Save The Dates and Invitations – Timeline and Etiquette

Once you have set the date for your wedding and secured your venue, it’s never too early to start putting together your guest list and collecting addresses for your Save the Dates and wedding invitations. 

There is a lot of etiquette to consider, so review our pro tips on timing to the best way to address each one based on the guests’ marital status, professional titles or living arrangements.


Pro Tips



  1.     Timelines
  • Save The Dates

Sending your Save The Date 8-12 months out is perfectly acceptable. Your guests will appreciate being able to plan ahead.


       Before sending your Save The Dates, you should have a few things set:

  • Your wedding website with at least some basic information. You can always add more details as you go. But you will want to include your website domain on your Save The Date. 
  • Hotel Information. We recommend setting up hotel blocks and custom booking links before mailing the Save the Dates. Guests may begin making their travel plans and book well in advance, accessing those links through your website.


One thing to keep in mind: everyone who receives a Save The Date, must also receive an invitation. Once the Save The Dates go out, you cannot remove guests from that list, though adding is always acceptable.


  • Wedding invitations should be addressed and mailed six to eight weeks prior to the wedding. If it is a destination wedding, sending invitations three months in advance is preferred to provide guests additional time to plan their travel and accommodations. 



  1.     How to Address Envelopes

The outer envelope should always be formally addressed. However, if you are using double envelopes, the inner envelope can be more personal. 

The inner envelope addressing is based on the guest’s relationship to the host. Whether it’s the Bride & Groom as hosts or, the parents of the bride, you can use familial tags is such Grandma, Uncle, Aunt, etc. The inner envelope is also where children are addressed. See below on how to include, or not include children on the invitation.


If you are including children, their names should be included on the inner envelope, after the parents name, in order from oldest to youngest. If you prefer no children at your wedding, omitting the children’s names is a polite way of saying “no children.” Children living at home over the age of 18 should receive their own separate invitation.


  1.     Using the Correct Salutation

There are millions of ways to address an envelope. However, per wedding invitation envelope etiquette, there are some specific cues related to marital status, professional association and lifestyle that impact the salutation.


If the guests are married:

      Traditional Married Invite:

o   Mr. and Mrs. Tyler Cox (formal) OR Brie and TJ Cox (informal)

      Married with Children: list the children’s names below their parents with no last name. Oldest to youngest 

Mr. and Mrs. Tyler Cox

[ line 2 ] Leia

      Married Couple with Different Last Names:

o   Ms. Brie Lowry and Mr. Tyler Cox

      Married Couple, and wife is a doctor with Same Last Names: Dr. always precedes whether male or female 

o   Dr. Brie Cox and Mr. Tyler Cox

      Married Couple and both doctors with Same Last Name:

o   Drs. Brie & Tyler Cox or The Doctors Cox

      Married Couple, both doctors, and Different Last Name:

o   Dr. Brie Lowry and Dr. Tyler Cox

      The Modern Approach to Addressing the Invite: drop the titles all together

o   Brie & TJ Cox


For single adults:

It is your choice as the guests of honor along with the hosts to decide if those invited may bring a plus one. In the event you extend that invitation, the “guest” or “escort” salutation should be used and always be lower case. Additionally, you should always use ‘and’ not the ampersand (&).

We recommend inviting a ‘plus one’ for anyone in a relationship one year or longer. 


      For a single woman, choose either Miss or Ms. and, if they are to invite  plus one, add “and guest/Escort.” i.e.: Miss Brie Lowry and guest

–    For a single, divorced women who keep their married name, they are to be addressed as Ms. 

      For a single man, the same rules apply, using Mr. ie: Mr. Tyler Cox and Escort


For unmarried couples living together:

Because these guests are not married, omit the word “and” by using two lines for the salutation. We also recommend listing the names either alphabetically or with the member of the household who is closest to the celebratory couple. For example, an unmarried, but engaged couple living together would have the following salutation:

Ms. Brie Lowry

Mr. Tyler Cox

Or, if engaged, The future Mr. and Mrs. Tyler Cox 

If the style is more casual and salutations are omitted – the ladies name goes first, Brie and Tyler Cox, and the man’s first name is not to be separated from his last name. 


  1.     How to use “And”.

As a general note, the word “and” signifies that the guests are married. For guests who are unmarried but invited together, their names should be on two lines. When a guest invitation is extended, the word “and” should be used.


  1.     Using Mrs. correctly.

Most people do not know the appropriate use of Mrs. for a salutation. On wedding invitations, Mrs. denotes a widowed or married woman. If the woman is divorced but keeps her husband’s last name, her invitation would read “Mrs. [or Ms.] Brie Cox.” If divorced and reverting to her maiden name, “Ms.” is appropriate, as in “Ms. Brie Lowry.” If the woman was widowed, Mrs. should be used with her husband’s name. The invitation would then read “Mrs. Tyler Cox,” but if you feel the guest may not want to be addressed that way, it’s completely acceptable to ask her how she prefers to be addressed. The only other time to use ‘Mrs.’ is for a traditional married couple’s salutation.


  1.     Double check the postage & Invite the Groom!

We ALWAYS recommend confirming postage needed. First, take a complete invitation, including envelope, reply card, and any additional inserts to the post office to have them verify the amount of postage needed. Square and oversized invitations cost more to mail along with invitations that don’t bend. These are considered “a package “ and invitations with a fancy wax seal will need to be hand counted and sorted since they won’t go through the postage meter. Given the number of variables, we suggest a test run. Invite the groom! More commonly than not, the Groom never receives an invitation to his own wedding. Send one to the groom to make sure that all postage rates are assessed correctly and that it arrives in a timely manner! Bonus? His face will light up when he receives an invitation.


For assistance in planning, designing and creating a wedding that is authentically your own, contact the award winning team at Christina Baxter Wedding & Events today. Our team will guide you through the etiquette and provide the luxury of stress free wedding planning. Schedule a complimentary consultation by calling 843.749.2807 or email