A Guide To Wedding Invitation Wording & Etiquette

Creating the perfect invite that is both personal for your guest and expressive of your love as well as soon to be marriage can be daunting. However, it doesn’t have to be.

Are you still not sure of how to word or format your wedding invites? The perfect wedding invitation can be tricky, but there are etiquette rules here to help you navigate through the whole process.

Essentially, your invites should represent the overall vibe of the wedding itself. They are meant to set the tone, and will have your guests either excited or indifferent.

What To Include on Your Wedding Invites

The Host Line

The first line of your wedding invitation is where you list who is hosting the wedding – or who is paying for the wedding.

Traditionally, it is usually the bride’s parents, so you would list their names to show your appreciation or their generosity. However, in todays day in age, many couples pay for the weddings themselves. In this case, you can neglect the host line entirely.

If you are recieving financial help from the parents, you can opt for “Together with their parents” or “Together with their families.”

Here are a few rules that you can follow to help you decide on the perfect wording:

  • The word “and” in between two names usually implies that those people are married.
  • If your parents are divorced and you want to include both as hosts, you can include all of them, just keep each parent on a different line.
  • Hosts who are not married should also be on seperate lines.
  • Names don’t need to be listed in order of who paid more.
  • If you are including step parents, keep them on the same line as their spouse.

The Request Line

This is where you invite people to attend your wedding. Use this section to set the tone of your wedding.

If the event is formal, use formal language – “Request the honor of your presence…”

If your wedding is more casual, use less formal language – “Would love for you to join them…”

Here are some things to think about:

  • “The honor of your presence” line usually signifies a religious service.
  • Anything informal usually means it is not a religious service.

The Action Line

The action line is where you explain what you are inviting people to.

  • Traditionally – the bride’s parents are hosting and the line is something like “At the marriage of their daughter.”
  • If both parents are hosting – “At the marriage of our children.”
  • If the couple is hosting – “At the celebration of their union” or “As they tie the knot.”

The Couple’s Names

This one is easy, for the most part. However, trouble can ensure when deciding whose names go first. Or do you include last names or middle names?

Really, there is no right or wrong answer. Do whatever feels comfortable to you. Here are some tips:

  • For different sex couples, the bride’s name goes first followed by the groom’s. If the bride’s parents are listed at the top, the bride’s name can be her first and middle name – no last name. The groom’s name is listed in full or his first and names are listed, followed by the line “Son of Mr. & Mrs. Jane Doe.”
  • For same-sex couples, you can list the names in alphabetical order by last name or the order you choose. (Whatever looks best on the invite design).
  • For less formal weddings, you can opt for first names only.

The Date & Time

Traditionally, the date time should be spelled out in full. – September 15, 2022 at 4:30 p.m. would look like “Saturday the fifteenth of September, two thousand twenty-two, at half after four in the afternoon.”

The time of day should also be spelled out like “four o’clock” or “half after four o’clock.” For less formal wedding invites, you can opt for “half past four o’clock or “four-thirty.”

Many of the formal dates and times rules are broken in modern invites. The date and time is often listed using numbers.

The Location

Next is the venue. You can simply list the ceremony venue as “Venue Name” on one line, followed by the “City, State” on the next line. For formal wedding invitations, the state is spelled out instead of using abbreviations.

The venues actual street address and zip codes are often not included.

The Reception Line

After the location is the reception line. If it is all at the same venue, you can say “Reception to follow” or “Dinner and dancing to follow”.

If the reception is at a different location, use the following line to list the venue. You can even decide to use a seperate insert card (called the reception card). This invites the guests to the reception with the venue’s full address.

Are you not serving a full meal? Let the guests know by saying something like “Cake, drinks and merriment to follow” or “Join us after the ceremony for cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and dancing.”

Other Things To Consider

Feel free to mention dress code. This can help you guests know what to wear so that they are comfortable when arriving. If your wedding is black tie, you must include this in the invite. If you don’t include a dress code, most guests will use the invite as a suggestion. The dress code should follow the reception location.

Are you using a wedding website? You don’t have to include you wedding website. Most often it is listed on one of the accompanying cards (reception card or additional information card).

Wording Examples

Casual Informal

Held in a casual location,
hosted by both sets of parents

Mr. and Mrs. John Doe
And Mr. and Mrs. Doe John
request the pleasure of your company
at the marriage of their children
Jane and
April 25th, 2022
at 4 O’Clock
The Hilton Hotel
Seattle, Washington
formal reception to follow

Traditional Secular

Held in a secular location,
hosted by both sets of parents

Mr. and Mrs. Jim Anderson
together with
Mr. and Mrs. Gerald Smith
request the pleasure of your company
at the marriage of their children
Elizabeth June
Steven Smith
the twenty-Third of August
at half past four in the afternoon
Two thousand Twenty Two
The Mayflower Inn
Washington, Connecticut
dinner and dancing to follow at
Piedmont Hotel

Traditional Religious

Held in a religious venue,
hosted by both sets of parents

Mr. and Mrs. Jess Hoffman
and Mr. and Mrs. Lucas Stevenson
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of their children
Emma Mary
David Michael
Saturday, the Tenth of June
Two thousand twenty-Three
half past six o’clock in the evening
Cathedral of Christ
Atlanta, Georgia
celebration following

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