Wedding Invitation Wording

Your wedding is your special day, and one of the first steps toward arranging the ceremony is sending out the invitations. This is not as simple as it sounds, as wedding invitation wording etiquette can be a complicated affair. It is possible to browse dozens of guidelines, such as Emily Post, without discovering a clear set of rules. We hope these guidelines will help.

General rules

The very first element of the wedding invitation should be the host, whether this is the bride and groom themselves, or some combination of their parents. The following line will show the request to attend, and this is followed by the names of the couple. You will traditionally spell out both the date and time, with the location on the following line. The address of the location only needs to be included in cases where it is not well-known, such as a family home. Following this, you list the reception information, indicating whether or not dinner will be served. Finish the invitation with a request for an RSVP.

Traditional or formal wording

Traditional and formal wording on wedding invitations are fairly similar to each other, and these utilize the phrasing you would typically expect to see. An example of traditional wording, in the case where the bride's parents are hosting, would be:

Mr. and Mrs. William Jones
Request the honor of your presence
For the marriage of their daughter
Jane Elizabeth Jones
John Charles Doe
On Saturday, July 31,
At half past five o'clock in the afternoon
The Museum of Fine Arts
Houston, Texas

Informal wording

Wedding invitation wording etiquette also allows for more informal phrasing in the case of less religious affairs as well as those that are more casual in nature. One example of this would be the following:

Please share in our joy
At the marriage of our daughter
Jane Elizabeth
To John Charles Doe
July 31, 2016
At six o'clock
The Museum of Fine Arts
Houston, Texas
Dinner and dancing to follow

The main difference between formal and informal invitations is whether the date and time are spelled out and how strictly capitalization rules are followed.

Both sets of parents hosting

One important consideration to remember is that the general wording of a wedding invitation will depend greatly on who is hosting the affair. The formal example above involves the bride's parents hosting. If both sets of parents are hosting, the invitation should begin with both of their names. In the example above, it would begin with:

Mr. and Mrs. William Jones
Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan Doe, Sr.
Request the honor of your presence
At the marriage of their children

Bride and groom hosting

It is also possible for the bride and groom to host the event, in which case the wording would be more like the following:

Ms. Jane Elizabeth Jones
And Mr. John Charles Doe
Request the honor of your presence

There is even more room for variation depending on who is hosting the affair, with possibilities for the groom's parents, the parents and the future couple, and others to host.

Divorced parents hosting

Despite the various guides to wedding invitation wording etiquette, the rules can become complicated in special circumstances, such as in the case of divorced parents. If a single set of parents are hosting the affair, but are divorced, you would simply list them one line after another:

Mr. (bride's father)
Mr. and Mrs. (bride's mother and stepfather)
request the honor ...

After this, you would continue with the traditional layout.

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