Now that you've landed on a stationery designer and discussion some 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 come across. However, it’s helpful as a starting point to understand traditional etiquette and what it communicates to your guests. I’m here to help!
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 they are encountering. Whether you want to keep the wording classic and traditional or creative and personal is totally up to you. However, using more formal wording will help your guests understand the event is a little 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.
Jump to the Bottom of the page to see examples of different options.
Host Line : basically, who is hosting (often paying for) the wedding. Can be one set of parents, both sets of parents, you as a couple, or together with parents, etc.
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 request for your guests to attend. There are many ways to ask for the pleasure of your guests' company. Here are few options:
"the pleasure of your company" ; "would love for you to join them" ; "invite you to celebrate with them" "honour of your presence"; “invite you to share in their joy as they celebrate”; etc.
(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. 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.
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 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, the location goes on a different line. Include the time if the wedding reception is not immediately following the ceremony.
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, black-tie affair, or conversely, if the invitation on the simpler side, that indicates a more casual dress code. If your wedding is black tie or black tie optional, it is advised to include that on the invitation.
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 or giving your guests the ability RSVP online via your wedding website. If that's the case, include the website address on a separate card, just as you would with a mail back RSVP card.
Feel free to view/download the Wedding Language PDF of a variety of language/layout/formality options. This document will walk you through how to include wording for a variety of backgrounds including a deceased parent, a divorced parent, joint family hosting, etc.