A Beginner's Guide to Wedding Announcements

If sending wedding announcement cards is in your future, check out our beginner’s guide full of tips, tricks, and etiquette.

By The Zola Team

A Beginner's Guide to Wedding Announcements
Photo by Zola

The First Look ✨

If you have love on the brain and wedding bells still ringing in your ears, it might be time to send your wedding announcements. These are a wonderful way to proclaim your love and share the news of your new union.

To guide couples through all things wedding announcements, we’ll give you a wedding stationery crash course, then teach you everything you need to know about wedding and engagement announcements, including proper etiquette and available options.

Everything You Need to Know About Wedding Stationery

Your wedding stationery will usher you through your engagement and all the way down the aisle. Through carefully picked papers and graceful calligraphy, you can proclaim your love while keeping your guests informed about the big day to come.

If you’re not yet savvy in all things stationery, the sheer quantity of cards to send out can be daunting. To help you learn the differences between your wedding announcement, your wedding invitation, and everything in between, we’ll look more closely at the three main wedding stationery categories:

Once you feel confident about the definition of each, as well as the unwritten rules surrounding your written cards, you’ll be a wedding planning pro, ready to send out your announcements and everything that comes after.

Announcements

There are multiple types of wedding announcement cards that you might send out in anticipation of your marriage, including:

  • Engagement Announcements – Printed engagement announcement cards have fallen out of style in the digital era, but they’re still a lovely touch if couples want to formally announce their upcoming nuptials.

  • Wedding Announcements – Wedding announcements share the news of either a recent or upcoming marriage.

  • Elopement Announcements – Elopement announcements share that you’re getting married—sans the flashy, formal wedding celebration. These are typically sent out within 30 days of your marriage.

Invitations

Announcing your wedding is the first step, but invitations are how you actually fill your venue with loved ones.

Beyond just the wedding day itself, you might send out a number of event invitations, including:

  • Engagement Party Invitations – If you’re hosting an engagement party, you’ll send out invitations to your guests, either two to three months in advance for a formal engagement party, or six to eight weeks before a more casual party. These invitations will list the dress code, location, and date and time.

  • Wedding Shower Invitations – For wedding showers, you’ll want to send out invitations two to three months in advance, if possible. The card will mention the theme, location, and date and time of the party. Couples also usually note where they’re registered.

  • Bachelor/Bachelorette Party Invitations – If you choose to send out formal invitations for bachelor or bachelorette parties, then you should send the invitations two to three months in advance with all the pertinent details.

  • Rehearsal Dinner Invitations – Rehearsal dinner invitations can be included in the wedding invitation suite, or can be sent separately. They’ll include the location and RSVP card information.

  • Wedding Invitations – The wedding invitation suite refers to all of the elements that can be included along with your wedding invitation. This can include components such as an outer envelope, inner envelope, belly band, invitation card, reception card, directions card, hotel accommodations card, response card, and/or return envelope. The invitation itself should mention the names of the couple, the date and time, the name of the venue, and the city and state.

Cards and Notes

Wedding planning is all in the details—and what better way to communicate those details than with stunning stationery?

There are few more types of cards and notes that you might consider mailing, including:

  • Save-the-Date Cards – Many couples choose to send save-the-date cards six to eight months before their wedding. Couples planning destination weddings should send these out even sooner, up to a year before the wedding date. In addition to the date, these cards should include the city and state where your wedding will take place, plus your wedding website, if you have one.
  • Change-the-Date Cards – Change-the-date cards notify guests that you’ll be rescheduling your wedding. These cards should be sent out as soon as possible to allow your guests to make new arrangements.

  • Thank You Notes – Within two weeks of receiving a wedding gift, you should send a thank-you note. These can be sent later if you want to include photos. The note should include what the gift was and the giver’s name alongside your words of thanks.

If wedding stationery is what you need, Zola has it in store. Order everything you need in one easy place, including:

  • Save-the-Dates
  • Change-the-Dates
  • Invitations
  • Enclosure Cards
  • Menus
  • Programs
  • Thank You Cards
  • Holiday Cards

Choose from hundreds of designs, plus enjoy free shipping and guest list addressing. You can even match your stationery to your free wedding website.

Wedding Announcements 101

Now that you’re acquainted with the wonderful world of wedding stationery, let’s look more closely at wedding announcements.

Typically, you’d send them out the day after the wedding, but you can also wait up to a few months. Usually, couples already have them ready to go before the big day. That way, all you have to do is drop them in the nearest mailbox. This means that before you walk down the aisle, your announcement cards should already be:

  • Printed
  • Addressed
  • Stamped

But wedding announcement cards aren’t the only form of wedding announcements. There’s an important distinction to make between the event you’re announcing—engagement, wedding, or elopement—but also how you’re announcing your news to the world.

Wedding announcements take on two primary forms:

  • Mailed wedding announcements for your friends, family, and beyond
  • Newspaper wedding announcements for the general public

To help you send out your mailed wedding announcements quickly and easily, let’s discuss the who, what, where, and why of it all.

Whom Should We Mail Our Wedding Announcements To?

Your wedding announcements should go out to anyone who you’d like to inform of your big news—that’s a personal list that only you can write. However, most people send out announcement cards to their:

  1. Colleagues and business associates
  2. Distant relatives
  3. Loved ones unable to attend the wedding

If you had a small wedding, you may also send them to friends and family who weren’t invited. Some couples will choose to send them to their wedding guests too. There are no real rules around who can or can’t receive a wedding announcement—if you care to let them know, then go ahead and tell them.

Do We Have to Mail Our Wedding Announcements?

You certainly don’t have to mail out traditional wedding announcement cards; this is the twenty-first century, after all!

We encourage couples to embrace their creativity and find a format that works best for them. Some options include:

  • A printed card that includes photos from the wedding or honeymoon
  • An email announcement, with or without photos from the wedding or honeymoon
  • A social media post of photos from the wedding or honeymoon
  • A phone call to loved ones and others not present at your wedding

Even though we’re living in the age of digital communication, a physical wedding announcement card in the mail is still a lovely gesture that many loved ones will appreciate. Couples that do mail out standard wedding announcements often utilize their wedding colors and theme to design them.

What Information Should Our Wedding Announcements Include?

Wedding announcements are a blank canvas—you can fill them with anything and everything that seems important to you.

If you’re looking for a little guidance, couples usually mention the following details:

  • Who hosted the wedding
  • Who got married
  • Your new address
  • Any changes to your names

How to Write Wedding Announcements

To help you find some inspiration, here are a few examples to help you write your wedding announcements.

Handwritten Wedding Announcements

Handwritten wedding announcements are more personalized and can be either formal or informal. They’re usually in letter format. Examples include:

  1. Dear Rebecca,

Josh and I are so happy to announce that we are finally married! Our wedding took place on February 14th in a lovely, Valentine’s Day-themed wedding at a gorgeous banquet hall in Ranchos Palos Verdes. We look forward to seeing you at Thanksgiving! We can’t wait to tell you more about the wedding. We’re leaving soon for our honeymoon in Tahiti. We’ll be sure to send wedding and honeymoon pictures when we have them. Wishing you all the best.

Love, Samantha and Josh

  1. Dear Grandmother,

Juan and I are so happy to announce that we got married this past weekend! Our ceremony and reception took place at a spectacular beachside venue on Amelia Island on June 21st. The weather was absolutely perfect—blue skies and sunshine. We had a bonfire on the beach afterward and danced all night with friends and family. We’re so sorry you were unable to make the trip down south for the wedding, but we can’t wait to share our wedding and honeymoon pictures. Thank you so much for your lovely card and wedding gift. We’re getting ready to leave for our honeymoon in Germany. We can’t wait to see you at Christmas!

Love, Brad and Juan

Printed Wedding Announcements

Formal printed announcements are a great choice if you’re sending out large batches, if you’re pressed for time, or if your handwriting is not the neatest.

Here are some examples of what you can type up:

  1. Mr. and Mrs. Kevin Valentino are pleased to announce the wedding of their son
    Mr. John Valentino and Mr. Omar Abdallah
    Friday, the third of January two thousand and twenty-one
    Chicago, Illinois

  2. Mrs. and Mrs. Smith are honored to announce the wedding of their daughter
    Mrs. Annalise Sallee and Mr. Andy Nguyen
    Saturday, November 3, 2021
    Sedona, Arizona

Wedding Announcements in Newspapers

Now that we’ve covered the personal, let’s move onto the public aspect of wedding announcements: the who, what, where, and why of newspaper wedding announcements.

These public declarations of your nuptials ensure that anyone and everyone you know can find out about the marriage. Plus, they’re a perfect keepsake.

If you want to make sure that your engagement and wedding news is easily accessible for all of your loved ones, consider making a wedding website. You can share photos and updates with friends and family using one of Zola’s 250 free, easy-to-use, customizable website templates.

What Do We Need to Include in Our Newspaper Wedding Announcement?

Usually, you’ll have to fill out a form from the newspaper when you submit your wedding announcements. Typically, you’ll include the following information about both partners:

  • Full names
  • Ages
  • Occupations
  • Hometown
  • School
  • College
  • Degrees
  • Parents’ names
  • Parents’ towns of residence
  • Parents’ occupations
  • Grandparents’ names

You might also include information about your wedding, such as:

  • Location
  • Date and time
  • Officiant’s name
  • Names of bridesmaids and groomsmen
  • Description of the wedding dress
  • Description of the wedding bouquet
  • Honeymoon destination
  • The couple’s future home

Where Should We Publish Our Wedding Announcement?

You can submit your wedding announcements to multiple newspapers including:

  • The local newspaper in your families’ hometowns
  • The local newspaper where the couple currently lives
  • The local newspaper where either of you went to college

Some couples will also submit to the New York Times’ Vows section, but not every announcement is published. Other couples might only choose to publish their wedding announcement in one newspaper because of the cost.

When Should We Publish Our Wedding Announcement?

Your wedding announcements should be published a few days after your wedding, but you’ll have to submit them in advance. The lead time depends on the newspaper. A major publication like the New York Times asks couples to submit at least six weeks in advance. On the other hand, a local publication such as The Oklahoman only requires that couples submit eight days before they want the announcement to be published.

You can find all the information you need about deadlines on the website for each newspaper you want to submit to. Generally, three to six weeks before the wedding is a good lead time.

How Do We Publish Our Wedding Announcements?

Each newspaper will have its own submission details. Couples can usually submit their announcements by:

  • Mail
  • Email
  • Online form

You might write the announcement yourself or simply submit the details about your wedding and marriage for the newspaper to write the announcement themselves. Each newspaper will detail its own requirements including:

  • Word count
  • Format
  • Image specifications

Newspaper Wedding Announcements FAQs

Hopefully, you’re beginning to feel confident in your wedding announcement expertise. Here are a few frequently asked questions to ensure that getting hitched goes off without a hitch:

  • Should newspaper wedding announcements include prior marriages? It’s not necessary to include any previous marriages in the newspaper announcement, but some couples choose to do so.

  • How much does it cost to submit a wedding announcement? While some newspapers print wedding announcements for free, others charge a fee of about $100. The exact cost can depend on the length of the announcement and whether it includes a photo.

Engagement Announcements

In case you're not ready for wedding announcements just yet, let’s look more closely at the details for other types of announcements, starting with engagement announcements.

If you’re still at the engagement announcement phase, you might be on the hunt for your wedding venue and wedding vendors. Zola offers a free, pre-screened inventory of wedding venues and vendors. Customize your search to find the perfect service providers for your big day, so that by the time you are sending out wedding announcements, you’ll have already enjoyed the perfect event.

How to Share Engagement Announcements

There are many methods to share the news of your engagement, including:

  • Handwritten Notes from the Mother of the Bride – Traditionally, the mother of the bride sends out handwritten notes to friends and family. Nowadays, couples typically announce their engagement in other less formal ways. However, this can still be a lovely touch for friends and family.

  • Save-the-Date Cards – Save-the-Date Cards notify wedding guests of the intended wedding date before the couple sends their invitations out. Many couples now use these cards as informal engagement announcements.

  • Phone Call, Email, or Social Media – Some couples will choose to inform family and friends more casually with a simple phone call. They might also notify family and friends through email or a social media post.

  • Engagement Party – Recently, couples have used engagement party invitations in lieu of announcements. Traditionally, the family of the bride throws this party, but those traditional protocols are no longer necessary. If you’re throwing a surprise engagement party, then the party itself serves as the announcement. Couples usually invite guests to another themed party and then surprise them with news of the engagement.

  • Newspaper Announcements – Couples can also publish their engagement announcement in the newspaper. Not every newspaper accepts and prints them, but for those that do, the protocol is similar to wedding announcements.

How to Write Engagement Announcements

The format for an engagement announcement is similar to that of wedding announcements, but the content is slightly different. Here are some examples to guide you:

  1. Mr. and Mrs. Vineet Patel announce the engagement of their daughter Lisa Patel to Mr. Edward Rice
  2. Ms. Sophia Raleigh and Mr. Mateo Lopez are thrilled to announce their engagement.
  3. Ms. Rachel Cortez and Ms. Xiao Lee are pleased to announce their engagement Ms. Cortez asked Ms. Lee for her hand in marriage on Tuesday, October 12, 2021 In Yosemite National Park, California

How to Publish Engagement Announcements in the Newspaper

Many newspapers publish engagement announcements in their lifestyle section. Some newspapers will require that you submit the announcement up to four months in advance, and it can take up to a month to print it, though they may not specify on exactly what date that’ll be.

Newspapers usually require the following information about the couple:

  • Their names
  • Their hometowns
  • Their parents’ names
  • The date of the wedding

You can submit engagement announcements to multiple newspapers, especially if you and your partner or your parents are from different cities, but many newspapers require an additional fee, such as:

  • The Miami Herald
  • The Los Angeles Times

Other newspapers do not charge a fee, including:

  • The Palm Beach Daily News
  • The Times-Picayune
  • The Boston Globe

Publishing your engagement announcement in the newspaper can be a lovely keepsake to add to your wedding album.

Wedding Stationery Tips

Now that you know the ins and outs of wedding announcements, let’s look at some best practices for all of your wedding stationery. Keep these tips and tricks in mind as you design, address, and send out your suite of cards:

  • Learn the Etiquette – Wedding planning involves a lot of etiquette and tradition. Learning the “rules,” from how to write wedding announcement cards to whom to send them to, will help your wedding planning go smoothly. You, of course, don’t need to follow etiquette or tradition, but learning the standard practices gives you a foundation to work from or to work away from.

  • Give Advanced Notice – We’ve already covered all of the various types of wedding stationery and their accompanying timeframes. But, when in doubt, sending them out sooner rather than later is always best. Give your guests as much notice as possible, so they can make it to your engagement party, bachelor party, or wedding day.

  • Write Clearly – To avoid countless calls from confused guests, make sure that your wedding stationery is always clear and concise. You want the most important information to be the largest and most prominent, and you don’t want too many unnecessary details muddling your main message.

  • Get Creative – Although there are traditions and best practices to follow, couples shouldn’t be afraid to get creative when it comes to their wedding stationery; this is your special moment, after all. Embrace your style and personality.

  • Spell Out Everything – There are certain spelling rules for wedding stationery. Mr. and Mrs. are usually abbreviated, but most other words are written in full, including city names, state names, house numbers smaller than 20, and words such as “apartment,” “post office box,” and “street.”

  • Include All Relevant Names – There’s no shortage of names to include in the various types of wedding announcements and invitations. Write recipients’ full names on the outside of the envelope and include the full names of both partners on the card itself.

Nail Your Nuptials at Zola

Soon you’ll be marching down the aisle or slipping away to your dream honeymoon. For now, you’re still in the thick of the wedding planning jungle. Find your way out with help from Zola. We offer hundreds of wedding stationery designs and perks such as:

  • Free guest list addressing
  • Free shipping
  • Free matching wedding websites

Zola’s here for all your wedding needs, from helping you find your vendors and mailing your invitations to sharing your wedding registry. Find wedding bliss at Zola.

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