One of the most difficult decisions that an engaged couple has to make is the number of people to invite to their marriage ceremony and reception. Between the two families there may be many relatives and friends who you would like to invite on the day you exchange wedding rings, but simply cannot due to space or budgetary restrictions. In this case, a wedding announcement is appropriate to be sent to these individuals as well as to the people you want to inform about your marriage.
Although many people use the terms "announcement" and "invitation" interchangeably, they are not the same; invitations are sent months before the wedding, usually after the "save the date" card is sent. The announcements are sent within a day or two after the wedding has taken place.
Wedding announcements can be ordered at the same time as the other items of wedding stationery; however they can be a completely different design from the invitations and thank you notes. If you decide to send announcements, it's easiest to address them at the same time as the invitations so they can be ready to mail after the wedding.
Unlike wedding thank you notes, sending an announcement to those who were not invited is not mandatory and those who receive the announcement are not under any obligation to send a gift or a congratulatory card. The wording is simple and to the point. The typical format would be:
Mr. and Mrs. John Brown
(or the name of the person sending the announcement)
are pleased to announce
the marriage of their daughter
Mr. William Baxter
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Baxter
(mentioning the parents of the groom is optional)
on the fifteenth of October, nineteen hundred ninety-eight
All Saints Church
In addition to the information about the wedding, it is also helpful to include the names the newlyweds will use and where they will live after the wedding on an "at-home" card. Although sending a wedding announcement is not mandatory, it is a courtesy that can help avoid hurt feelings of uninvited friends and family members.