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You found the perfect dress. Your Save the Dates have been sent. The Invitations have gone into production. But then, a pandemic arrives during the months leading up to your wedding day. It was never supposed to look like this but circumstances have forced you to rethink the size of your wedding. And more specifically, your wedding guest count.

Guest lists can change for many reasons but rarely is it ever due to global crisis. Today, couples who have been directly impacted by the pandemic have had to rethink what their big day will now look like. For some, it has required them to reduce the number of guests invited to the wedding.

Reducing the guest list could be necessary for a variety of reasons. Each state currently has different restrictions and what is happening in your state now could be very different in another. As a result, venues may have certain conditions they need to follow. Other venues are building upon state guidelines to create their own set of rules to keep themselves and their guests as safe as possible. In addition, with the change in the economy, unforeseen financial pressures may require a couple to rethink the size of their wedding.

Lisa Hladish, Owner of Paper Daisies Stationery, recommends that if you do need to alter your guest list, particularly after guests have received a Save the Date and/or an Invitation, that you follow these 3 steps in moving forward:

Best to be honest and genuine

These are unprecedented times with no real playbook for how or what to do. With the restrictions on gathering size it should not come as a big surprise for most guests. Your sincere message will go a long way.

No need to over explain

There is certainly no need to share with your guests exactly why this is happening. As noted above, a sincere and honest message is key. The language below is just one way to share the news.

“Due to unforeseen circumstances and after much consideration we have made the difficult decision to pare down our wedding ceremony. As a result we cannot accommodate as many of our friends and family as we had hoped. We wish you could be but we know you’ll celebrate with us from afar.”

Get the word out ASAP

It is important to share with guests as soon as you have made your decision. While so much of life has been on hold for every one they will surely appreciate the notice sooner than later. Especially for those folks who have to book anything where deposits can’t be returned.

Downsizing the guest count is no easy decision. But if necessary, we suggest you consider the previous steps above. And if you need assistance in designing postponement cards, elopement announcements or cards that will thoughtfully describe the newly downsized event we invite you to chat with us online or email us.


We have some invitation suites that are our absolute favorite and would like to share them with you! There's a lot that goes into a custom wedding stationery suite including the printing processes, the color selections, and all the little intricate details that tie the suite together from the Save the Date to the Day of Stationery.

Check out this collection as Lisa explains what it took to make Hartley & Spencer's invitations.

Click to learn more about our Custom Experience.

Or check out our Online Collection that's ready to be personalized!

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Updated: 9 hours ago

The wedding invitation is a window into the celebration that lies ahead. The invite will of course introduce the tone and style but it is just as important to share details of the day. In this post we’ll cover the general flow of the wedding invitation itself. A traditional wedding invite follows specific etiquette, but it doesn’t have to be tricky or complicated. And once you know the basics you can choose which rules to bend for a more modern take.

A traditional wedding invite will typically include the following details in the order below:

1. Host Line

2. Request

3. Couple’s Names

4. Date and Time

5. Ceremony Venue

6. Reception

7. Attire (optional)

Host line

The Host Line highlights those who are hosting, or as is traditionally the case, those who are funding the celebration. Traditionally, this has been the bride’s parents but more and more we are seeing both sets of parents chip in or the couple hosting themselves or with some help from their families. We’ll share more on the many different host options in an upcoming post.

Request line

When it is the parents hosting we typically see the host names followed by:

Request the honour (or honor) of your presence at the marriage of…

We use the British-style “honour” with a “u” to indicate a ceremony that takes place in a house of worship.

Other options include:

Request the presence of your company at the marriage of…

Request the pleasure of your company at the marriage of…

When the couple is hosting we might see:

Your presence is requested at the marriage of…

Together with their families…invite you to celebrate their marriage

Couple’s Names

Ladies first! When a couple consists of a bride and groom then the bride’s name will forerun the groom's. If her parents are hosting, then adding her last name is unnecessary. The groom’s full name should be listed unless his parents are also listed in the host line or if their names follow the couple’s names. When the couple is hosting their own wedding, both full names should appear on the invitation.

Date and Time

Traditionally, the date and time are spelled out in full. It starts with the day, followed by the date and then the month. The next line consists of the year and it is also spelled out. That is then followed by the time. Any time up until 5:59pm is considered afternoon. Also note that including the time of day (ex. in the afternoon, in the evening, etc) is optional and not required.

Saturday, the eighth of October

two thousand twenty

half past five o’clock in the afternoon

For a more modern touch one can simplify the date and year on one line or even use all numbers.

Saturday, the eighth of October | two thousand twenty

Saturday, October 8th, 2020 at 5:30pm

10.08.20 | 5:30pm

Ceremony Venue

The location of the ceremony is of course a critical piece of information. The venue name is listed below the date and time. We typically leave the location address off of the invite. However, if it cannot be found on the wedding website, or if it’s not listed on an additional enclosure card and it can’t easily be located with a Google search then it can be added onto the invite itself.

If the venue is at a residence, then it can be worded as “The Smith’s Residence”

Reception line

A very traditional wedding invitation will make no mention of a reception on the invite itself. Instead, that information, including location, address and timing will appear on a separate card (see image below).

For most contemporary invitations, however, we do see a reception notation. The reception line not only indicates that a party will follow but oftentimes it will note where it will be. Many invites now include a line such as:

Dinner and dancing to follow

Reception to follow

If the location is different from that of the ceremony then the reception venue is often listed just below the Reception notation (see image below).

Attire (Optional)

Attire is traditionally only noted when the guests are being asked to where black or white tie. We often note that in the bottom right or sometimes bottom centered depending on the invite design. Appropriate terms are black tie or black tie invited

Check back in when we layout the anatomy of the entire invitation suite. Learn more about wedding invitations or visit our online shop to view our collections.

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