March 19, 2008

Reading List : Invitation Wording & Etiquette

As a stationer, I am often asked to guide customers through the sometimes daunting task of wording their invitations. My approach to invitation etiquette: know the rules so you can decide when to bend them. It helps to have some time-honored references to turn to. That said, here are some of my favorite resources.

The Wedding Invitation Handbook, by Julie Holcomb
Indispensable. I turn to this book regularly for it's balance of traditional etiquette and contemporary style. In addition to providing sample wording for all types of situations, this book reinforces the idea that it's o.k. to bend the rules when the situation calls for it. It's also one of the first mainstream invitation guides I know of to provide sample wording for commitment ceremonies. Available from Plus And Press.

Crane's Wedding Blue Book
A wonderful reference for traditional wording and etiquette. It is particularly helpful with diplomatic and military titles. I bought mine at Kate's Paperie in New York, however this title is very common and should be available at any well-stocked bookseller. (Crane's also reproduces most of the content on their own website,

Emily Post's Etiquette, by Peggy Post
A great all-around etiquette guide. Skip the abbreviated wedding version - this is a general reference every well-mannered household should own. The current 17th edition is available from

Wedding Invitations, by Jennifer Cegielski
I often recommend this beautifully illustrated book to anyone who is just beginning their invitation search because it does a wonderful job of explaining the many printing, paper and style options used for modern wedding invitations and offers sound advice on what to expect from your stationer. This guide also includes more information than most about how to address, assemble and mail your invitations. Also available from