What Every Bride Should Know about Wedding Invitations
When it comes to wedding invitation grammar, I’ve got Emily Post’s website bookmarked and Crane’s Wedding Blue Book in my back pocket. Here, you’ll find everything you need to know about wedding invitation wording.
The Anatomy of a Wedding Invitation
1. Host Line
Traditionally, the bride's parents host the wedding. Although today, many couples host their own wedding or host together with their families.
2. Request Line
Weddings held inside a house of worship use “request the honor of your presence”. Otherwise, use “request the pleasure of your company”.
3. list the bride first
If her parents are hosting, use her first and middle name only.
4. followed by the groom’s name
Feel free to add his parents names underneath, i.e. “son of…”
5. Date and Time
Spell out the full date and time. There is no "and" between the year.
Include the venue name and city, state. Add the street address, if you wish, but no zip code as it can clutter the design.
7. Reception to follow
There are lots of options for this line! See details below.
Formally, invitations are issued by the bride’s parents, no matter who is paying for the event. However, it is common today for couples to honor those paying for the event by including them as hosts, i.e. if the bride and groom are financially contributing along with their parents, a common phrase is “together with their families”. If only the bride and groom host, begin the invitation with the bride’s full name followed by the groom’s name, then list the request lines below the groom’s name.
Use “honor of your presence” for weddings held at a church or place of worship. This does not mean you are not having a religious ceremony or a formal event, it simply lets guests know what to expect. For weddings outside of a place of worship, use “pleasure of your company”.
Honor vs. Honour
Especially formal events use the British spelling, such as “honour of your presence”. However, it is also acceptable to use the American spelling, “honor”.
Bride & Groom’s Names
Always list the bride's name first. Use the bride’s first and middle names if she shares the same name as her parents. Courtesy titles (such as Miss or Ms.) are typically not used. The groom's full name should be listed, even if his parents' names are included on the invitation. Especially formal weddings may use a title for the groom, i.e. “Mr.”
Include the venue name and city, state. For those with many out of town guests or for a destination wedding, you may wish to list the street address as a courtesy to guests. If your wedding is held at a private residence, you must include the street address to avoid confusion. Zip codes are never used as it can clutter the design.
Ceremony & Reception at a Different Location or Time
Always list the ceremony location on the main invitation. Add “reception to follow” or “and afterward at the reception” if you desire. For formal weddings, a reception insert card is included if the wedding and reception are at different locations or if there is a significant time break between both events.
For especially formal, black-tie or white tie events, include “Black-tie” or “White-tie” on the bottom right corner of a reception insert card.
Like registry information, some guests may be offended if you list “adults only” or “no children” on the main invitation. Let guests know this detail by addressing envelopes to the parent(s) only and by word of mouth. If you prefer to have this phrase included, I recommend adding it to a separate details card. But in most cases, this wording is strongly discouraged.
It is considered too forth-coming to list your registry on the invitation. If you wish to follow traditional wedding invitation wording, you can direct guests to your wedding website, where you can link to your registry.
It is preferable to list website details on a separate enclosure, as web addresses can clutter the design of your invitation.
RSVP Meal Options
In general, invitations are to be as brief as possible as a courtesy to your guests. For this reason, it is recommended to make meal options brief, too, like “beef/chicken/vegetarian”. By giving too many details on your stationery, guests might start to feel overwhelmed.
Why use formal wording?
Invitations can be formal or informal, and these days you'll see many variations of both. Call me old fashioned, but I believe in using correct grammar for any type of correspondence. All formal written material has guidelines–from newspapers to books and beyond. Guidelines are set in place to help readers know what to expect. It's not a matter of being stuffy or snooty, it more for convenience and ease of reading than snobbery. Of course, I am always happy to accommodate any special requests you may have–whether you adore tradition or err on the offbeat side!