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Wedding Invitation Wording: The Etiquette

How to word a wedding invitation

Published 24th October 2016 by Michael Harris

Engraved and letterpressed wedding invitations

We are often asked for our top tips for wording a wedding invitation correctly, so here are just a few:

The traditional format for a wedding invitation, where both parents are married, is as follows:

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.

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:

If 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)

If the bride’s father is the hostess:

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)

If 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)

If 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)

Where 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)

If the bride’s parents are divorced, and or remarried 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)

If 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)

If 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)

Where the bride and groom are the host and hostess:

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

Where a same-sex couple are hosting:

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 on your invitation, 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

Dates and Times:
3 o’clock
3 o’clock in the afternoon
3.00 pm
3 p.m.
Three o’clock
Saturday 29th December 2017

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

Ribbon wedding invitation and square wedding invitation

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.