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wedding home > unique wedding ideas > traditional wedding invitation wording

Traditional Wedding Invitation Wording

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General Do's and Don'ts

  • No punctuation is used except after courtesy titles such as Mr. and Dr.
  • Capital letters are treated as the beginning of sentences as you would read them and not to be used at the beginning of every line
  • Proper names and courtesy titles are also capitalized
  • Numbers in the date are spelled out and follow the day of the week (ex: Saturday, the second of July)
  • Years can be used but are not necessary. If you wish to include the year, be sure to spell it out (ex: Two thousand and five)
  • The time is spelled out and written to describe the placement of hands on a clock. Examples:
    • Half after two or half past two (not 2:30 p.m.)
    • Three o'clock in the afternoon (not 3:00 p.m.)
    • Seven o'clock in the evening
  • Formal invitations are usually written in third-person. For example, "Mr. and Mrs. Craig Chastain" instead of "We."
  • In general, avoid using abbreviations. Always spell out commonly abbreviated words such as street, months, days of the week, etc.
  • Be sure to spell out contractions (ex: "do not" instead of "don't"). You do not want your recipients to think you were in a rush when writing your wedding invitations!

Who Hosts?

The first line is often the most difficult to iron out as it's often seen as a way to not only convey who is hosting the wedding but who the couple would like to recognize. Before blended families and when women were brides at young ages, it was almost always the bride's family who hosted (and thus paid for) the wedding. Now, a combination of people in a couple's life host weddings.

Extending the Invitation

The next line - how the hosts extend the invitation - varies depending on the venue and also on personal preference.

The phrase "the honour (or honor) of your presence" is traditionally reserved for worship services or a wedding that takes place in a church or synagogue.

The "pleasure of your company" or "honour of your company" usually indicates that the service will not be a worship service.

Etiquette outlines only what is traditional not what you should and should not do. Other wording for this line includes:

  • ...would like you to help celebrate the marriage of
  • ...invite you to celebrate with them at the marriage of
  • ...would consider it a blessing if you could be present at the marriage of
  • ...request the pleasure of your company
  • ...request the pleasure of your presence

Whose address should be the return address?

The return address printed on the envelope flap should be the address of those hosting the event, not necessary the bride and groom. Names are not commonly used with a formal return address. Guests who are unable to attend but wish to send a gift will use this address.

Whose address should be on the response envelope?

Having your name and address pre-printed on the front of the Response Card envelope is a good way to encourage your guests to respond promptly. Traditionally the hosts' name and address should appear on the response envelope. However you may use the address that is most convenient.

"No Children" - How to Address this Situation

There really is no easy way to tell your guests that their beloved children are not invited. The most subtle approach is to spread the "no children" restriction by word of mouth or on your wedding website. If you are looking for a more "formal" statement, here are two ways to avoid putting the bad news directly on the invitation:

  • Note "Adult Reception" on the reception card
  • On the response card:
  • Please respond on or before (Date)
    M_________________
    Number of Adults____

Examples of Invitation Wording Depending on Who Hosts
courtesy of MyGatsby Wedding Invitations

Bride's parents:

Mr. and Mrs. Charles Smith
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Isabella Marie
to
Edward Jonathan Callahan
on Saturday, November 27
at half past eight o'clock in the evening
153 North Rosewood Street
Wisteria, California

Bride's parents, divorced:

Mr. Charles Smith
Mr. and Mrs. Phillip Dwyer
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Isabella Marie
to
Edward Jonathan Callahan

Bride and groom's parents:

Mr. and Mrs. Charles Smith
and
Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Callahan
invite you to share in the ceremony
uniting their children
Isabella Marie
to
Edward Jonathan Callahan
on Saturday, November 27, 2004
at half past eight o'clock in the evening
One Nob Hill
San Francisco, California

Bride and groom's parents, divorced (example 1):

Mr. Charles Smith
Mr. and Mrs. Phillip Dwyer
together with
Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Callahan
invite you to share in the ceremony
uniting their children
Isabella Marie
to
Edward Jonathan Callahan

Bride and groom's parents, divorced (example 2):

Mr. Charles Smith
Mr. and Mrs. Phillip Dwyer
request the honor of your company
at the marriage of their daughter
Isabella Marie
to
Edward Jonathan Callahan
son of
Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Callahan
Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan Mason

Bride and groom's parents, divorced (example 3):

Please join our families
on this special occasion
when our children
Isabella Marie
and
Edward Jonathan Callahan
will be married

Bride, groom, and parents hosting (example 1):

Together with their parents
Isabella Marie Smith
and
Edward Jonathan Callahan
request the honor of your presence
at their marriage

Bride, groom, and parents hosting (example 2):
Isabella Marie
and
Edward Jonathan
together with their parents
Mr. and Mrs. Charles Smith
and
Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Callahan
invite you to share in the joy
when they exchange marriage vows
and begin their new life together

Bride and groom hosting:

Miss Isabella Marie
and
Mr. Edward Jonathan Callahan
request the honor of your presence
at their marriage

Bride, groom, and children hosting (example 1):

Miss Isabella Marie Smith
and
Mr. Edward Jonathan Callahan
along with their children
Anne and Peter
invite you to join in the blending
of their families through marriage

Bride, groom, and children hosting (example 2):

Anne and Peter
invite you to the ceremony
that will make them brother and sister
and that will make their parents
Isabella Marie Smith
and
Edward Jonathan Callahan
husband and wife

ID: 1609
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