Welcome to the fourth installment of our Invitation 101 series, all about wedding invitations.
Wording & Etiquette (and When to Break the Rules)
Simply put, your invitation wording style should match the tone of your wedding ceremony. Will your wedding be traditional, formal, religious, secular, casual, fun, laid-back? Whatever adjectives describe your big day, those can be your guide when you’re crafting the language of your invitation. Of course, your stationer (Fine Day Press included!) will be adept at providing insight as well as grammatical and logistical know-how.
The Rules (Should you Choose to Follow Them)
Sometimes rules are meant to be broken. But you have to know the rules in order to decide which ones you want to break.
What to Include
The information you’ll want to include will generally be in the order listed below:
• Who’s Hosting – parent of the bride, parents of the groom, the couple, or the couple with their families? This can be specific – “Mr. and Mrs. Robert Cannon invite you…” – or vague – “Together with their parents”. If the couple is hosting, you can start off with your names: “Emma & Robert are getting hitched…”
Note: We’ve provided sample wording examples on our Wording FAQ page.
• Request Line – Are you asking people to celebrate with you as you exchange vows? Party with you as you tie the knot? Witness your love and commitment? There are a number of ways to say essentially the same thing, but each wording carries a different tone.
• Couple’s names – First names only (casual), first and last, or first, middle and last (formal).
• Date and Time
• Location (venue and city – actual full address is optional)
• Dress Code (if any) – If it’s black tie, be sure to note that on a line following the location. Similarly, if your wedding is on grass or sand, you may want to say, ”Stilettos not advised” to give your lady guests a heads up on what’s appropriate.
• Post-ceremony details – A standard one would be, “Reception immediately following / venue name”. However, you can get creative here, too. For example: “Tequila shots & bad dance moves to follow”. Totally your call. This information can also be presented on a separate card, smaller than the invitation.
• Spell out everything in full, including dates, times, and any addresses (i.e. two thousand sixteen NOT 2016), and, generally, do not use punctuation. This one gets broken a lot these days, and excluding the most formal events, is A-Ok in my book.
• Mr. & Mrs. and middle initials of parents (if including) should be the only abbreviations on your invitation. If someone if a Doctor or Reverend, spell those titles out fully.
• The bride’s name is always listed before the groom’s. Have 2 brides or 2 grooms? You can defer to alphabetical order.
• Request Line: Religious ceremonies always request the HONOR of your presence. Secular events request the PLEASURE of your company.
• If including a deceased family member on the invitation, precede their name with “the late”. For example, “Emma Jane, daughter of Mrs. June Cannon and the late Mr. Robert Cannon”. If that feels too impersonal, perhaps add a line in memory of loved ones you’d like to remember on your ceremony day.
I T ‘ S O K T O H A V E F U N !
It’s totally ok to throw out all of the above rules – as long as your invitation contains the necessary information (who, when and where), you can get as creative and personal as you like.
Want to work in your beloved pup’s name on the invitation? Do it! Want to include your love of wine or travel, the story of how you met, or perhaps all six of your siblings’ names? Go for it! After all, this is your special day (cliché but true!), and the invitation will be something you can treasure and keep forever.
Every family and couple is unique; ultimately, you and your families will decide what’s best for your event.
Have questions about wording? Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Did you miss any of our previous posts? You can find them here: