I hope that everyone had a lovely mother’s day this past weekend. Over the weekend one of my friends told me that she received a wedding invitation by email and was perplexed with the proper etiquette for a response. I cringed! Well, anyone that knows me, knows that I am HUGE paper snob! I make no if, ands, or buts about it. I love all beautiful stationery and truly believe that your stationery makes a statement about YOU and YOUR EVENT. So an email wedding invitation is beyond tacky to me. So, I went straight to the source, Emily Post, she says it a lot nicer than I would have. 😉 Here are you go!
Emily Post’s Wedding Etiquette, Email No’s & Go’s
Is it OK to use E-mail?
The first thing to remember about e-mail is that just because you can send an email, doesn’t mean you should. The more formal the communication, the less it is appropriate for email. A good “formality test” for email is this: if you would be comfortable extending the invitation over the phone, then e-mail is acceptable. E-mail is not the place for highly personal or delicate communications, which are best handled in a real-time conversation. Remember, too, that e-mails are not private. You should never put anything in an email that you are not willing to have the whole world read.
Wedding invitations. You should always send each guest a printed invitation unless it is a highly unusual circumstance, such as your fiancé has just been posted overseas and have decided to marry before he leaves.
Thank you notes. You should send a handwritten note for each gift you receive. If you are behind, you can send an e-mail as a stop-gap measure to let the recipient know the gift has arrived and that you will be sending a formal note later. (Wonderful to see you at the wedding. We love the vase! Note to follow…”)
When discussing personal or thorny issues. Email is not private and it is a difficult medium for working out compromise or resolving emotional conflicts. Better to use the phone or talk in person.
When the groundwork hasn’t been properly laid. While it is very convenient to send out group e-mails about wedding related plans, make sure that all the people involved are on the same page so you do not ruffle feathers or put a damper on the event: “As mother of the groom, I am pleased to invite you to a bridal shower for my future daughter –in-law…” “Why, as mother of the bride I thought we were going to host the shower together!” (Oops….)
“Save the Date” notices. It’s a great way to send an informal note to friends and relatives to put the date aside.
Wedding RSVP’s. It is acceptable to give your guests the option of replying by e-mail – just make sure it is an option. Add a printed sentence at the bottom of your printed response card: You may also reply by way of our e-mail address which is email@example.com. This is especially appropriate if planning a last-minute wedding, an informal wedding or if you are in regular e-mail contact with many of your invited guests.
Wedding announcements. These optional notes, sent out after the wedding, typically go to friends and family who were not on the guest list, as well as acquaintances and business associates who might wish to hear the news. While most couples prefer the more formal printed or hand-written announcement, it is acceptable to send e-mail announcements, especially if you and the recipient are on informal terms or if the wedding was an informal affair.
Invitations to informal or casual engagement parties, bridal showers, and other pre-wedding get-togethers. These are all extremely important occasions and most couples and their families will want to honor this fact by sending out printed invitations. E-mailed invitations can be an acceptable alternative, however, particularly if you are planning an informal affair or the people on your guest list are especially computer friendly. This is not the time for a group email – each email should begin with an individual salutation to the intended recipient.
Information on lodging, etc. When sending out your formal invitations, it’s also fine to include in each a sheet containing a map and directions for out-of-town guests. To avoid overloading the mailing, however, any material – including information on hotels, restaurants and points of interest should be sent in a special mailing. For those of your guests who are web connected, a group email is ideal for this purpose. Simply begin with a general salutation – “Dear All” and sign the e-mail as you would an individual message.
Wedding updates. Many couples enjoy keeping their family and friends updated on the month-to-month progress of their wedding plans. Group e-mails are perforct for this sort of informal communication and can even make such mailings feasible. This convenience factor makes it all the more important to use common sense and consideration whenever e-mailing. Don’t flood the in-boxes of your entire guest list with daily news flashes; don’t share overly personal details that are best saved for your closest friends; and if you do decide to send out a regular e-mail ‘wedding newsletter,’ make sure you send a printed copy to friends and family who are not set up to receive e-mail.