Wording & etiquette
Anatomy of a Wedding Invitation
The following rules of thumb will help you figure out the wording for your invitation suite. Please keep in mind that they are only guidelines and that the most important thing is that the wording reflect your vision for your special day.
I. MONOGRAM/CREST (if applicable)
The monogram/crest symbolizes the union of the couple and typically includes the initials of the couple's first names. Bride's initial comes first.
II. host names
The opening line of the invitation typically introduces the hosts of the wedding.
III. couple's names
- The bride's name typically comes first.
- If the bride’s parents are hosting, her last name is omitted because theirs precedes her. If divorced parents are listed in the host line, then her last name is added for clarity.
- If the groom’s parents are also listed in the host section, both the bride’s and groom’s last names may be omitted. It is equally correct to leave them in and is up to your discretion.
- It is also optional to add a line right after the groom’s name to honor his parents. This is called a “Son of” line and reads like this: Son of Mr. and Mrs. John Doe.
- For casual ceremonies first names may be suitable.
IV. REQUEST LINE
This line of the invitation indicates whether your ceremony will be held in a place of worship or at a secular location.
The phrase “request the honor of your presence” is typically reserved for a place of worship. The phrase “request the pleasure of your presence” is typically reserved for a secular location.
V. Date & Time
For the wedding suite, try not to use abbreviations. Traditionally, middle names, street information, and state names are all spelled out. If you do choose to list the date or any other information in a more casual manner, be consistent across all pieces of the invitation suite.
A few things to note:
—Always write out the date in full and list the day of the week first: Saturday, the first of August
—Write it out the year in full. “and” is optional (Ex. Two thousand eighteen OR Two thousand and eighteen).
—Capitalize the day of the week, month, and first letter of the year.
—If it is on the hour, you can simply say “at five o’clock in the evening.” If it is on the half hour, it is most correct to write “at half past five o’clock in the evening.”
—4pm is considered afternoon, but 5pm and later is considered evening.
This line should list the name of the location with city and state noted underneath and spelled out in full. If your celebration is being held at a private home or at a location with an unlisted address it is appropriate to list a specific street address. If you are marrying at a church that could be confused with another church of a similar name in the same town, this is another instance in which it is appropriate to include a street address. Abbreviations should not be used in any addresses on wedding paper.
The post-ceremony line is where you can let guests know what to expect after the ceremony. If the wedding ceremony and reception are being hosted in the same location, there is no need for a reception card. At the bottom of the invitation, you can simply state “Reception to follow” or “Dinner and dancing to follow”.
VII. Attire & REGISTRY
Traditionally, attire is not mentioned on the invitation. For modern formal wedding invitations, it is has become acceptable to print “Black tie” or “White tie” on the lower right corner of the ceremony card if the reception is mentioned on the ceremony card and if the ceremony does not take place in a house of worship. In any other circumstance, nothing should be printed on the bottom right corner. If you still feel the need to inform guests of a formal dress attire, the language should be “Black tie” or “White tie” on a separate reception card.
Registry information should never be included in your invitation suite. Instead, include registry details on a wedding website and note the website on your save the dates and/or on a details insert in your invitation suite.