Whose Name Goes First On A Wedding Invitation? Etiquette And Rules

Wedding season is here, and with it comes an average of 275,000 weddings per year in the UK. With each wedding comes the demands of tradition and wedding rules. As a result, you likely have some questions about how to write wedding invitations.

For instance, on a wedding invitation, whose name goes first? Plus, how should I structure a wedding invite?

To help you, we've found all you need to know about whose name goes first on the wedding invitation and other information to include to structure a wedding invite properly. That way, your wedding invitation is written correctly and formally according to wedding etiquette.

Read on to learn about writing a wedding invitation:

The Host

Tradition mandates that the bride's parents host the wedding. If they are hosting the affair alone, wedding etiquette requires the bride's parents to be named at the beginning of an invitation.

Although naming both sets of parents has become more common as it credits all the parents rather than leaving two out, this change makes the invitation sound more polite and considerate. Plus, it's become common for both sets of parents to contribute to the wedding due to rising costs.

Suppose it's a collaborative event hosted by the bride, groom, and both sets of parents. In that case, you can begin the invitation by stating the parents' names or with a short statement like, "Together with their families, Jane and Jack invite you to celebrate their love and union." Either choice is a proper and formal way to write a wedding invitation.

If you want to include the name of a deceased parent, you might be asking yourself on a wedding invite whose name goes first. Since one parent is deceased and thus cannot host, you'll need to rearrange the names a bit. Here's a formal example of how to rearrange the names: "Ariana Smith, daughter of Mr Austin Smith and the late Kristen Smith, request the pleasure of your presence."

The Request to Attend

There are infinite ways to invite your guests to your wedding celebration. Below are just a few of our favourite phrases:

  • "invite you to celebrate..."
  • "your presence is requested at the nuptials of.."
  • "Join us for the wedding of.."
  • "Please join us as we celebrate our union."
  • "would love for you to join the celebration of our union."
  • "Invite you to celebrate their love."

The Couple's Names

Questions like, does the bride's name go first on wedding invitations or can the groom's name come first are often asked when writing wedding invitations. That's because there's been a long debate about whose name is first on the wedding invite.

Traditionally, it's the bride's first and middle name followed by the groom's full name. The bride's name is usually first because the bride's parents are typically the hosts and, thus, the ones paying for the event.

Some people like the traditional way; others find it a way of the past. If you want to break tradition, you can place the groom's full name first or even shorten the names by using only first and last names. The use of middle names is only expected when the wedding is very formal; otherwise, the use is based on your personal preference.

Same-Sex Couples

Choosing whose name goes first on a wedding card is often based on old-fashioned traditions. For same-sex couples, those ways are not needed and often not wanted.

As a result, same-sex couples have two options: place names in alphabetical order or choose the order based on which sounds the best. Alphabetical order provides structure to the invitation and makes it easily readable. It's also a neutral way to write the invitation; that way, there's no argument about whose name is first on the wedding invitation.

In a traditional invitation, the couple's middle names are printed. Do same-sex couples need to include their middle names on the invitation? Again, without the constraints of traditional wedding etiquette, the use of middle names is based on personal preference.

If you want your invitation to sound formal, add middle names, making the invitation sound regal. However, if you want your invite to be more casual, it's best to state only your first and last names.

The Date and Time

If you want to stick with tradition, then both the date and time should be written out in full, meaning no numerals or short-hand. However, if you want your invitation to be more casual, numerals or short-hand is fine.

Remember to include the year in the date. Even if it seems obvious, giving your guests more information rather than less is better. In doing so, you'll avoid questions and further confusion from guests.

After the date, express the time the ceremony will begin. If you want to add more detail, you can also list when it's planned to end or state when guests should arrive to minimise a delay.

The Location

Once you've stated the date and time of the ceremony, provide details about the location by providing the venue's street address. If you have room, you can include parking information and anything else the guests need to know about the venue.

For instance, if the ceremony is being held in a certain room, print the room number so that all guests can easily find your ceremony. These details can be printed on the invitation or a separate RSVP card; whichever you choose, make sure to provide all the details. That way, there isn't any confusion about where to go or where to park.


The reception information is listed on a separate RSVP card for most weddings. However, if there's room on the invitation, the reception details can be printed after the location of the wedding.

If the ceremony and reception are held at the same location, after you print the venue address, write, "Followed by dinner and dancing" or "Followed by the reception." This will inform guests that there is no secondary location to which they need to drive to.

If the reception is held at a different location, clearly state the name of the venue, its address, parking options, and the reception time. Since this information can be a bit lengthy, it's important that you provide only the important details and do so concisely.

Dress Code

Traditionally, the dress code is included on the invitation in the lower right corner. Describe what you want your guest to wear by providing one to two example choices and colour options.

For example, you can write, "The dress code for our mid-day wedding is semi-formal attire (mid-length or knee-length dresses for women, pants and a dress shirt for men) in any colour except green."

If you don't explicitly say the dress code, guests will interpret the dress code from the look and style of the invitation. So make sure the dress code is clearly stated or that the invitation's design aligns with the wedding's formality.

Put It All Together

Now that you know how to write each part, let's put it all together to form an official wedding invitation. We've created five invitation examples to help you create your one-of-a-kind wedding invite.


Mrs Mary Anne & Mr Daniel John Smith and

Mrs Jane Rose & Mr Matthew Robert Jones

Invite you to celebrate,

Julia Anne Smith & Mark Robert Jones

On their wedding day.

Saturday| 13/01/2024 | 3:00 pm

Rowton Castle

Halfway House, Shrewsbury SY5 9EP, United Kingdom

Followed by dinner and dancing

Semi-formal attire is requested


Please join us as we celebrate our union,

Ally & Maria

Friday, 12th of July at 5:00 PM

Coombe Lodge

Coombe Lodge, Blagdon BS40 7RE, United Kingdom

Imedditally followed by the reception

Formal attire requested, floor-length dresses for women, suit, and tie for men.


Together with their families,

Miranda Taylor Joy & Stephen Matthew Potter

Invite you to celebrate their love.

Sunday, the eighteenth of September, Twenty Twenty-Four

At half past five in the evening

At Hamswell House

Hamswell House, Bath BA1 9DG, United Kingdom

Reception to follow at half past six at the Potter Household

Black-tie Optional


Join us for the union of

Della Johnson and Ford Copland

25th of August, 2024

At half past four in the evening

The Ned Landing

27 Poultry, London EC2R 8AJ, United Kingdom

Drinks, dinner, and dancing following the ceremony

Please wear formal attire


You're invited to the wedding of

Christopher Thomas & Ian Roberts

On Friday, the ninth day of February

Twenty Twenty-Four

At three in the afternoon

Doxford Barns

Doxford Farm, Chathill NE67 5DY, United Kingdom

Reception to follow

Whose Name Goes First on the Wedding Invitation? Your Questions Answered

Wedding planning is hard enough. The last thing you want to do is rewrite the invitation to fix any informalities or mistakes. Now that we have answered the debate on whose name goes first on the wedding invitation, you can write your invitations correctly and formally.

Look back at this guide to help you structure and write your one-of-a-kind wedding invitations. We at Pemerbly Fox have all the wedding stationery you need to invite and inform guests about your special day. To purchase wedding invite cards, check out our luxury wedding invitations.

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