A Complete Guide to Wedding Invitation Wording

Don't forget these important details!

invitation

PHOTO BY KAYLEE CHELSEA PHOTOGRAPHY, Invitations by Vintage Inkwell / Design by Zackary Angeline

Now that you've picked out your stationery, it's time to take on wedding invitation wording—whether you want to keep the wording classic and traditional or creative and whimsical is up to you, but whatever route you choose, there are still basic elements that should be included no matter what.

The good news is that wedding invitation etiquette rules aren't that complicated, after all. The rules are actually much simpler and more straightforward than you think. And no matter the case, they're there to serve as a guideline. The most important rule of all is that you create a beautiful wedding invitation that represents you, your love, and the big day to come (and communicates the vital details of the wedding)—so feel absolutely free to riff off these wedding invitation wording rules to create your own.

To help guide you, we're breaking down what each line means and what it typically includes.

What to Include on Your Wedding Invite
Michela Buttignol/Brides 

What to Include on Your Wedding Invitation

All wedding invitations should include the following elements:

  • Who's hosting
  • The request to come to the wedding
  • The names of the couple
  • The date and time
  • The location
  • Reception information
  • Dress code
  • Separate RSVP card

Wedding Invitation Wording Line by Line

The Host

Traditionally, the bride's parents are the hosts of the wedding and are named at the top of the invitation, even for very formal affairs. However, including the names of both sets of parents as hosts is a gracious option no matter who foots the bill. Also, more and more couples these days are hosting their own weddings, or do so together with their parents.

If it's a collaborative affair hosted and paid for by the couple and both sets of parents, you can also use "Together with their parents, Emma and Jax request the pleasure of your company ..."

If you want to include the name of a parent who is deceased, you'll need to rearrange things a bit, as someone who has passed can't actually serve as a host. An alternate way, then, to include a deceased parent just means rearranging the wording a bit. Try this, for example:

Julia French, daughter of Mr. Adam French and the late Iris French,
and
Austin Mahoney, son of Mr. Camden and Elizabeth Mahoney,
request the honor of your presence
at their wedding
on the fifth of May, two thousand seventeen
at one o'clock in the afternoon
The Reagan Library
Simi Valley, California
Dinner & dancing to follow
Black tie required

If the couple's parents are divorced and you want to include both as hosts, you can include them all, just keep each parent on a separate line. If you're going to include the name of a stepparent, keep it on the same line as their partner. It might seem complex at first, but all it requires is a few more lines. This is an example of a bride with divorced (and remarried) parents' wedding invitation wording:

Dr. Vance and Elizabeth Gregory
and Mr. James Abner and Lydia Abner
and Mr. Harold and Jane Hyland
invite you to the wedding of their children
Amy Abner and Charles Hyland 01.06.18 | 4 p.m.
Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church
Newport, California
Reception immediately after

The Request to Attend

There are many ways to ask for the pleasure of your guests' company. The British spelling of "honour" traditionally indicates the ceremony will be held in a church or another house of worship. Here are few 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 Names of Couple

If their names haven't been included in the host line, they should still take center stage a few lines down. No one would forget to add this to a wedding invitation, of course, but you might be wondering whose name should go first on a wedding invitation? 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 names, the groom by his full name and title; if the couple is hosting by themselves, their titles are optional.

For same-sex couples, the traditional rule of the woman first and man second isn't applicable. Whether it's "Emily and Zara" or "Zara and Emily," it's going to be lovely either way. When writing their own names, same-sex couples can choose to either go in alphabetical order or simply with what sounds better.

The Date and Time

For formal weddings, everything is written out in full (no numerals). The year is optional (the assumption being your wedding is on the nearest such date). Time of day is spelled out using "o'clock" or "half after five o'clock." The use of a.m. or p.m. is optional. For casual weddings, numerals are fine.

The Location

The street address of a venue is not usually needed unless omitting it would lead to confusion or your wedding is taking place at the host's home. The city and state should be written out in full in either case.

Reception Information

Very 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 print "and afterward at the reception" or "reception immediately following." When the reception is elsewhere, the location goes on a different line.

Include the time if the wedding reception is not immediately following the ceremony.

Dress Code

Wedding invitation etiquette dictates that the dress code—if you're including it on the invitation—is the lower right-hand corner of the invitation. If you don't include a note on attire, the invitation will indicate the dress code. For example, if the invitation is very fancy, guests will likely be anticipating a formal, black-tie affair, or conversely, an invitation on the simpler side indicates a more casual dress code.

Separate RSVP Card

Most couples choose to include a separate response card for guests to fill out and return in the mail. You also have the option of having people RSVP via your wedding website. If that's the case, include the website address on a separate card, just as you would with an RSVP card, and indicate that guests can let you know if they can come directly on the site.

Wedding Invitation Wording Examples

1. Stacey and Peter

With great pleasure
Stacey Bullington
and
Peter Cunningham
invite you to join them
at the celebration of their marriage
Saturday, July 9, 2016
at two thirty in the afternoon
Santa Barbara Courthouse - Mural Room
Santa Barbara, California
Dinner and dancing to follow at Casa de la Guerra

2. Isaac and Allison

Minimalist wedding invitation suite

Photo by The Times We Have

Isaac + Allison
With family & friends, we invite you to
celebrate our wedding day.
April 11th, 2021 at 6 pm
San Jose del Cabo, Mexico at Acre Baja
Reception to follow

3. Julia and David

Jerry & Georgian Sadowski
and Gary & Georgia Byrne
invite you to celebrate with their children,
Julia & David
on their wedding day
Friday | 07 Sep 12 | 3:30 p.m.
Cortelyou Commons, DePaul University: Ceremony
Peggy Norbert Nature Museum: Reception 6 p.m.

4. Grace and Russell

Grace and Russell Fitzpatrick
are gettin' hitched!
August 4th 2016
Join us at 5 o'clock
The West Palm
825 Oceanside Ave
St. Petersburg
Merriment to follow

5. Samantha and Andrew

Beige, gray and white wedding invitation flat lay styled with fresh flowers and earrings

Photo by Judith Rae Photography

Mrs. Mindy Laub
Mr. Richard Netkin
Mr. and Mrs. Yuval Brash
Request the pleasure of your company
at the marriage of their children
Samantha Maxx
and
Andrew Isaac
Saturday, the twenty-first of May
Two thousand twenty-two
At half after six o'clock
Old Westbury Golf and Country Club
Old Westbury, New York
Black tie

6. Chase and Kelianne

Minimalist white invitation suite with black lettering styled with fresh blooms

Photo by Madison Emily Hare Photography

Please join us as we celebrate our wedding
Chase Mattson
&
Kelianne Stankus
June 9th, 2022 at 5:00 PM
Serendipity Garden
12865 Oak Glen Road, Oak Glen, CA 92399

7. Marin and Joseph

Doctor and Mrs. Ronald Kaleya
Mr. and Mrs. Barnett Rothenberg
invite you to share in their joy
at the marriage of their children
Marin Sami and Joseph Benjamin
Saturday, the twenty-ninth of September
Two thousand twelve
at six o'clock in the evening
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
1000 Washington Avenue
Brooklyn, New York
Dinner and dancing to follow
Black tie invited

8. Andrea & Landon

Lace and linen wedding invitation flat lay

Photo by Valorie Darling

Mr. and Mrs. Robert V. Alvarado, Jr.
Request the pleasure of your presence
to celebrate the marriage of
Andrea & Landon
Thompson
Saturday, the ninth of October, two thousand twenty-one
at five o'clock in the evening
One&Only Palmilla
San Jose del Cabo, Mexico
Reception to follow

9. Agee and Alexander

Vibrant and colorful flat lay of watercolor wedding invitation suite with custom monogram styled with fresh flowers and stone fruits

Photo by AGP Collective

Together with their families
Agee Gretta Taylor
and
Alexander Charles Leinberry
Invite you to join them in the celebration of their love
Saturday, the twenty-fourth of July
Two thousand twenty one
At half past four in the afternoon
The Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch
Beaver Creek, Colorado
An evening of dinner and dancing to follow

Black tie optional

10. Jennifer and Andrew

Colorful wedding invitation suite with tassels

Photo by Kaley from Kansas

Jennifer and Andrew
Invite you to celebrate their wedding
Saturday, the third of July
Two thousand and twenty-one
At half past four o'clock
Surrey-Williamson Inn
Saratoga Springs, New York
Black tie optional

11. Chloe and Matthew

Love is in the air
Chloe Marie Sinclair & Matthew James Denton
Have the honour of announcing
their marriage
on Saturday, the tweny-fifth of August
Two thousand eighteen
at three o'clock in the afternoon
Glochester Catholic Church
Dublin Ireland
C + M

12. Ben and Pilar

We're getting married!
Ben & Pilar
Please join us
10.11.2014
at 5:30 p.m.
Panorama Hills

13. Kristin and Wyatt

White invitation suite with gold calligraphy flat lay with bridal jewelry

Photo by Shannon Skloss Photography

Together with their families
Kristin
Michelle Sills
and
Wyatt
Alexander Littles
Request the pleasure of your company at their wedding celebration
Friday, the fifth of November
Two thousand twenty one
at four o'clock in the evening
The Olana
1851 Turbeville Road / Hickory Creek, Texas
Adult reception to follow
Black tie

14. Marielle and Ryan

Red and pink colorful invitation suite flat lay with fresh blooms

Photo by Jana Williams Photography

Mr. and Mrs. Steven Eisner
Request the pleasure of your company at the marriage of their daughter
Marielle Scott
to
Ryan Bergara
son of Dr. and Mrs. Steven Bergara
Saturday, 30th of July, 2022
Four thirty in the afternoon
The Ritz-Carlton Bacara Hotel
Santa Barbara, California
Reception to follow

Cocktail attire

15. Felicia and Kellis

Please join
Felicia Beth Yoder and
Kellis Curry Cunningham
as they tie the knot
October 4th 2014
four o'clock in the afternoon
Gulf Beach Resort Motel
Sarasota, FL

16. Chloe and James

Invitation suite flat lay with watercolor illustrations

Photo by Shane Macomber Weddings

Paul and Fran Lewis
Request the pleasure of your company
at the wedding of their daughter
Chloe Lewis
to
James Rosen
on
07.10.21
at four in the afternoon
Skier Bridge | The Ritz Carlton | Bachelor Gulch
Beaver Creek, Colorado
Merriment and festivities to follow
black tie

17. Kendra and Diallobe

Green and earth tone wedding invitation suite styled with dried flowers and linen

Photo by Matoli Keely Photography

Kendra
Evelyn Ellis
&
Diallobe
Cazembe Johnson
Request the honor of your presence
on their wedding day
Saturday, the fifteenth of January
Two thousand twenty two
Ceremony will begin at five pm in the afternoon
Kempa Villa
71555 Jaguar Way Palm Desert, CA 92260
In loving memory of Benjamin Ellis and Herbert Johnson
Reception to follow

18. Gina and Steven

Minimalist white and gray colorblocked invitation suite flat lay

Photo by Kyle John Photography

You are invited to
the wedding of
Gina & Steven
On Saturday
The tenth day of July
Two thousand twenty-one
Five thirty in the evening
Cranbrook House and Gardens
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan

Reception immediately to follow

19. Grace and Travis

Elopement celebration invitation suite in acrylic cases

Photo by Clary Pfeiffer Photography

The wedding celebration of
Grace Hannah Kim
&
Travis James Junge
Saturday, May 1, 2021
at St. Louis Missouri
The Ritz Carlton

20. Ali and Rafique

Elegant invitation suite with gold calligraphy and citrus print

Photo by Jessica Mangia

Mr. and Mrs.
Thomas & Elizabeth Glanville
Request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of
Ali Greenfield
to
Rafique Jivani
Thursday the twenty second day of July
Two thousand and twenty-one
at five o'clock in the evening
Mandarin Oriental
Lake Como, Italy
Reception to follow

21. Stephanie and Jason

Flat lay of pastel wedding invitation suite with watercolor illustration and fresh flowers

Photo by KT Merry

Together with their families
Stephanie Marie Nucci
and
Jason David Brooks
request the pleasure of your company
The first day of September
Two thousand twenty one
at half past five in the afternoon
Chateau de la Gaude
Aix-en-Provence, France

Reception to follow

FAQ
  • How far in advance should I send out my wedding invitations?

    Typically, most couples send out wedding invitations six to eight weeks prior to their wedding date. While save the date cards are not required, those can be sent out as early as a year before the wedding.

  • Where should I purchase my wedding invitations?

    Using a website to design your wedding invitations is currently one of the most popular methods for buying wedding invitations. Etsy, Minted, Zola, and Papersource are all great places to start your wedding invitation search.

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The Ultimate Guide to Wedding Invitations

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