May 22, 2018

Wedding Invitation Wording – Etiquette and Advice

One of the biggest questions we get asked as wedding planners is about invitation wording.  What is the etiquette?  Whose name goes first?  Both of our parents are hosting the wedding, how do we word it? What information should be added into the invitation?  What information should we omit?  How do we handle inviting only certain people to a Welcome Reception?  And the list goes on…  We have written this blog post to help answer some of those questions.

Below we have written out some examples for each type of scenario for who is “hosting” the wedding.  When we say hosting, we are meaning who is paying for the wedding.  In the “old” days of planning a wedding, the bride’s family was mostly responsible to pay for the entire wedding.  The groom’s family would often host the rehearsal dinner.  These days, we often find the wedding being split by both families.  Often a 50/50 split, or maybe a 60/40 split between families.  Or even the couple is paying for their own wedding.  But whoever is paying for your wedding, it is always important to know proper etiquette for your wedding invitations.

Photo by Corinne Alexandra

First things first, whose name goes first:

Traditionally, the bride always precedes the groom. For a formal invite, we would always suggest the bride to be referred to by her first and middle names.  The groom is referred by his full name and title (optional).

Next, what is written on the invite?

  1. The host (who is hosting)
  2. The invite (request your presence, invite you to share, …)
  3. Wedding date and time
  4. Venue(s) and address(es)
  5. Reception following (or if there is a gap, say “Reception to begin at ___ time”)
  6. Optional: dress code

That’s it.

Do not put your RSVP information on the invite.  Do not add your registry on the invite.  Make separate insert cards for these.  We will discuss these below.

What’s the best way to write out the time:

  1. Time should always be spelled out.
  2. The time should never be capitalized.
  3. If the time is on the hour, it should be followed by “o’clock”
  4. Do not use “o’clock” if the time is not on the hour. (e.g. six-thirty in the evening)
  5. Time, not on the hour, should be hyphenated (see above)
  6. Time should always be followed by “in the morning”, “noon”, “in the afternoon”, “in the evening”, or “midnight”

 

Now, most importantly, here are some general examples for (most) case scenarios:

Both parents hosting wedding (two examples):

Mr. and Mrs. John and Nancy Smith
&
Mr. and Mrs. Alex and Emma Pierson
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of their children
Samantha Rose
and
Alexander Daniel
Sunday, the 9th of September
two thousand eighteen
at four o’clock in the afternoon
Rancho Bernardo Inn
17550 Bernardo Oaks Dr

San Diego, CA 92128

Reception to immediately follow
OR
Mr. and Mrs. John and Nancy Smith
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Samantha Rose
to
Alexander Daniel
Son of Mr. and Mrs. Alex and Emma Pierson
Sunday, September 9th, 2018
six o’clock in the evening
Rancho Bernardo Inn
17550 Bernardo Oaks Dr
San Diego, CA 92128
Dinner and reception to follow
Suggested attire: Formal

Bride OR Groom’s parent’s hosting wedding:

Mr. and Mrs. John Smith
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter (son)
Samantha Rose (switch order if groom’s parents host)
to
Mr. Alexander Daniel Pierson
Saturday, September 9th
Two thousand and eighteen
at six-thirty in the evening
Rancho Bernardo Inn
17550 Bernardo Oaks Dr
San Diego, CA 92128
Reception to immediately follow

Divorced parent’s hosting (any situation):

Together with their parents
Samantha Rose Smith
And
Mr. Alexander Daniel Pierson
 request the honour of your presence
at their marriage
Sunday, September 9th
Two thousand and eighteen
at six o’clock in the evening
Rancho Bernardo Inn
17550 Bernardo Oaks Dr
San Diego, CA 92128
Reception to immediately follow

Divorced Parent’s hosting (parent’s remarried):

Mr. and Mrs. Nancy Johnson
and
Mr. and Mrs. John Smith
request the pleasure of your company
at the marriage of their daughter
Samantha Rose Smith
to
Mr. Alexander Daniel Pierson
son of Mr. and Mrs. Alex Pierson
Sunday, September 9th
Two thousand and eighteen
at six o’clock in the evening
Rancho Bernardo Inn
17550 Bernardo Oaks Dr
San Diego, CA 92128
Reception to immediately follow

Divorced Parent’s Hosting (neither parent remarried):

Nancy Johnson
John Smith
request the pleasure of your company
at the marriage of their daughter
Samantha Rose
to
Alexander Daniel Pierson
son of
Mr. and Mrs. Alex Pierson

Bride and Groom hosting (traditional):

The honour of your presence
is requested at the marriage of
Miss Samantha Rose
and
Mr. Alex Daniel Pierson
on Saturday, the eighth of September, 2018
at six o’clock

Bride and Groom hosting (contemporary):

Together with their families
Samantha Rose Smith
and
Alex Daniel Pierson
invite you to share in the joy
and celebration of their marriage
on Saturday, the eighth of September, 2018
at six o’clock in the evening

Next, your insert cards:

 First insert card, your RSVP! (which stands for “repondez si vous plait” in French or “respond if you please”).
PLEASE make sure to include the postage for your RSVP card!!!!  If you don’t, I promise you won’t get many of these returned.

Your RSVP or “Response Card” should read:

 
The favor of reply is requested by
July 20th, 2018 (remember 6 weeks prior to your wedding is ideal, but 4-8 is common)
Name(s)_________________
___ Yes, Can’t Wait  ___ Declines with Regret
Please initial next to your meal choice
__chicken   __fish   __vegetarian
There are many other ways to write it, but we find this the easiest and most straight forward example.
Remember, if you are doing a buffet or stations, then you don’t need to add the meal choices.
Please note:  Even if you are doing online RSVPs, still make sure to include a separate RSVP card with the website for your guests to respond.  However, if you are on an extremely tight budget, then you can add the online RSVP info to your actual invitation, as well as your wedding website (registry) on your RSVP card, if absolute necessary.

Other Inserts:

 If you are doing a Welcome Reception, Rehearsal Dinner, or Day After Brunch and only want to invite certain guests, we suggest adding another insert card for only those selected guests.  Here is how that should read:
You are cordially invited to our
Welcome Reception
Saturday, September 8th, 2018
Six O’Clock in the evening
Buca di Beppo
17550 Bernardo Oaks Dr
San Diego, CA 92128
Please RSVP by _________
(optional) Attire: Cali Casual
You can also add insert cards for accommodations, maps (if your venue is hard to find), registry information, and/or wedding website information.
We hope this information has been helpful while working on your wedding invitations!  Please read our other blog about 10 tips for Wedding Invitations – https://sweetblossomweddings.com/2017/04/28/10tipsforweddinginvitations/.  
Oh, and don’t forget to bring your full invitation suite on your wedding day so your photographer can capture some amazing photos…see below.  🙂
Happy Planning!
XOXO,
Sweet Blossom Weddings
Photo by Chard Photo

 

Photo by Katie Bevereley

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