Wedding Invitation Wording & Etiquette

Good news!  Wedding invitation etiquette rules aren’t horribly  complicated and this article may help you choose the proper words for your wedding suite!  The graphic above does a good job of illustrating the "traditional rules" of invitation wording and etiquette, but I'd like to share some other tips that may help serve as guidelines for the perfect wedding suite. However, the most important rule is that you create a beautiful invitation that represents you and your fiancé. Here are some rules broken down a bit.

All invitations should include the following:

1. The name of the host(s)

Traditionally, the bride's parents are the hosts of the wedding and are at the top of the invitation. More couples these days seem to be hosting their own wedding or do so with all sets of parents. If that’s the case, we suggest saying

“Together with their parents….Melissa and Robert request the pleasure of your company…”

If any parents are deceased you can say "Mrs. Jane Smith and the Late Mr. Robert Smith request the honor….."

If any parents are divorced or remarried you can keep each set of parents on separate lines.

2. The formal request to come to the wedding

There are many ways to phrase this section, but here are a few that we suggest:

"…the pleasure of your company"

 "…at the marriage of their children"

"…invite you to celebrate with them"

3. The names of the bride(s) and groom(s)

The bride(s) and groom(s) or groom and groom or bride and bride are the biggest part of the invitation and should be highlighted. The bride always comes first and includes her first and middle name only.  The full name of the groom is included. In the case of a same sex marriage, if one set of parents is paying for the wedding, their child should be listed first.  If both of your parents are contributing or if you're paying for the wedding yourselves, there are a few ways to say how much you'd like your guest to join in on your special day.   

4. The date and time

On wedding invitations, the date and time are spelled out using o’clock or “half after three o’clock" rather than writing it out numerically. 

5. The location

Usually, the name of your venue is sufficient. The street address of the venue is not needed unless omitting it may cause confusion.  The city and state is written out in full in either case.

6. Reception information

Formal weddings have an RSVP card as an additional element of the suite. It can be written direction on the invitation (as seen in the graphic). If ceremony and reception are at the same location, you may say “and afterward at the reception” or “reception immediately following.” Please note, that when the reception is in a different location than the ceremony, the ceremony location goes on a different line. 

7. Dress code

The wording and design of the invitation itself will dictate the dress code of the wedding. For example, a more refinded or fancier invitation style with more formal language will indicate a black tie affair.  A more casual invitation design with less formal language will indicate a more casual dress code.  However, if you want to include the dress code on the invitation, it should go in the lower right hand corner.

8. Separate RSVP card

This has changed in recent years as most people are forgoing the traditional RSVP card and opting to have their guests RSVP on a website. If doing so, include the website on a separate card. 

Some general do’s and don’ts

DO:

  • Capitalize proper names and courtesy titles
  • Capitalize letters at the beginning of sentences, not on every line
  • Capitalize proper names and courtesy titles
  • Write formal invitations in the third person
  • Write out the time ex/ "half after two" rather than writing it numerically ex/ "2:30"
  • Write out the year ex/ "two thousand eighteen" rather than writing it numerically ex/ "2018"

DO NOT:

  • Include punctuation except after "Dr.", "Mr." or "Mrs."
  • Use abbreviations. Always spell out commonly abbreviated words such as days of the week, street, state.

Follow these simple steps and you'll be well on your way to the perfect wedding suite!  For help with design, formatting and printing your wedding suite, click here.