Invitation Wording and Etiquette

Invitation Wording and Etiquette

There's nothing worse than sending your invitations and hearing there was an etiquette faux pas you missed/didn't know of. But don't worry, We know the rules and when it's ok to bend them - so we put together this helpful 'guide' to explain what's needed, what to avoid, and how to go traditional or more modern with your invitation wording.


First things first. What NEEDS to be on your invitation?

  1. Who's hosting (if applicable)
  2. The request to come to the wedding
  3. The names of the bride and groom
  4. The date and time
  5. The location


  1. Reception information
  2. Dress code

You may add reception and/or dress code details to the main invitation, or it can be included on a details insert. These are important details guests will appreciate!



Do NOT include on the main invitation:

  1. Registry details - including a registry can be considered a faux pas. We typically recommend including those details on your wedding website only.
  2. RSVP details - You should have a separate RSVP card for your guests to fill in and return. Some more modern couples are opting for the digital RSVP route, but we've actually seen a better return on traditional RSVP cards- so we normally encourage a traditional mail in style for best results!

Let's break it down - line by line.

The Host Line: Who's Hosting

Traditionally, the bride's parents are the hosts of the wedding and are named at the top of the invitation. You can Include the names of both sets of parents as hosts if they are both contributing to the bill.

Mr. and Mrs. Bradley Whitman

Request the pleasure of your company

at the Marriage of their Daughter


Mr. and Mrs. Bradley Whitman

and Mr. and Mrs. Christian Lane

Request the pleasure of your company

at the Marriage of their children

If it's a collaborative affair hosted/paid for by the bride and groom with one or both sets of parents, you can also use "Together with their parents, [Bride] and [Groom] request the pleasure of your company ..."

If you have parents that are divorced but still want to list them all, just put your parents on two separate lines with/without their spouse. Like this:

Dr. and Mrs. Gregory Smith

and Mr. and Mrs. Arnold Richmond

request your honor of your presense...

The Request Line:

There are many ways to ask for the pleasure of your guests' company. Here are few more options:

  • "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"

The British spelling of "honour" traditionally indicates the ceremony will be held in a church or another house of worship. If it will be at a venue you can use "Honor" instead.


Your Names:

Traditionally the name of the bride always precedes the groom's name. Formal invitations issued by the bride's parents refer to her by her first and middle name, the groom by his full name. If the Grooms parents are listed, his last name can be omitted as well.

For same sex couples, the traditional rule of the woman first and man second isn't applicable, the last name rule still applies- if their parents are listed, their last name can be omitted!


The Date and Time

For formal weddings, everything is written out in full (no numerals). The year is optional but typically included. Time of day is spelled out using "o'clock" or "half past five o'clock." and can include "in the evening" or "in the afternoon" to indicate am or pm. Rule bender: For more casual weddings, the use of numerals are fine.

The Location

The street address of a venue is not always needed unless omitting it would lead to confusion or your wedding is taking place at the host's home. We normally include it or only the city state. The city and state should be written out in full in either case (no zip code).

Reception Information

More formal invitations include this information on a separate card. Otherwise, it can be printed on the wedding invitation itself if there is room; if the ceremony and reception are held in the same location, you may write "reception to follow" or similar wording. When the reception is elsewhere, the location goes on a new line.


Dress Code

If you choose to not include a note on attire either on the main invitation or a separate details insert, the invitation should indicate the dress code. For example, if the invitation is very fomral, guests will likely be anticipating a formal, black-tie affair, likewise, if the invitation is on the simpler side, that indicates a more casual dress code.

Confused about what dress code to choose? We love this article that explains the different options, click here.



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