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How to word your Wedding Invitation

I LOVE the different ways an invite can be worded, especially if we “break the rules” of wedding etiquette. Now I want to start off by saying you don't have to listen to ANYONE when it comes to what information should and should not go on your invitation . This is YOUR invitation and it can say whatever you want. However, just in case, I will walk through some of the traditional and non traditional options along with a few of my favorites. First, let's break down the anatomy of a wedding invitation.

The Host Line Section

The first question you want to ask yourself is “Who is hosting this wedding?” The person and/or people hosting are traditionally the ones that are contributing monetarily, regardless of the amount. This can get a bit tricky when you have a complex family. The best advice I can give you on this subject is PICK YOUR BATTLES. If there is one thing I have learned over the years in this industry, or any industry for that matter, is when people are contributing money, they feel entitled to have an opinion. Adding parent’s names to an invite as opposed to not. You may not want to include your partner’s parents because they are not contributing as much money and your parents are shelling out most of the dough. They feel like they should be included because they are putting in something. This is for you to decide and I recommend talking with your parents, they may not care and in that case it may not be a battle you are willing to fight just to keep the peace.

In most cases, the bride’s family will be written first. This is a traditional thing as the bride is the one “being given away” this also applies to her name being written first on all things stationery. The one thing that wording etiquette doesn't account for is LGBTQ+ weddings and since I am an Ally I will gladly put in my 2 cents. The person that is proposed to is the one whose name would be put first. If the proposal is a mutual event, well then whatever feels right in your heart is the right answer! It doesn't actually matter whose name goes first as long as both your names are written, but I think that one is pretty obvious.


Traditionally the bride’s family contributes a majority and the groom’s family is responsible for the rehearsal dinner and the alcohol. Therefore, both families names will be spelled out at the top of the wedding invitation. The first verbal notation if you will.


Non-traditionally, well it’s the 21st century and more and more couples are paying the majority and their families are contributing a small portion. This is usually the case when you see “Together with our parents” or “Together with their families”




There are a ton of ways to write this out so, let’s look at some examples:


Both Sets of Parents Hosting - still married


Mr. & Mrs. Christopher Kyle and

Mrs. & Mrs. Kathleen Parker

invite you to celebrate the wedding of their children

Stella Rea

and

Anthony Michael


Mr. & Mrs. Antonio Wallen

invite you to the marriage of their daughter

Daniella Renee

to

Cory Michael

son of Mr. & Mrs. Matthew Gonzalas


The “invitation statement” can also be written a number of ways


“request your presence at the marriage of”

“request your presence at the wedding of their children”

“cordially invite you to witness the marriage/wedding of their children/daughter”


Although these samples all have 2 sets of married parents, there is also a solution to divorced parents, remarried parents as well as honoring deceased parents.



Both Sets of Parents Hosting - divorced, remarried or deceased


With divorced parents, both names can be added to the invitation, just keep them on 2 separate lines. If one or both parents are remarried, you can include the step parent on the same line.

Including a deceased parent on the invitation is a great way to honor them. Even though they are not here physically, they are there with you everyday in spirit. For example:

Mr. Antonio Wallen and the late Mrs. Judy Wallen

invite you to the marriage of their daughter


In this example the mother is remarried and the father has passed away:

Mr. & Mrs. Jackson Carter

invite you to the marriage of their daughter

Kelly Ann Carter

and

Allison Renee Styles

daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Anthony James West

And the late Mr. Stephen Styles


Couple Hosting (with contribution from families)


Together with their families

Giavanna Elise

and

Anthony Michael

Invite you to their wedding


Together with their parents

Kelsey Kristine Tyler

and

Chelsea Monroe Webber

Invite you to celebrate with them as they say “I do”


Couple Hosting Solo


You are cordially invited to celebrate the union of

Cara Joelle Smith

and

Tyler Nicholas Jones


Samantha Suzanne Temple

and

Ari David McCall

Request the honor of your company

as we exchange wedding vows on


Quick Tip: “The honor of your presence” is traditionally used to denote a religious service. Some will spell "honour" using the British spelling; both are correct but spelling it with a "u" evokes a more formal and traditional feel.


Another option is to add a scripture or a quote at the top of your invitation. This can be done in tandem with the couple or the families hosting.


Couple's Names Section

When writing your names on the invitation. Make sure if you have a different last name than your parent or your parent’s names are not written out to INCLUDE YOUR LAST NAME. I can’t tell you how many couples make this mistake and when it comes to writing out those checks *wink wink* your guest won't know who to make it out to. Full disclosure, I made this mistake on my own wedding invitation. So let’s move on to the rest of the invitation. What should be included?


Date & Time Section

I am guessing you already knew that the date and time need to be included but you may not know the specifics of HOW to write them. Again, there are traditional ways, non-traditional and my personal favorite, the “write it however you want to write it”.


So after the hosting section and your names section, the date should be included. Traditionally this is spelled out.


Saturday, the fourth of December OR Saturday, the fourth day of December

Two thousand twenty-three


Only the day of the week and the month are capitalized on the first line, the numerical date is not capitalized and the year is spelled out below on a separate line with just the first letter capitalized.

Non-traditionally you can write the number out


Saturday, December 4th

Two thousand twenty-three


The time of the ceremony is next. Again, traditionally it is written out underneath the date


Saturday, the fourth of December

Two thousand twenty-three

at four o’clock in the afternoon


Rule of thumb: 6:00pm is considered the start of the evening so anything starting before then should be written “in the afternoon”. Personally, I think that 5:00pm is the start of evening so I usually write “in the evening” for 5:00pm and later, AGAIN, personal preference!



Location Section

Ceremony location is next. Include the name of your venue with the street address along with the city and state below. A lot of people make the mistake of abbreviating the state and including the zip code. This is one of those traditional elements that I actually encourage. I feel that it makes your invitation look formal and aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Let’s take a look:



Detroit Yacht Club

1 Riverbank Drive

Detroit, Michigan


--OR --


Detroit Yacht Club

1 Riverbank Dr

Detroit, MI 48207

Now you tell me, which looks more inviting?





Attire & Next Steps Section

Finally the attire and next steps. To close out your invitation it is traditional to include the type of attire that is requested as well as what is happening next.


“Black Tie”, “Formal Attire Requested” - these are going to be for your more elegant, traditional ceremonies. The more casual weddings, AKA non black tie, a lot of couples are opting to modify this section of their invitation and combine it with the reception notation.


“Formal reception to follow” OR “Semi-formal reception to follow”


If you are having an adult ceremony and/or reception this is also a great place to include this information.


“Semi-Formal reception to follow”

“Adults Only Please”


“Adult reception to follow”

“Black Tie Required”


You can also opt to exclude the attire statement completely,


“Reception to immediately follow the ceremony”


“Adult reception to follow”



Bonus Section - Reception Information

Traditionally, this is where your invitation card is complete but in some cases, especially when it comes to saving some money, you CAN include the reception information on this card as well. Regardless of what the invitation etiquette gods tell you.


If your ceremony is in a different location than your reception, etiquette states you should include a reception card that has that information. I say if the design layout allows for the additional text, you can include your reception information as well. This would be placed after your ceremony location before your attire.


Christ Episcopal Church

120 N Military St | Dearborn, Michigan


Formal reception to follow immediately following the ceremony at


Detroit Yacht Club

1 Riverbank Drive | Detroit, Michigan


No children please


You can also write is less formally,

Join us for drinks, dinner and dancing immediately following the ceremony at


Detroit Yacht Club

1 Riverbank Drive | Detroit, Michigan


Just make sure if your ceremony and reception are in 2 different locations and there is a gap between the ceremony and reception you will need to include the time of the reception.


"Join us for drinks, dinner and dancing to begin at six thirty in the evening"



This is a personal preference option and if you are only needing an invitation and response card, this is usually the way to go. However, if you require more information to be included in your full suite. I do suggest adding the reception information to a separate card.


Well there you have it, the full run down on how to word your wedding invitation. For more helpful tips check out Wedding Planning Tips - Invitation Edition.


Want to learn more? Head on over to check out more of my blog posts all about wedding planning!




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heather-cannon-chair.jpg

Hi, I'm Heather

I am so excited you're here and to be able to share my knowledge & experience with you. Before you dive in, there are a few things you should know!

I am a boy mom, wifey, designer, paper-lover (it's like Christmas morning when I receive a paper shipment) and I am OBSESSED with the show FRIENDS! I dare you to challenge me on FRIENDS trivia.

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