Who issues the wedding invitation?

Friday, June 16th, 2017

letterpress wedding invitation

I have a friend out of town who is planning her wedding, and she picks my brain by text message from time to time. I love to help her and think of it as an extra little gift I’m giving her for her wedding. Recently one of her questions was this: who issues the wedding invitation? Specifically, if you have stepparents, are their names included on the host line?

The answer to the first question, “who issues the wedding invitation,” is this: either you and your fiancée, you and your fiancée with your parents, or your  parents issue the invitation.

To the second question, “are stepparents included?” Stepparents are traditionally not included on the host line. Of course there are exceptions (the death of a parent, a stepparent becoming an adoptive parent, etc.), but in straightforward circumstances where you have a set of divorced parents co-hosting a wedding, only their names are listed on the invitation. Easy enough, right? Not always. A lot of emotions come up during wedding planning, and often those show up when the wedding invitation is being drafted. Ultimately etiquette exists to help people be gracious to one another and to provide some sort of social norm. If etiquette is telling you to do something that is going to hurt a close family member, deviate! However, if your family and your circle of friends prefers tradition and are comfortable with the standard rules regarding wedding invitation text, you’d likely refer to the guidelines below. My favorite resource for topics like this is The Wedding Blue Book by Crane & Co. I can’t recommend it highly enough!

A few options:

The first is the most traditional, where the invitation is issued from a set of divorced parents. The mother is remarried. In this case, the parents are hosting the event:

Ms. Jane Doe (mother)

Mr. John Smith (father)

request the honor of your presence

at the marriage of their daughter…


The second example below is where the invitation is issued from the couple with their families. The couple and the parents are hosting the event together:

Together with their families

Bride’s name


Groom’s name

request the honor of your presence 

at their marriage…


The third example below is where the bride and groom are hosting the wedding and issuing the invitation:

Bride’s name 


Groom’s name

request the honor of your presence 

at their marriage

There are many specific cases (widowed bride, divorced bride) that would change the wording above, but traditionally, these are the formats we see most often.

The line “request the honor” indicates that the ceremony will take place in a house of worship. You can also use the English spelling “honour” to inject more formality into your invitation. If you were not being married in a house of worship, you would use the line “request the pleasure of your company,” as in the image above taken by Katie Stoops for a shoot we did at Tuckahoe Plantation for Southern Weddings Magazine. The invitation was designed by The Lettered Olive.


5 things to do before you mail your wedding invitations

Thursday, March 9th, 2017


vintage wedding stamps

Wedding invitations should be mailed six to eight weeks before the date. Before mailing yours, be sure you’ve completed these last few tasks.

1. Budget a month to complete invitation assembly and addressing. Often we work with calligraphers who are out of town, so we’re sure to build time into our schedule for shipping envelopes back and forth. You may not be using a calligrapher; beautiful handwriting is just fine. Whatever method you’re using, you will need about a month to address, assemble and mail.

2. Proof read your address list, and always remember to spell it out. State names, street quadrants (“northwest”), the word “apartment,” suffixes, such as “junior,” should all be spelled out, not abbreviated.

3. Assemble your suite. Your invitation will be on the bottom, face side up, with enclosures, organized largest to smallest, on top of the invitation. The response card should be tucked into its stamped return envelope, print side up. Typically the order is: wedding invitation, reception card, reply card in envelope. You may have more enclosures. Order them by size.

4. Weigh one complete invitation set at the post office to be sure you’re using the correct postage.

5. Make sure all of your response card envelopes are stamped with return postage. Bonus points: number response cards so you know who they belong to in case a guest forgets to write her name.


photo katie stoops

How to format your address list for your calligrapher

Saturday, January 14th, 2017

bohemian invitation suite

You’re nearly finished! You’ve approved your invitation design, materials will soon go to print, and envelopes are on their way to your calligrapher. Next up: sending a properly formatted address list to your calligrapher.

Although the calligrapher with whom you’re working may have her own system and requirements, over the years we’ve noticed some standard requirements as it pertains to address list formatting:

1. Send a typed list in a word document, not a spreadsheet

2. The list should be in address label format, as below, max three columns

3. Use a legible font, such as Times New Roman, 12 pt

4. Alphabetize your list

5. If you have changes or updates to addresses after the initial list has been sent to your calligrapher, send changes and updates by email. Do not send a new, revised list. Updated drafts cause confusion.

This is what is meant by address label format:
Miss Sally Sue
14 Sunshine Street
Sunnyville, California 23456

Happy mailing! xoxo



photo katie stoops

crystal clear

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

alison events_acrylic wedding signage acrylic ghost chairs weddingrachael ellen events_acrylic wedding signageTwinkle Toast_acrylic escort table cards weddingsouthern fried paper_acrylic laser cut wedding invitation

We love how these chic acrylic accents add a quick dose of glamour to parties!



1- Alison Events; 2- KT Merry + Strawberry Milk Events; 3- Rachel Ellen Events + Jessica Kettle Photography; 4- Table cards designed by Twinkle & Toast via Exquisite Weddings Magazine; 5- Southern Fried Paper + Thisbe Grace Photography

Tie one on

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

tassel table cards wedding_photo liz banfieldtassel wedding inspiration_merriment events katie stoopstassel_hotel key_stitch design companytassel wedding inspiration_a bryan photo calder clark tassel_stitch design company

Nothing quite as charming as these playful and fun tassels!



table cards photographed by liz banfield; 2 tassel bunting merriment events + katie stoops; 3+ 5 stitch design company; 4 calder clark & a bryan photo

artist we love: claire hill

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

38152b_0d7bf8d83d684283980d093433f15cf0 38152b_642de2e1555f4841b752a7d9eed61e66NightCap BMaidLuncheon38152b_870feeefa8574f6ba105c258abf6ccc9

I had the good fortune of discovering Claire Hill’s work last year at Fraîche, where her Richmond prints are sold (second image from the top). Claire has been an artist for as long as she can remember. After earning a BFA with a concentration in painting, she returned to her hometown of Richmond, where she has focused on producing custom pen & ink architectural drawings, paintings, portraits and custom calligraphy & illustration for weddings. Of her wedding work, Claire says custom invitations with illustrations are her favorite kind of commission because “they are more fun and leave a lot of room for creative freedom!” I just love all of the details Claire incorporates into her work, giving each piece a unmistakable sense of place — the dogwoods, cardinals and architectural elements. And the energy and happiness of her calligraphy is contagious! Thanks for sharing your work, Claire! xo

Brittany and Andrew featured on Martha Stewart Weddings

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015


Fall Wedding Inspiration


It was such a joy to help one of our nearest and dearest plan her wedding, which took place on a chilly day last November at Tuckahoe Plantation. Brittany has worked with me for more than five years as my lead production assistant, and as you might expect we’ve been planning her wedding for some time. (Maybe before she found the groom? shhh!) To see more of the details and get the full scoop, pop over to Martha Stewart Weddings!

{photo by Katie Stoops; Invitation Design by Parrott Design Studio}

happy notes

Monday, March 5th, 2012

tokketok happy notestokketok happy notes

Loving these “happy notes” recently added to the Tokketok shop. Joke is such a talented designer and her blog is full of clever d.i.y. projects. Always so excited to see what she’s crafting!




styling by chelsea fuss; photography by lisa warninger; papergoods by tokketok

wedding certificates

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Quaker Style Wedding Certificate

There are so many fun ways to present guestbooks at receptions, but one of our favorite ways to capture the names of guests in attendance is the Quaker-style wedding certificate. It’s better than many other versions of the guest book, in our opinion, because it can be framed and admired for years to come.

There are many ways to design a wedding certificate, from the very traditional, where the vows, date and wedding location are listed, to more modern versions that may only list the bride and groom’s names at the top in a decorative manner along with a quote or poem.

No matter how you choose to embellish your certificate, there are a few things that are standard certificate to certificate. Two lines are typically reserved at the top of the page for the bride and groom. Since in the Quaker tradition, the bride and groom marry one another in the presence of friends and family, there would not be a line for the minister on a true Quaker certificate, but you could add that line to yours just beneath the bride and groom’s signature lines.  General signature lines follow  and are often introduced by copy that reads, “as witnessed by our friends and family,” or some version thereof.

The design of the certificate above included details that were sentimental for the bride and groom: Montauk daisies to remind the bride of where she grew up and to nod to the groom’s proposal and dogwood blossoms for Virginia, where their wedding took place. It’s those sort of sentimental details that mean so much. Below, guests sign Alex and Paul’s certificate at their outdoor reception at Maymont.

certificate designed by Miss Pickles Press; image by Don Mears


pattern play

Friday, January 13th, 2012

I’m adoring the wallpaper story in the current issue of Martha Stewart Weddings, but I’m a total wallpaper junkie. Every surface in my house would be covered in paper if I had my way. Whether you’re interested in adding a bit of pattern to your invitations, creating a backdrop for a photo booth, lining serving trays, creating a unique escort card display, making drink flags or backing programs, vintage and modern wallpapers offer myriad ways to personalize the design elements of your event. There are literally thousands of ways to use patterned paper! And the great thing about wallpaper is that one roll will really go a long way toward all of your paper projects.

If vintage is more your style, Etsy is a treasure trove for vintage wallcoverings. Elements of Style (have you seen the invitation that employed a blue and white pattern from Erin’s shop?) and colleenabean are two of my favorites. Secondhand Rose is also a go-to for vintage papers, while Schumacher is a modern love of mine.