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Wedding Invitation Wording

Now that you've picked out your beautiful wedding stationery, it's time to work on your wedding invitation wording. Whether you want to keep your wording classic and traditional or creative and whimsical is entirely up to you. Whatever route you choose, there are still basic elements that should be included regardless.

The good news is that invitation etiquette rules aren't complicated. They are actually much simpler and more straightforward than you realize. No matter the case the most important rule of all is that you create a beautiful wedding invitation that represents you, your love, and the big day to come (and communicates the vital details of the wedding, of course) – so feel absolutely free to steal the wording right from our samples or these wedding invitation wording rules to create your own.

What to Include on Your Wedding Invitation

All wedding invitations should include the following elements:

  • Who's hosting

  • The request to come to the wedding

  • The names of the couple

  • The date and time

  • The location

  • Reception information

  • Dress code

  • Separate RSVP card

Wedding Invitation Wording Line by Line

The Host

Traditionally, the bride's parents are the hosts of the wedding and are named at the top of the invitation, even for very formal affairs. However, including the names of both sets of parents as hosts is a gracious option no matter who foots the bill. Also, more and more couples these days are hosting their own weddings, or do so together with their parents.

If it's a collaborative affair hosted and paid for by the couple and both sets of parents, you can use "Together with their parents, Shae and Dominic request the pleasure of your company..."

If you want to include the name of a parent who is deceased, you'll need to rearrange things a bit, as someone who has passed can't actually serve as a host. An alternate way, then, to include a deceased parent just means rearranging the wording a bit. For example:

Julia French, daughter of Mr. Adam French and the late Iris French, and Austin Mahoney, son of Mr. Camden and Elizabeth Mahoney, request the honor of your presence at their wedding on the fifth of May, two thousand seventeen at one o'clock in the afternoon The Reagan Library Simi Valley, California Dinner & dancing to follow Black tie required

If the couple's parents are divorced and you want to include both as hosts, you can include them all, just keep each parent on a separate line. If you're going to include the name of a step parent, keep it on the same line as their partner. It might seem complex at first, but all it requires is a few more lines. This is an example of a bride with divorced (and remarried) parents' wedding invitation wording:

Dr. Vance and Elizabeth Gregory and Mr. James Abner and Lydia Abner and Mr. Harold and Jane Hyland invite you to the wedding of their children Amy Abner and Charles Hyland

01.06.18 | 4 p.m. Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church Newport, California Reception immediately after

The Request to Attend

There are many ways to ask for the pleasure of your guests' company. The British spelling of "honour" traditionally indicates the ceremony will be held in a house of worship. Here are few options:

  • "the pleasure of your company"

  • "at the marriage of their children"

  • "would love for you to join them"

  • "invite you to celebrate with them"

  • "honor of your presence"

The Names of Couple

If their names haven't been included in the host line, they should still take center stage a few lines down. No one would forget to add this to a wedding invitation, of course, but you might be wondering whose name should go first on a wedding invitation? 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, the groom by his full name and title; if the couple is hosting by themselves, their titles are optional.

For same-sex couples, the traditional rule of the woman first and man second isn't applicable. Whether it's "Emily and Zara" or "Zara and Emily," it's going to be lovely either way. When writing their own names, same-sex couples can choose to either go in alphabetical order or simply with what sounds better.

The Date and Time

For formal weddings, everything is written out in full (no numerals). 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 after five o'clock." The use of a.m. or p.m. is optional. For casual weddings, numerals are fine.

The Location

The street address of a venue is not usually needed unless omitting it would lead to confusion or your wedding is taking place at the host's home. The city and state should be written out in full in either case.

Reception Information

Very formal invitations include this information on a separate card. 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 "and afterward at the reception" 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

Wedding invitation etiquette dictates that the dress code—if you're including it on the invitation— is the lower right-hand corner of the invitation. 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 be anticipating a formal, black-tie affair, or conversely, if the invitation on the simpler side, that indicates a more casual dress code.

Separate RSVP Card

Most couples choose to include a separate response card for guests to fill out and return in the mail. You also have the option of having people RSVP via your wedding website. If that's the case, include the website address on a separate card, just as you would with an RSVP card, and indicate that guests can let you know if they can come directly on the site.

Wedding Invitation Wording Examples

Stacey and Peter

With great pleasure

Stacey Bullington and Peter Cunningham invite you to join them at the celebration of their marriage Saturday, July 9, 2016 at two thirty in the afternoon Santa Barbara Courthouse - Mural Room Santa Barbara, California Dinner and dancing to follow at Casa de la Guerra

Patricia and Caleb

Please join us for the wedding of Patricia Ahn & Caleb Wright Sunday The 4th of December, 2013 at half-past seven in the evening The Foundry Long Island, New York reception to follow

Julia and David

Jerry & Georgian Sadowski and Gary & Georgia Byrne invite you to celebrate with their children, Julia & David on their wedding day Friday | 07 Sep 12 | 3:30 p.m. Cortelyou Commons, DePaul University: Ceremony Peggy Norbert Nature Museum: Reception 6 p.m.

Grace and Russell

Grace and Russell Fitzpatrick are gettin' hitched! August 4th 2016 Join us at 5 o'clock The West Palm 825 Oceanside Ave St. Petersburg Merriment to follow

Naomi and Harrison

Naomi and Harrison Dr. and Mrs. Donnor Salvatore Quette and Mr. and Mrs. Elliot Boalt Invite you to celebrate the marriage of their children Naomi Grace Quette and Harrison Luke Boalt Saturday, the fifth of November, two thousand and sixteen Six o'clock in the evening | The Inn at Serenbe | Palmetto, Georgia followed by dinner & dancing

Rachel and Zach

Rachel & Zach are getting married!! October 19th 2013 Four o'clock in the evening at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Drinks, Dancing & Shenanigans to follow

Marin and Joseph

Doctor and Mrs. Ronald Kaleya Mr. and Mrs. Barnett Rothenberg invite you to share in their joy at the marriage of their children Marin Sami and Joseph Benjamin Saturday, the twenty-ninth of September Two thousand twelve at six o'clock in the evening Brooklyn Botanic Garden 1000 Washington Avenue Brooklyn, New York Dinner and dancing to follow Black tie invited

Rachel and Mark

Mr. and Mrs. Lucas Darby Request the pleasure of your company at the wedding of their daughter Rachel Faye to Mark Sebastian Catalano Saturday, the twenty-fourth of September Two thousand and eleven at half after five o'clock Ubud Hanging Gardens Bali, Indonesia Reception to follow

Stephanie and Taylor

Together with their families Stephanie May Mattersen and Taylor Grant Kealey Request the honor of your presence as they Tie the knot Friday May Twelfth, Two Thousand Fifteen At two o'clock in the afternoon Conservatory Garden Central Park New York, New York

Katie and Jacob

Katie & Jacob would love your presence in celebrating their marriage May 23rd 2013 | 3 o'clock in the afternoon 2701 Hodges Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32296 Reception to follow

Chloe and Matthew

Love is in the air Chloe Marie Sinclair & Matthew James Denton Have the honour of announcing their marriage on Saturday, the tweny-fifth of August Two thousand eighteen at three o'clock in the afternoon Glochester Catholic Church Dublin Ireland C + M

Ben and Eleanor

We're getting married! Ben & Eleanor Please join us 10.11.2014 at 5:30 p.m. Panorama Hills

Philip and Heath

Together with their families Philip Parker & Heath Hartsell Invite you to join them as they say "I Do!" Saturday, the twenty-first of August | two thousand eighteen Six o'clock in the evening | New Orleans, Pharmacy Museum, New Orleans New Louisiana Dinner, dancing & drinks to follow | Black-tie optional

Emily and Michael

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Baker Request the pleasure of your company at the marriage of their daughter Emily Louise to Michael Chase Walker Saturday, December 15, 2012 at five o'clock in the evening The Union Club Bethesda, Maryland Dinner and dancing to follow

Felicia and Kellis

Please join Felicia Beth Yoder and Kellis Curry Cunningham as they tie the knot October 4th 2014 four o'clock in the afternoon Gulf Beach Resort Motel Sarasota, FL

Nicole and Cameron

Mr. and Mrs. William Edward Manning request the pleasure of your company

at the marriage of their daughter Nicole Manning to Cameron West 09.10.2015 at 4pm Gramercy Park Hotel | New York City Cocktails, dinner & dancing to follow

Amelia and Jake

Amelia Bell + Jake Bradley Request the honor of your presence on their wedding day Saturday, the eleventh of June

Two thousand and sixteen at half past six o'clock in the evening the First Congregational Church of Wells

Rachael and Ryan

Please join us for our wedding Rachael Jordan & Ryan Doherty January 3rd 2015 4:00pm Griffith Observatory 2800 E. Observatory Rd. *Dinner to follow at * Blue Palms Brewhouse 6124 Hollywood Blvd

Dierdre and Peter

The wedding of

Dierdre Watters Norman and Peter Francis Carr St. Luke Roman Catholic Church River Forest, Illinois November 21, 2009

Lindsay and Eric

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Dombi Invite you to join in the Celebration of the marriage of their daughter Lindsay Marie to Eric James Son of Mr. and Mrs. Jay Tkacz Saturday, May 11 Two thousand thirteen at one thirty in the afternoon St. Mary's Star of the Sea 145 Main St. // Unionville, CT Adult reception to follow at 4:30 p.m. // Farmington Gardens

Sara and Christopher

Together with their Parents Sara and Christopher Hannigan

invite you to attend their wedding ceremony Sunday August 25th 2013 at 6 pm St. Regis Resort Monarch Beach California

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