about your registry assumes that they have a lot of time to spend on your wedding, which overinflates its importance (to them, anyway)! Good luck with your planning!

    • Polka Dot Bride says:
      June 30, 2011 at 7:09 pm

      Mr P came up with a not registry registry idea! I actually like it- what if there was a system where people registered what they were planning to give you instead of what you wanted?

      Nightmare logistically for a software developer 😉 But as someone who is not picky about gifts and just thankful for the thought behind it, I like the idea of having a place guests can go and see that someone else has already bought that toaster so perhaps they’ll think of something else.. or somebody else already bought them beautiful towels..oh but they forgot the beach towels.. let’s do that!

  • Alicia Parsons | Akimbo says:
    June 29, 2011 at 8:57 am

    Hooray for common sense! I cringe whenever I see etiquette articles that state you can only provide registry information by word of mouth. Because, you know, your maid of honour quite often chats to your second cousin, and your mum is great friends with your work buddies.

  • Miss T says:
    June 29, 2011 at 9:04 am

    Haha! And also because the registry location should only be found after an extensive treasure hunt, the degree of difficulty of which should equal no less than 8.0 and involve translation from two dead languages and the decryption of a cipher, and it will be taken that only the successful hunters actually love you. And because putting your guests to trouble and expecting them to dedicate their time and resources into just finding the list you’ve already prepared is very considerate, of course 😉

  • Alicia Parsons | Akimbo says:
    June 29, 2011 at 9:10 am

    Well that’s just the considerate thing to do, naturally 😉

  • Nat @ Dear Little House says:
    June 29, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    Dress code is a must to include! I went to a daytime engagement party once in a nice summer frock and heels only to realise that everyone else was in shorts, singlets and thongs. To make matters worse I only knew the couple. Talk about embarrassing! I guess at least I wasn’t under dressed.

  • Amma // Beyond Beyond says:
    June 30, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    Woop woop! I feel very honoured as the candy pink heels are my invitation design 🙂 Glad you like them.

  • Miss T says:
    June 30, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    Haha they’re awesome Amma! You must have put so much time an effort into them. Lucky Hen!! And it just goes to show that good etiquette can be seen in all manner of invitations – not just the engraved cream heavy stock ones in lined hand-addressed envelopes! Etiquette for the modern age FTW!

  • Miss T says:
    June 30, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    @Nat- we went to a bowls club wedding and were told to dress for bowls and we did … Everyone else dressed for a garden wedding! I would always prefer to be over- than underdressed.

    • Polka Dot Bride says:
      June 30, 2011 at 7:07 pm

      I am ALWAYS over dressed.. I’m always in a dress and heels (hey I’m a blogger, I take every chance I can get!) with makeup and jewels on. I figure I have so many beautiful things I need to take the chance to wear them.

      Plus I a also of the opinion that it’s a bit of a sign of respect to the host how you dress- I would have been at that event in the exact same thing 🙂

  • Jessica says:
    July 4, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    Our invitations included all the details including a map to the wedding location, a gift registry card and even suggestions for accommodation nearby. However we didn’t put a dress code on the invitation as I assumed that people understood the expecations for a wedding. Unfortunately, I received some fairly critical remarks from guests commenting on one of the family members appearance (dressed in a worn out shirt and their daughter wearing gumboots). Their appearance didn’t affect our wedding day at all but the snarl remarks did… maybe a dress code wasn’t such a bad idea after all.

  • Miss T says:
    July 4, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    Oh that’s sad Jessica – a terrible breach of etiquette to comment on other guests’ appearance, especially to the bride! I think it’s terribly disrespectful to not dress appropriately at a wedding – after all, you don’t turn up to work in your PJs so you shouldn’t attend one of the most important days of someone else’s life dressed as if you were popping out to the shops halfway through cleaning the bathroom – but it is really crass and thoughtless to comment on someone else’s attire when you don’t know their situation at all.

  • Ms Gingham says:
    July 5, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    See that’s where Greek weddings don’t have a problem. There is no question about the dress code. We over dress at weddings as a rule of thumb. Generally two outfits, one for the ceremony and then change for the reception. OTT as with everything we do! 😀

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