Invitation Etiquette Explained

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Brides and grooms, I know your confused and overwhelmed. When you’re planning a wedding there are so many things required that you’ve never had to do before, such as hiring a caterer, choosing a wedding photographer, and mailing wedding invitations. (Who mails things, anyways!?) 

While I can’t say I’m an expert at catering or photography, I do know invitations. Your invitation acts as a first impression for your guests, and gives them an idea of what to expect at the wedding, and the way it is worded can make a huge impact in that impression. In this post, I will explain what details and information needs to be included on the invitation, and several options of how it can be worded.

What do your guest need to know?

Some of the information is obvious, your guests need to know who’s getting married (you, silly!), where it’s taking place, and what time they need to be there. The location typically includes the address, but not the zip code. Now, even though it feels like the reception is the big party, the invitation typically only includes the ceremony details. If a reception is taking place at a different location, that information should be presented on a separate small reception card or the details card.

There are lots of different ways to word an invitation. From very traditional, to very casual, and then options in between. Below are three wording examples representing varying degrees of formality.

Formal / traditional wording

Including both parents names and using the phrasing "request the honor of your presence is the most traditional and formal. 

In the old days, (when people rode on horses, and there was no Pinterest), the bride’s parents would be the ones hosting the event and sending the invitations. Therefore, their names would be presented first, requesting the company of their guests. Articulating the date and time of the event is also very traditional wording etiquette.

Typically, a wedding with this etiquette formality, the ceremony would take place in a house of worship, followed by a reception in a banquet hall or the like. The reception location and information would be included on a separate small reception card or a details card.

Modern Wording

Beginning the invitation with "together with their families" followed by "request the pleasure of your company" is a more modern approach to the traditional wording etiquette. This option might be great for a wedding that isn't being held in a house of worship, but is still a formal, classy event. 

Other options could be "together with their parents" and "invite you to celebrate
their marriage" In this example, the date and time are articulated the same, but don't necessarily need to be.

Casual wording

An even more casual option would be “together in love” or omitting the introductory line all together and going right to the couple’s names. Maybe you’re having a destination wedding in Hawaii and it could say something like “invite you to join in their luau of love”. There’s really no “rules”, just do what fits you and your family’s personality best.

In this example, the date and time are represented in numbers instead of words, and follows with "dinner and dancing to follow". If the ceremony and reception are taking place at the same location, this is a nice way to tell your guest what to expect following the ceremony. 

Overall, there really is no right or wrong answer when it comes to invitation wording, just different circumstances for different couples. I encourage you to use the wording etiquette that best fits you, your family, and your wedding.

Happy Planning!