Guide to Wedding Invitation Wording

If you’re stressed about how exactly to word your invitations… you’re not alone.  I get asked about invitation wording all the time.  To get you started, here are some basic “guidelines” and best practices for you to consider:

First of all, your invitation suite should reflect YOU as a couple, and more specifically it should reflect the tone and feeling of your event.  If your wedding is going to be a formal occasion, you will want to keep the tone of your wedding correspondence on the more formal side.  If you’re throwing a more rustic, casual affair, you can get away with more casual language when it comes to your invitations.

The primary function of your invitation (besides looking gorgeous, of course) is to convey some very important information:

  • who’s hosting the wedding
  • who’s getting married
  • date, time & place of the wedding ceremony

How exactly should this be conveyed?  Here is the traditional format, assuming that the bride’s parents are hosting:

Mr. and Mrs. [Bride’s Parents]
[request line]*
at the marriage of their daughter
[Bride’s First & Middle Names]
to [Groom’s Full Name]
[day of the week, day of the month]
[year]
at [time]
[name of location]
[city, state of location]
[reception to follow]**

*Tip: For the request line, the phrase “request the honor of your presence” is traditionally used when the ceremony will take place in a church.  For weddings that don’t take place in a church, a phrase such as “request the pleasure of your company” can be used instead.

**Tip: When the reception takes place at the same location as the ceremony, you can just put “Reception to follow” or “Dinner and dancing to follow” below the ceremony information.  If the reception is in a different location, tradition would say that you should include a separate reception card with the reception information on it (treating them as separate events).  However, nowadays a lot of brides are simply putting reception information where the traditional reception line would go.

Tip: The groom’s parents aren’t necessarily hosting the wedding, but you would still like to acknowledge and honor them on the invitation… you can do so with a line under the groom’s name that reads: “son of [Mr. and Mrs. Groom’s Parents’ Names]”.  

Tip: RSVP card, reception card, information card, etc – all of the pieces that will be mailed together – should have the same tone.  If your invitation wording is formal, your RSVP card wording should be more formal as well (“The favor of a reply is requested by [date]”).  If your invitation wording is more casual, your RSVP card can be too (“Kindly reply by [date]”).

Tip: Sending a traditional RSVP card and envelope?  Sometimes your guests, in all the excitement of receiving your beautiful invitations, will forget to write their names on their RSVP card before they send it back to you.  If you number the RSVP cards oh-so-faintly in pencil on a back corner, and match up the numbers with a master list, you will be able to identify any rogue RSVP cards and save yourself the headache of trying to figure out who it was (and the embarrassment of calling your great-aunt Martha to see if she was the one who forgot).

Tip: If you need to convey additional information to your guests – such as directions or a map, parking information, details about your registry, or info about additional wedding events – you should print these on an additional card (or cards, depending on the amount of information) that you will mail with your invitation suite.

Sometimes family situations and/or wedding-hosting situations are a little more tricky...  But don’t fret: there is a solution!  To save myself the finger-tapping of typing them all out here, I’m going to refer to the wedding masterminds over at The Knot – their “Invitation Wording Wizard” will walk you through any situation you can think of!

I am more than happy to help you figure out exactly what you want your invites to say, and how to say it… contact me to get started!