One aspect of wedding planning that often confuses couples is how to write their wedding invitations properly. Couples often aren’t sure about what the traditional rules are; however, writing a wedding invitation doesn’t need to be complicated. There’s actually a fairly basic script you can follow.
The Order of a Wedding Invitation
A traditional wedding invitation usually consists of 8 lines and a response card.
Line One: The Host
Traditionally, the bride’s parents are the hosts of the wedding, and they are named at the top of the wedding invitation, even for very formal affairs. However, including both sets of parents is a gracious option no matter who foots the bill.
If just one parent is hosting say, “Ms. Iris French requests your company at the marriage of her daughter Julia French to Austin Mahoney…”
If you want to include the name of a deceased parent, you’ll need to rearrange your wording a bit. One way to word this is, “Julia French, the daughter of Ms. Iris French and the late Adam French, and Austin Mahoney, son of Mr. Camden and Elizabeth Mahoney, request the honor of your presence at their wedding…”
If including both sets of parents, you can say, “Ms. Iris French, along with Mr. Camden and Elizabeth Mahoney, request the honor of your presence for the marriage of their children…”
Line Two: The Request
There are many ways to ask for the pleasure of your guests’ company. It’s worth noting that the British spelling of the word “honour” traditionally indicates the ceremony will be held in a house of worship. Here are a few options for wording your second line:
- “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”
Lines Three and Four: The Couple’s Names
If their names have not been included in the host line, the bride and groom should still take center stage a few lines down. Traditionally, the bride’s name always comes before the groom’s name. Formal wedding invitations issued by the bride’s parents refer to her by her first and middle names while the groom is referred to by his full name and title.
Line Five: The Date and Time
For formal weddings, everything is written out in full, meaning no numerals. The year is optional because the assumption is your wedding is on the nearest such date. Time is spelled out using “o’clock” or “half after five o’clock.” The use of an a.m. or p.m. is optional. For casual weddings, numbers are fine to use.
Line Six: The Location
The street address of the venue is not usually needed unless omitting it would lead to confusion. The city and state should be written out in full.
Line Seven: The Reception
Very formal invitations include this on a separate card. Otherwise, it can be printed on the wedding invitation if there is room. If the ceremony and reception are held at the same location, you may print “reception immediately following” or “dinner and dancing to follow.” When the reception is elsewhere, the location goes on a different line.
Line Eight: The Dress Code
This is where you can let guests know what dress code is appropriate. If it is anything less than Black Tie Optional, there is no need to have a line for the dress code. If you do wish for your guys to dress up, you can choose “Black Tie Required” or “Black Tie Optional” to let them know others will be dressed accordingly.
The Response Card
Traditionally, there is a line for the guest’s name, and underneath, they would check “accepts with pleasure” or “declines with regret.”
If hosting a plated meal, under the attendance, they would need to select their entrée choice.
For destination weddings not having a plated reception but hosting several events throughout the weekend, it is appropriate to have them select which events they will be attending.
There’s no need to stress over the wording of your wedding invitations. Following tradition makes it easy to write the perfect wedding invite. If you’re unsure of the details or you need help putting together your special day, you can always reach out to us! We’d love to help you take care of those details, so you can enjoy your wedding journey.