Wedding planning can be tough enough as it is without having to worry about offending family members with etiquette faux pas. Neither do you want to inadvertently give completely the wrong impression to someone because of an error.

Today we’re concentrating on the before and after the wedding. The wedding invitation is vital in creating the right first impression and giving people the information they need to make decisions.

The thank-you card is the last impression, thanking guests for attending and for gifts as appropriate. Nobody likes an ungrateful bride, so getting this right is as important as any other decision you make about your day.

That’s why we have put together this list of quick before and after tips. It’s a list of easily forgotten points that can make a real difference to how you and your wedding is perceived by others. It can also prevent you making avoidable mistakes that can cause tension on the day.

Wedding invitations

For more distant friends and family, this will be the first time they hear about your wedding. Some couples send save-the-date cards a few months before sending the wedding invitation, if you’re planning the same, use these tips for those too.

Send your invitations out as soon as you have a definite time and date. We’re all busy people and will need time to plan, take time off work, make hotel bookings or take kids out of school. The longer you give people to plan, the happier they will be.

Include all the details in that invitation. That includes the time, venue, who is invited, a map to the location if you’re inviting people from out of town. If you’re laying on a hotel for guests, add the details on a separate sheet of paper and include it with the wedding invitation.

Be accurate with times. If your wedding begins at 3pm, don’t add an hour so everyone will be there. Most people will know to turn up in plenty of time anyway.

Name names. While not etiquette as such, the days of the “plus one” are long gone. With more complex relationships now the norm, adding just plus one to an invitation can lead to trouble. If you’re permitting extras, name names. It will save a lot of trouble on the day.

Include a date and stamp on the RSVP. Always add a respond-by date to your RSVP. You’re going to need to know as early as possible who can come and who cannot. Providing a date gives a sense of urgency and including a stamp on the RSVP card makes it just that little bit easier.

Hand write the wedding invitation envelope. It’s a small thing that means a lot. Hand writing the envelope is much more personal than printing it along with the invitation. If you can include hand written elements within the invitation itself, all the better.

Don’t include wedding gift details in your wedding invitation. Including gift details hints at presumption, so don’t include them in the invitation itself. Spread the details indirectly, through a mother or other method. While wedding gifts are an accepted part of the event, it’s one of those things we don’t mention directly.

The thank-yous

It’s important to say thank you to your guests, even if you have spent the day ensuring they are okay, fed, watered and entertained. Nobody likes an ungrateful person, so etiquette is essential here to ensure you leave a positive lasting impression on your guests.

Don’t expect gifts from everyone. Not everyone will want to give you a wedding gift, or be in a position to give one, but thank them anyway. It’s a personal decision that has a lot of contributing factors. Don’t take it personally and don’t single them out afterwards.

Give your own gifts. Despite the expense of your wedding day, you should still thank your bridesmaids and/or best man for their efforts. They will have spent money too, on their dresses, your hen night and other things. They will also have helped your wedding day go perfectly. A thoughtful gift is important to show gratitude and to keep them as friends!

Hand write thank you cards. Your guests may have spent a bit of money on their own preparations for your wedding day, so it’s important to say thank you. Hand-written thank you cards offers personal appreciation that really hits the mark. Send them as soon as you return from your honeymoon.

Personalise the cards. While writing your thank you cards, make sure you personalise them and make each of the unique to the recipient. There is a small chance they might compare or read each other’s and you don’t want them realising they are all the same!