You’ve set the date, congratulations! The next step on your wedding timeline will be to order your invitations. One of the questions we receive the most from brides-to-be is about how to word their invitations, which is probably #1 in the category of things you don’t know and have to ask your mom about (right after how do I defrost a turkey, we bet). We’re here to help you out with this topic, and also share a few suggestions about your invitations!
A quick programming note: You’ll hear us say ‘traditional’ in here A LOT! Weddings have been around since the beginning of time, and some folks have long-standing ideas of what they should look like, especially when it comes to invitations. If you, your parents, your great grandma Edna, etc subscribe to those convictions, go the more formal route of our suggestions. If you’re planning the affair yourself and would rather get married on the beach with the In-N-Out Burger truck nearby, feel free to loosen the formality and let your personality shine! Both ways are perfect.
In order to tackle this topic, we implore you to think about your invitation in three parts. A greeting from the host, the request of attendance and the details. Your goal is to answer those ‘5 W’s’ we all learned about in elementary school: Who, What, Where, When, Why.
The Host Greeting (Who)
Chances are, you know that traditionally the family of the bride is cashing out for the wedding. While this is still the case in some families, it’s important to note that for many couples, you might be fronting some or all of the wedding budget on your own. If you’re lucky enough to have some money for your wedding coming from family members, including them as the ‘host’ of the wedding is a sign of respect and appreciation for their monetary contribution. Put their names front and center on your invitation in a style like this:
-Mr. and Mrs. Johnson
-Together with their families, Catherine Marie & Maxwell Scott (include your first and middle names too, if you have one)
Pro tip: If you have a blended family of any sort (divorced, step-parents, etc.) this part can be extra tricky and frankly, a little delicate. The traditional way of listing two divorced parents’ names is “Mr. Mark Johnson and Mrs. Jane Thomas”. If either parent is remarried, list their new partners as well, “Mr. & Mrs. Mark Johnson and Mrs. Jane Thomas”. This is also a place where you can acknowledge a deceased parent, by saying “Mrs. Jane Thomas and the late Mr. Mark Johnson”.
You can by all means still include your family member’s names even if they aren’t contributing financially to the wedding, but if you are going for a more informal style you can also simply list you and your fiance’s names.
The Request of Attendance (What & Why)
This section of the invitation can really vary in formality depending on the wedding you have planned. If you are planning a more elegant or religious affair, err on the more professional side with the opposite being true as well. If your wedding allows it, use this opportunity to express the personality of you and your partner! Here are some ideas of how you could address this section, ranging from very formal to more casual.
-Request the honor of your presence at the marriage of their children
-Cordially request your presence at their celebration of love
-Request the pleasure of your company at the wedding of their daughter, Catherine
-Kindly request your attendance at their union
-Invite you to celebrate their love at their wedding
-As we begin our lives together
-Ask that you join them as they tie the knot!
-Because we’re getting hitched!
If you are listing your names here (instead of in the ‘host’ section), ladies first! Put the bride’s name, followed by the groom.
The Details (Where & When)
This part of your invitation will likely be the biggest, and to be honest, it’s logistically the most important! Again, the formality can vary greatly but you want to answer the where & when at a minimum.
-Date and time of your ceremony written out (don’t forget to give the time for the reception if it isn’t immediately following)
-The name & address of your ceremony and reception venues (if your wedding is more formal, the address might go on a separate information card instead)
-What will be happening (Cocktails, dinner, dancing, etc.)
The Details – Bonus Content!
Not every wedding will fit into this outline, so here are some additional pieces that you might want to include if they pertain to your event:
Personalization: This is your wedding! Feel like putting the lyrics to “your” song at the bottom? Go for it! Include a timeline of your love story on the reverse side, make it “Mad Libs” style with fill-in the blanks, the options are endless and unique, just like your personal love story.
Link to your wedding website: We won’t even say ‘traditionally’ this time, because almost all couples have a wedding website these days. They are great for many reasons, but a key one is that you can list your registry (and links!) on there, without taking up valuable invitation space. Speaking of which…
Registry details: Etiquette-focused folks will tell you that the #1 wedding faux pas is including any information about gifting/registries on your invitation, or even in the invitation envelope for that matter. Some will even recommend that you only inform close friends of your registry, and implore them to pass that information along to family and friends. We don’t know about you, but that is a tad archaic for our taste. We suggest setting up a wedding website, and including all the details you have on your physical invitation, along with registry information and anything else you’d like your guests to know about your big day.
Attire: To provide some information to your guests about the recommended attire, you can make a small note on the bottom corner of your invitation that dictates the dress code. This could also go on a separate information card if you’re including one.
That’s all she (me) wrote! What can seem like a baffling task of wording your wedding invitation can be made simple by answering the ‘5 W’s’ and remembering that keeping it on par with your wedding overall is the key.