Wedding Invitation Wording: The Etiquette

Wedding Invitation Wording: The Etiquette

Published

 Updated 13th March 2018

 

We are often asked for our top tips for the perfect wording to use on a wedding invite, so here are just a few:

Traditional Wedding Invitation Wording:

Traditional Wedding Invitation with engraved wordingThe Holkham Wedding Invitation

This format specifically applies where the bride's parents are still married and are hosting the Wedding:

Mr and Mrs (insert name of father, ie John Smith)
request the pleasure of
your company at the marriage
of their daughter
(insert bride’s first name)
to
(insert full name of groom here, including title)
at (insert venue name and address)
on (insert date)
at (insert time)
and afterwards at or followed by
(insert name and address of reception venue)

The RSVP address is then included in the bottom left hand corner, which is used to address the RSVP card. Many couples include a separate RSVP card, either as a postcard or with its matching envelope, for their guests to fill out and return to the hosts.  This is a simple way of keeping track of who is able to come to the wedding.

You must remember to include the full address of your ceremony (and reception if it is at a different venue), including the postcode. Do not use abbreviations, or you could find your guests go to the wrong place!

Invitations also have their own rules for punctuation and grammar. Capital letters are only used for names, dates and titles. Smaller words such as: at, on, to, and, request, invite, followed, etc should always be in lower case. Full stops are not usually used and commas are optional, but generally only used as part of addresses if necessary, or to separate dates and times.

However, nowadays, many families will not fit this format, so wording an invitation correctly can be a minefield! DEBRETTS, the recognised authority on etiquette since the Eighteenth Century, is a vital source of knowledge on this topic. It outlines various different wordings, taking into account alternative familial circumstances.

Below are just a few:

When both sets of parents are hosting:

Letterpressed example of wedding invitation wording when both sets of parents are hosting The Willow Wedding Invitation

 

Mr & Mrs (insert bride’s parents names) and Mr & Mrs (insert bride’s parents names)
requests the pleasure of
your company at the marriage
of their children...
with the rest of the format remaining as per the traditional wording

Wording when the bride’s mother is the hostess:

Mrs (insert bride’s mother’s first and surname)
requests the pleasure of
your company at the marriage
of her daughter
(insert bride’s first name)

When the bride’s father is the host:

Mr (insert bride’s father’s first and surname)
requests the pleasure of
your company at the marriage
of his daughter
(insert bride’s first name)

When the bride’s mother and stepfather are the joint host/hostess:

Mr and Mrs (insert first name and surname of stepfather)
request the pleasure of
your company at the marriage
of her daughter
(insert bride’s first name)

When the bride’s father and stepmother are the joint host/hostess:

Mr and Mrs (insert first name and surname of bride’s father)
request the pleasure of
your company at the marriage
of his daughter
(insert bride’s first name)

When the bride’s stepmother is the hostess:

Mrs (insert the first name and surname of bride’s father)
requests the pleasure of
your company at the marriage
of her stepdaughter
(insert bride’s first name)

When the bride’s parents are divorced, but are nevertheless co-hosting the wedding:

Mr & Mrs (insert father's first name and surname) and Mrs (insert first name and surname of mother’s current husband)*
request the pleasure of
your company at the marriage
of their daughter
(insert bride’s first name)

* if mother has not remarried then: Mrs (insert mother’s first name and surname of bride’s father)

When the hosts are the bride’s relatives, guardians or godparents:

(insert names of those hosting – first name and surname)
request the pleasure of
your company at the marriage
of their ward (insert first name and surname of bride, IF the surname is different from the host’s / hostess’s)

When the bride is the hostess:

Miss (insert first name and surname of the bride)
requests the pleasure of your company
at her marriage to
Mr (insert first name and surname of the groom)

When the bride and groom are the host and hostess:

A Copper Engraved Example of Wedding Invitation wording where the bride and groom are hosting The Hampton Wedding Invitation

 

Mr (insert first name and surname of the groom) and Miss (insert first name and surname of the bride)
request the pleasure of
your company at their marriage

Wording when a same-sex couple are hosting:

Hand Calligraphied Same Sex Wedding Invitation The Portland Wedding Invitation

 

Miss / Mr (insert first name and surname of one partner) and Miss / Mr (insert first name and surname of second partner)
request the pleasure of
your company at their marriage

Of course you can also vary and change the examples above, simply by adding or substituting phrases of your wedding invitation wording, to make them more personal or reflect the formality of the occasion:

At the beginning:
- Request the pleasure of your company
- Request the honour of your presence
- Would like to invite you to join them
- Invite you to celebrate
- Would love you to join them

The Bamburgh Wedding Invitation The Bamburgh Wedding Invitation

 

What else should be included in the wedding invitation wording?

 

How to include Dates and Times in your invitation:

It has historically been correct to write the dates, times and year in numbers. However in recent years, we have seen that trend evolve especially with the influence of American formats where these are now written out in words. Including the year is optional - the assumption being your wedding is on the nearest date. Below are some examples of ways for you to apply the dates and times or years to your wedding invitation.

3 o’clock
3 o’clock in the afternoon
3.00 pm
3 p.m.
Three o’clock
Saturday, 29th December 2017

Wedding Venue Details:

The exact address of your wedding venue is not usually needed as this can be spelled out in the wedding information card. However, the village, town or city and the county should be written out in full.

Wedding Reception Information

Very formal invitations usually include this information on a separate card but it can be printed on the wedding invitation itself if there is room. For instance, if the ceremony and reception are held at the same location, you may wish to include "and afterwards for the reception".

If your guests are only being invited to the wedding reception or part of it, this information would be included on a separate invitation. Below are some other examples of how to include details of the reception.

And afterwards at (the venue)
And afterwards for dinner and dancing
Followed by dinner and dancing
Followed by a reception at

Wedding Guest Dress Code

If you are including the Dress Code on your wedding invitation, this should be written in the lower right hand corner of the invitation. If you choose not to include the Dress Code, your invitation is likely to give a clue to the correct attire. For instance, if your invitation is very formal your guests may assume it is Morning Dress or Black Tie. The simpler the invitation the more casual the guests may assume the event to be. In our experience it is usually better to include details of expected attire.

We hope this rough guide is helpful. Don’t forget, the team at Pemberly Fox is always a phone call or visit away, if you should have any queries or worries.

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