How To Word Your Wedding Invitation
For most couples, this is the first time you’re planning a wedding! These days, there is more inspiration than you could possibly sort through, but who is there to answer your questions - like, how do I give my guests all the details they need for the weekend? Should I do both escort cards and place cards? How do people usually address the envelopes? Do I really need to do programs? Enter the Insiders Guide to Wedding Stationery, your answers to all things relating to your paper goods and signage. In my 6 years working with couples on their invitations and day-of paper goods, I’ve heard all the questions and seen many of examples of how people have handled unusual situations. I’m here to help you navigate the wedding waters! Let’s get started!
HOW TO WORD YOUR WEDDING INVITATION
You’ve found an invitation or stationery design you love and it’s time to make it yours - and trust me, seeing your name on your invitations for the first time really starts to make things feel real! But before you can see your names in print, you’ll need to determine the wording for your invitation. While this may be simple for you—names, wedding date and location—there are aspects that can complicate things and that you’ll need to sort through.
Traditionally, the host of the event (in other words, who’s paying!) is included right at the beginning. Something along the lines of:
Mrs. and Mrs. Gregory Smith joyfully invite you the wedding of their daughter….
This formal wording is great for a traditional wedding that is being thrown by the parents of the bride. However, these days, the groom’s parents or the couple themselves may be contributing to the wedding costs. That’s why you’ll see more and more often, something like the following:
Together with their families
Invite you to their wedding
This is a great way to keep it inclusive. This is also the perfect way to handle divorced parents or step parents, grandparents who might be helping out, or any other person who might wish to be included. Everyone is represented, it feels warm and welcoming and it may avoid some hurt feelings.
Make it joyful:
The line after your names is my favorite place to add a little warmth and joy to the wording, while still maintaining the formality of the event. Here are some ideas:
Invite you to share in their joy as they celebrate their marriage
Invite you to join them under the stars as they are married
Request the honor of your presence as they celebrate their wedding
Joyfully invite you to celebrate their marriage
Invite you to join them as they celebrate their marriage
The list goes on but as you can see - you’re not sacrificing the elegance or formality of the wedding invitation, but you can make it a little bit more personal.
Date, time and location:
This is the important stuff, so you want to make sure it’s clear. I typically like to keep it a bit formal by writing out the numbers of the date and time.
Saturday, the fourth of August, 2019 (you can spell out the year too if you have the room)
At half past four in the afternoon
For many couples, their reception is at the same location as their ceremony, so they add a simple line to make note of this. But again, feel free to have some fun with it!
Celebration to follow
Cocktails, dinner and dancing to follow
Or get a little cheeky!
Dinner and debauchery to follow
Dinner, dancing and merriment to follow
If your reception is somewhere different than your ceremony, this is a good place to make note of that too.
Reception to follow at the St. Regis Hotel
It’s optional to add attire to your invitation. If I do it, I usually make it small and somewhere at the bottom. This could go on a details card as well.
How should we write our names? Do they have to be full names? Include our middle names?
Totally up to you! The most formal would be your given names, but sometimes shorter names look better in the design. We often will do the middle and last name smaller than the first so that pops a bit too.
Why do I sometimes see the bride listed with just her first and middle name?
If the bride’s parents are hosting, the last name may be redundant, so you might see:
Mr. and Mrs. Gregory Smith
Joyfully invite to the marriage of their daughter
Andrew Conner Johnson
Where should I note no kids or include my registry info or wedding website?
If you can, I would avoid including this information on your invitation and save it for a details card. If you aren’t doing any other pieces, you can subtly include your website and make note of all those other details there.
I want to do something different!
At the end of the day, your wedding invitation should be reflective of you as a couple and your wedding day. Think about your guests who are accustomed to certain traditions around weddings—will they be offended if you do something different? Do you care? I always say that you should know the “rules” so you can decide how and when you’d like to break them.