We asked Loren of Four Things Paper (we have a vendor crush) just how to word your wedding invitations. She generously accepted and here we are! Read on for everything you've ever wanted to know about wedding invitation wording.
The first thing you'll need to do need to do is to secure your venue and date. This will help give you an accurate timeline of the invitation process and help you decide if you need Save the Dates or not.
Do I need to send Save the Dates?
YES if your wedding is on a usually busy holiday, in a faraway destination or if the majority of your guests are from out of town.
NO if your wedding is on a random weekend, if you plan to send invites out no later than two months out or if most of your guests are local. *Save the dates should be sent out 8-12 months in advance. 5 Tips On Getting Your Save The Dates Right The First Time
Who is hosting/paying for my wedding?
The first line of the invitation should note who is throwing the party. In other words, who's paying for it. Is it one set of parents, both or are you paying for it yourself? If it's both families, you could say "Together with our families..." If just the bride's parents "Mr. and Mrs. Bride's Parents invite you..." If the bride and groom are the ones hosting you may say "Jane and John invite you..."
How should we write our names?
The way your names are written is half dictated by the formality of your event and half your preference. If your wedding is more formal, full names of both bride and groom is traditionally used. You may leave off last names of the bride and/or the groom if you like. Using just first names is typically for more casual weddings, but either is acceptable. The bride and grooms names should always be on their own lines and separate from the rest of the wording.
What should the next line say?
There are a few factors that can dictate how your request line is phrased. If your wedding is taking place in a church or place or worship, "request the honor of your presence" is traditional. "The pleasure of your company" is traditional for anywhere that isn't a place of worship. Alternatively, you may want to use "invite you to celebrate our wedding" or "invite you to witness as they become husband and wife." There really is no wrong way to phrase unless you are inviting certain guests to only one part of the wedding, like just the ceremony or just the reception. In that case, make sure you are clearly stating to what they are invited.
How do we state the date and time?
The time of the wedding is typically stated before the date. It is more formal to spell out the numbers or the time and date, however, using numerals is acceptable for either formal or informal. "O'clock" is to be used if the wedding should begin on the hour. "Half past" should be used for 30 min past the hour. Stating "In the afternoon/morning/evening" is not necessary unless the wedding is starting at 8, 9 or 10. However, most couples include this phrase regardless of whether it is needed. Always include the day of the week especially if the event is not on a Saturday.
How do we state the location of the wedding?
For the wedding, it is not necessary to put the full address of the venue on the main invite card. You simply need to state the full name of the venue and the city and state. The state should always be spelled out. If the address is needed, it should be stated fully on a separate information card with or without a map. If you choose not to have a separate info card the address should not include the venue zip code.
What do I say about the reception?
You may simply state "reception to follow" but it is a little more unique to say "dinner, drinks and dancing to follow". If you are not serving a full meal, it is courteous to inform the guests. IE, "Join us for cocktails and light bites immediately following"
What if my reception is in a different location than the ceremony?
If the reception is in a different location it can look quite messy to include the location on the main invitation. It's best to include this info on a separate card.
What goes on the RSVP card?
If you're wondering what RSVP means, it's an acronym standing for "Répondez s'il vous plaît" which means "Reply if you please." Alternately, you may spell out the words in french or change it to say "Please respond" Most traditional RSVP cards are intended to be sent back to the bride and groom, so you shouldn't put any information on there that the guest will need to remember IE, the wedding website, attire details etc...
How do I choose the RSVP date?
You should talk to your caterer or coordinator to find out the date by which you'll need guests responses. Typically it's about a month before the wedding.
What does the "M" stand for?
Traditionally on rsvp cards, there is a capital "M" before the line where guests should write their names. The "M" is traditionally for the beginning of "Mr" or "Mrs." It is not required, but it makes the empty line look not so empty. ;)
What else goes on the rsvp card?
Any info that your guests need to let you know, IE, meal selection or events they will attend.
How do I make sure guests don't bring more guests than they're supposed to?
On the RSVP card, you may state "We have reserved ____ seats for you." You or your stationer will need to fill in this blank space by hand most likely for each household that you are mailing to. This lets your guests know how many people are invited to attend with them. You may also list the names on the main envelope too.
- Go ahead bring a plus one.
Miss Sophia Fox & Guest
- If you are not allowing your single friends to bring a guest.
Miss Sophia Fox
- Only adults are invited. Please leave the kids at home.
Mr. & Mrs. Alex Johnson
- Bring the entire family, kids and all!
The Johnson Family
How do I tell my guests the attire?
This information is best on a separate information card. Examples: casual, beach formal, cocktail attire, black tie etc... This is very useful information for your guests, especially if they cannot guess the formality by the venue.
We love kids but what if we would like no kids at the wedding?
Simply state "adults only ceremony/reception" on an information card.
Where do I put my registry info/wedding website?
Tradition says it is tacky to include registry info on the actual invite, so putting it on the wedding website and putting that on an info card is best.
How should I write the guests names on the envelopes?
"Mr and Mrs" is most formal. Traditionally, invitations were sent to every guest over the age of 18. I personally think that's ridiculous, so simply stating "and family" or with the children's names is fine. However, if there are two families within the same household they should each receive their own invitation.
Other things to note?
A comma should never be used at the end of a line. Always double and triple check spelling and grammar. Read it all out loud to hear mistakes. Ask a third party to look over the wording and to be honest. There are really no rules on how to word invitations, but keep in mind the guests you are inviting when wording your own. Most guests will appreciate specific information. This helps avoid any guests calling the day of the wedding asking for details, but make sure your invitations are a reflection of you and your fiancé and that you absolutely love them!
A huge thank you to Loren of Four Things Paper! Loren also has the best infographic explaining How To Word Your Wedding Invitations Like A Boss if you are more or a visual learner.