We’ve already explained how to write the perfect wedding invitation, but for both halves of any prospective married couple there’s also the looming prospect of stag or hen dos to think about.
Whether you’re the handsome groom, the blushing bride or one partner in a non-binary relationship, it’s likely that your ‘so-called friends’ are going to want to take you out and get you royally shit-faced in the last weeks of singledom leading up to your marriage. Your ‘do’ may be a week-long alcoholic binge-fest in Marbs, or a sedate weekend at a health spa, but either way someone’s gonna need to organise the whole shebang and get some invitations out to the prospective stags/hens/drunken animals of your choice.
Usually, it’s gonna be your bezzie mate, or the lucky person you’ve chosen to be your best man/maid of honour, but we’ll leave it up to you who gets the dubious honour of being Chief Organiser.
So here’s our tips for getting the invite to your pre-wedding shindig in shape…
- Decide early what your communication medium will be: are you going to do this all through old-school email, or are you going to set up a Facebook event where your stags/hens/weasels can click to show they’re attending and add comments, photos and their emojis of choice? If you’re feeling really 21st century, you could even set up a WhatsApp group – the world is your social media oyster.
- Check with your hen/stag/weasel what they want and who they want there. Of course you can throw in a few surprises, but the aim is for them to have a good time, and waving a weasel in someone’s face may only appeal to a select few (Ed: Mainly other weasels, having a weasely good time). Remember broad appeal across age ranges, an evening or early hours opt-out is good for those that just aren’t able fiscally or physically to keep up the pace.
- Draft your invite clearly and simply. The main things you’re going to want to include are: the dates when it’s happening, the location you’ve chosen, the accommodation you’ve booked and – crucially – how much it’s going to cost. Your group of assorted wild animals will want to know a budget and what they’re getting for their money, so make it clear.
- Include instructions on how to pay you for any outlay you’ve made, and include bank or PayPal details to make it as easy as possible. Explain that you’re out of pocket, that each person owes you £X amount and that you need paying by a certain date. Set a deadline for payment or you’ll still be chasing Barry ‘Smudger’ Jenkins for his £250 come Christmas time.
- Include an itinerary for the day/weekend/week that you’re all going to be away. Again, keep it simple, but include the main dates, the activities you’ll be doing and get anyone who’s not happy with the go-karting/Swedish massage option to let you know ASAP.
- Get overly complicated and in-depth with the detail of your activities. Yes, there’s a lot of drinking, eating and blowing up inflatable willies/breasts to do, but you can sort out the details once you’re at the hotel. Your invite and itinerary are there to give people a flavour of what they’re signing up for – it’s not a military operation!
- Insist on everyone on the hen/stag/weasel do having a wacky nickname. Post-Brexit, the British people have gone down enough in the estimation of the rest of Europe, so the last thing Prague or Madrid needs is Shagger and The Cock Monster shouting across their city squares and then falling into a fountain.
- As per the previous point, don’t get t-shirts printed with your group’s wacky nicknames on the back and ‘Boys/Girls On Tour 2017’ emblazoned across the back. Enjoy yourself, have a blast but don’t make your group stand out like a sore thumb.
- Forget to include the cost and your payment details. It really is VITAL if you’re not gonna end up paying for at least five of your party to have a free holiday. Friends may be friends, but people are very conveniently forgetful when it comes to coughing up the money they owe.
You’ve heard the heavyweight envelope drop through the letterbox. And you’ve seen the expensive-looking and elaborately designed wedding invitation that lurks within, in all its ornate glory. Now it’s time to reply to that invitation and get your RSVP back to the happy couple. (Ed: for the RSVP virgins out there, RSVP stands for ‘Répondez, s’il vous plait’, which is French for ‘please reply’ – we’re SO continental!).
But beware, replying to a wedding invite isn’t an occasion where a hastily typed ‘I’ll be there with bells on!!’ will suffice. As with all things relating to weddings, there’s a protocol to these things. So here’s how to reply without offending the bride, outraging the groom or starting a family argument over the seating plan.
- Be timely. More than anything you need to get your response back promptly and absolutely before the date shown on the invite. Yes we know you’re busy too, sitters to arrange all that, but planning a wedding can be like organising a small well-behaved coup – so give the couple a break and respond quickly.
- Be clear on who’s coming. If you’re bringing a guest, state who. Even if it’s obvious that it’s your new fella Jeff that you’ve been seeing for 3 months, don’t make the organisers guess whether it’s on or off again.
- Follow any instructions on the RSVP. If they want you to tick a box, tick a box (Ed; even though we know you’re not the kind that likes to be put in a box, as your cat Schrodinger keeps reminding you). If it says email someone’s mum, go ahead and email Mildred. If it says good old-fashioned post then, yes, you may need to make a trip to the shops to procure some stamps.
- Put a list of demands of what you need. You’re a guest, it’s nice that you’ve been invited. If you have certain dietary needs just state them clearly, but don’t insist on organic locally sourced free-range hummus. It’s their wedding, not yours.
- Try and weasel in extra guests. Be it your children or Great Auntie Betty from the outer Hebrides. The couple have taken a long time planning their numbers and have a budget they need to stick to. If it honestly clashes with something else, then just say so and regretfully decline. The last thing a couple needs in the run-up is you begging to bring extra people along, remember you’re not the only guest who might be in this predicament.
- Go, if you don’t want to. If you’re really not keen on the couple then don’t attend, just be polite, return your ‘no’ and leave them be. Very few couples will moan that their guest list is smaller.
- Get uppity, if you’ve clearly been put on a reserve list. Remember, in most instances, that family and close friends come first, then work colleagues, then George the friendly butcher. Don’t be put out – and if you are, don’t say so, just decline. (Ed: And if you’re George, please bring sausages).
If you’re a happy bride/groom reading this and worrying about how to write the perfect wedding invitation, we’ve got all the dos and don’ts you need here.
Weddings, eh. A social occasion much beloved by aunties, drunk uncles and teary eyed parents the world over – and for the rest of us an excuse for a massive shindig at dad’s expense.
If you and your life partner have decided to make it all official and tie the knot, you’re going to need to write that all important invite for the big day. Many months of preparation will go into making this day go with a bang, and equal amounts of care, attention and design skill will go into perfecting the ideal wedding invitation too.
So if you want to guarantee a speedy RSVP, and a lingering feeling that this is going to be the wedding of the century, here’s the lowdown on writing that invite.
- Be clear about the essential details: When? Where? What time? That’s the holy trinity you need to get right. Think ‘www or world wide web’, or ‘wedding will work’ if that helps keep this mantra clear in your head. It’s also probably a good idea to include your names, so people know who’s getting married. You can go formal if you want but remember your mates might not know you as the honourable Alistair and Archibald, so sticking with Al and Archie is just dandy.
- State that you need RSVPs (Ed: for the uninitiated, RSVP stands for répondez, s’il nous plait, which is swanky French talk for ‘please reply’). Ultimately, just state somewhere on the invite that you need replies and, most importantly, by when. Feel free to include an RSVP card, so people don’t have to raid their drawers for lavender scented notelets (yes, these we are a thing).
- Indicate if the invite is for the person or persons named only, or includes any ‘plus ones’. Standard etiquette is that plus ones are referred to as ‘and guest’, which hopefully negates your mate Sandra turning up with half the rugby club.
- Be very clear whether or not children are allowed. It’s perfectly reasonable to have an adult-only do, but be aware that this may limit your guests’ attendance, or time spent with you. But if you don’t want the little buggers running round the dancefloor singing the theme from Justin’s House, make it very clear.
- Put extra details like gift registries, directions or more info about the style of your wedding something other than the invite. You could even set up a wedding website, if that’s your kinda thing and you have lots of young, hip and trendy types coming along (Ed: get us – hip and trendy!). However, do ensure you also include this information on a standard bit of paper that can be passed to older or technophobe relatives who won’t know their internets from their fishnets.
- Be sappy and overly sentimental. Yes, we know romance is wonderful and you’ve found the love of your life and it’s all white doves, soulful sunsets and UTIs from all the shagging, but there is nothing more irritating to the rest of us than sickening displays of affection. We’re British (Ed: not you, overseas readers!) – so that’s reserved for dogs and John Lewis’ adverts.
- Use a font that’s so curly, antique or otherwise ‘fancy’ that no bugger can read it – you do want us to come don’t you?
- Get so worked up about etiquette that you mix up your Madams with your Sirs, your ten o’clock with your 2pm or your wedding breakfast for the evening buffet. Ultimately, you want this group of people, let’s call them A, to turn up to a place you have chosen, let’s call that B, at an appropriate time, let’s call that C – and generally you want to have a good time. So ultimately It’s Dear A, Please go to place B, at C and we’ll have a jolly old shindig, wot ho!
- Be too prescriptive – be it clothing choices, colour schemes or matter of arrival Your guests are here to enjoy your big day with you, not be part of a military siege to take over Marylebone Registry Office, complete with a SWAT team of ushers.