Now that you've nailed down a little more of your stationery vision, it's time to take on invitation wording. Modern stationery has loosened the reigns a lot on the must dos/don’ts and has given the freedom back to the couple to define how they want the tone of their invites to convey to their wedding guests. It’s helpful as a starting point to understand traditional etiquette and what it communicates to your guests. I’m here to help you understand and find your happy ground for all the words!


The Basics


The language you use on your wedding invitations sets up your guests to know what to expect from your wedding day. Keep in mind, this is the first official piece of your wedding celebration they are encountering. Whether you want to keep the wording classic and traditional or creative and personal is totally up to you. However, using formal language will help your guests understand the event is more elevated or formal. Using creative language will communicate more personality and that the event is a little less formal. It is 100% acceptable to mix styles to express you as a couple as well as communicate the formality of the event.


mr. and mrs. smith (host line)
invite you to celebrate the marriage of (request line)
jane & john (names of bride & groom)
saturday, june 7, 2019 (date & time)
the venue barn (location)
city, state
dinner & dancing to follow (reception info)

Host Line : basically, who is hosting (traditionally who is paying for) the wedding. Can be one set of parents, both sets of parents, you as a couple, or together with parents, etc. Traditionally written out with full names and titles.

If it's a collaborative event hosted and paid for by the bride, groom and both sets of parents, you can also use "Together with their parents, Elizabeth and Richard request the pleasure of your company ..."

Request Line: the invitation to your guests for their attendance. There are many ways to ask for the pleasure of your guests' company. Here are few options:

"request the pleasure of your company at the marriage of their daughter…" ;
"would love for you to join them in the marriage celebration of…";
"invite you to celebrate with them…"
"honour* of your presence is requested…";
“invite you to share in their joy as they celebrate…”;

*(Note: The British spelling of "honour" traditionally indicates the ceremony will be held in a church or another house of worship.)

Names of Bride & Groom: Traditionally the name of the bride always precedes the groom's name. Formal invitations issued by the bride's parents refer to her by her first and middle names, and the groom by his full name (as she will take his last name). If the tone is more casual, first names only of the bride and groom are often chosen.

Date & Time: For formal weddings, traditionally everything is written out in full (no numbers). The year is optional (the assumption being your wedding is on the nearest such date). Time of day is spelled out using "o'clock" or "half past five o'clock." For casual weddings, numbers are often used a bit more and can be used as bold graphics for a modern, casual look.

Location: The street address of a venue is not necessarily needed, unless omitting it would lead to confusion or your wedding is taking place at a personal location/home. The city and state should be written out in full and often the zip code is left off.

Reception Info: Formal invitations include this information on a separate card as well as weddings that have a reception at a location that differs from the ceremony location.
Otherwise, it can be printed on the wedding invitation itself if there is room; if the ceremony and reception are held in the same location, you may print "reception to follow”; “dinner and dancing to follow” or "reception immediately following."

When the reception is elsewhere or at a different time, we suggest including a separate card detailing the time and location to draw your guests attention for travel arrangements.

Dress Code: If you don't include a note on attire, the invitation will indicate the dress code. For example, if the invitation is very fancy, guests will likely anticipating a formal affair, or conversely, if the invitation uses casual language and tone, that indicates a more casual dress code. Often, couples elect to leave dress code off of the invitation and add it onto their wedding website. In the event that your wedding is black tie or black tie optional, it is advised to include that on the invitation so that your guests can dress appropriately.

Reply: It is common for couples choose to include a separate response card for guests. This can be for the guests to fill out and return in the mail (traditional etiquette says the envelope would be included with a stamp to ensure guests don’t pay additional postage) or giving your guests the ability RSVP online via your wedding website. If that's the case, include the website address on a separate RSVP card, just as you would with a mail back RSVP card.

Reply By Date: The date by which you request reply should be coordinated with your caterer and listed onto the reply card. We typically recommend 3-4 weeks in advance so you have time to track down the few that inevitably forget to reply and leave yourself some margin to make final meal counts and seating charts.