Invitation Wording Etiquette
For modern couples, the sky’s the limit when it comes to invitation wording. There are countless ways to invite your guests to your wedding that reflect the style of the occasion. Just remember, your wording sets the tone for the event – it’s the first glimpse your guests have into what to expect for the wedding day, so be thoughtful about how you articulate your invitation.
1 | Host
Start with the names of those issuing the invitation, traditionally the bride’s parents. This line indicates to the guests who is hosting or paying for the majority of the wedding. However, modern-day family structures and changing financial dynamics also affect how this portion of the invitation is worded. See below for specific wording options.
2 | Request
The request line clarifies where the wedding will be held. Use “honour of your presence” when the wedding ceremony takes place in a house of worship. Adding a “u” to honor and favor sends the message that your wedding more formal or traditional. Use “the pleasure of your company” when the ceremony takes place at a secular location. When both sets of the couple’s parents are hosting, this line would specify “at the marriage of their children.”
3 | Bride and Groom
The bride always precedes the groom. If her parents are hosting then she will be referred to by her first and middle names only. Use the bride’s full name if her surname differs from her parents. No courtesy title (such as Miss or Ms.) is used. The groom is referred to by his first, middle and last name. For more formal or traditional weddings, the groom’s title may precede his name.
4 | Date and Time
The date should be spelled out and preceded by the day of the week and separated by a comma. Only the day of the week and the month are capitalized. Traditionally, the first letter of the year is capitalized. The line indicating the time of the ceremony is never capitalized. Time on the hour should be followed by “o’clock.” Conversely, time, not on the hour, should be stated as “half after” or “quarter after.” Time should always be followed by “in the morning,” “noon,” “in the afternoon,” “in the evening,” or “midnight.” Evening begins at five o’clock, otherwise, it is considered afternoon from noon until four o’clock. See this post for more grammatical insight.
5 | Location
Unless the ceremony is taking place at a private home or unlisted address the street address is not necessary. When included, no abbreviations should be used. The city and state should always be written out.
6 | Reception
A separate reception card may be included with the invitation suite for very formal or traditional weddings. Space permitting, the reception information can be included on the invitation. If the ceremony and reception are held at the same location, you may print “and afterward at the reception” or “reception immediately following.” When the reception is held elsewhere, the location goes on a second line.
7 | Attire
To provide some guidance for your guests, it is appropriate to include a line in the bottom left or right corners of the wedding invitation specifying what type of attire is requested. Only the first letter of this line is ever capitalized on the wedding invitation.
To make it a little easier on you, we created the following guides to serve as inspiration for wording your wedding invitation suite. The guide breaks down the anatomy of the invitation and includes a selection of invitation wording examples for every possible scenario.
Don’t see what you’re looking for? We are always willing to offer our expertise and advice on what kind of wording best suits the specifics of your wedding – just ask!
Bride’s Parents Hosting
Both Parents Hosting
Parents with Titles Hosting
Same Sex Marriage