The Essentials of Polite Wedding Invitation Wording
A wedding invitation is often the first impression your guests will have of your big day. From the design to the wording, your invitation sets the tone and provides key details about your wedding. Following proper etiquette when crafting your wedding invitation wording is important to ensure your guests know what to expect. This allows them to dress appropriately, make travel plans, and get excited for the celebration.
While traditions exist, you can make your wedding invitation wording unique to showcase your personal style as a couple. The most important thing is that the wording provides useful information to your guests and follows etiquette guidelines. In this comprehensive article, we’ll explore various types of wedding invitations, proper etiquette for names and titles, example wording for formal and casual weddings, and additional tips to create wedding invitations your guests will cherish.
Types of Wedding Invitations
The style and formality of your wedding will inform the wording and etiquette of your invitations. Depending on whether you’re hosting a formal black-tie affair or casual beach wedding, invitation wording can vary significantly. Here are some of the most common types of wedding invitations:
Formal/Black-Tie Wedding Invitations
Formal or black-tie weddings call for traditional, elegant invitations. These weddings are traditionally held in the evening, and guests are expected to wear formal attire like gowns, suits, and tuxedos. Invitation suites typically include outer envelopes, inner envelopes, intricate invitation designs, and response cards. Cursive fonts and black or gold ink help create a refined aesthetic. These invitations use formal language like “request the honor of your presence.” Details like black-tie attire, valet parking, formal receptions, and orchestra performances set the tone for a sophisticated, upscale celebration.
Semi-Formal Wedding Invitations
Semi-formal weddings allow for a bit more flexibility and creativity with invitations. These events tend to be held mid-day or early evening. While gentlemen are still expected to wear suits and dresses are appropriate for women, the dress code is less strict than black-tie. Invitation suites can include outer envelopes and response cards, but inner envelopes are optional. Invitation designs might incorporate patterns, textures, or creative fonts. Wording is still formal, but “request the honor of your presence” can be replaced with “request the pleasure of your company.” Cocktail attire is often requested on semi-formal invitations rather than black-tie.
Casual Wedding Invitations
For casual weddings, invitation etiquette allows for much more creative freedom. These events can take place any time of day, with guests wearing business casual, garden party attire, or beachy looks. Invitation suites are often simplified without inner envelopes, and printed on lighter weight paper. Imagery, patterns, and bold colors help set the casual vibe. Wording is much more relaxed with phrases like “come celebrate with us!” replacing formal language. Details about attire like beach casual or barbecue reception dress give guests useful guidance. Location details also help convey the style, mentioning things like backyard ceremonies or winery receptions.
Etiquette for Names on Invitations
Once you’ve selected the style for your wedding invitations, thoughtful consideration should go into how names are presented. Here are some tips on proper etiquette for names:
- Traditionally, the bride’s name is listed first, followed by the groom’s name. This honors the tradition of a wedding being hosted by the bride’s family. That said, some modern couples choose to list names alphabetically or in other creative ways if they prefer.
- You have the option to use first names only, full names, or title and last name. Formal invitations lean towards full names or titles and last names, while casual invitees often use first names. Ultimately, choose the variation that suits your style and guest list.
- If you or your parents hold titles like Dr., Mr., Mrs., Ms. it is appropriate to include these. However, etiquette experts advise only including titles if you plan to include them for both sets of parents.
- If one or both sets of parents are divorced, traditionally you would only list the parent’s full name without reference to divorce or remarriage. If your remarried mother’s name is Elizabeth Smith-Jones, listing her as Elizabeth Jones omits reference to the divorced surname.
- For divorced parents who are remarried, you can include step-parents’ names in invitation wording as “Mr. David Smith and Mrs. Margaret Smith.” However, etiquette does not require acknowledging step-parents.
Wording for Formal Wedding Invitations
Crafting the perfect wording for a formal wedding invitation requires following etiquette traditions while infusing your own personality. Here are some examples of properly worded formal wedding invitations:
Formal Invitation Wording Example:
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Edwards request the honor of your presence at the marriage of their daughter Jennifer Louise to Mr. Brandon Alexander Reed Saturday, the twenty-third of April Two thousand twenty-three at half past five o’clock Saint Mary’s Church New York, New York
This example includes the traditional request for the “honor of your presence” at the wedding ceremony. It follows formal etiquette by including the parents’ names, bride’s full name, groom’s full name, date, time, ceremony venue, and location. Times are written out, as are the date. This level of formality sets the tone for an elegant wedding.
Examples With No Gift Requests:
To maintain etiquette, formal wedding invitations do not include gift registry information or phrases like “no gifts requested.” Registries can be shared on wedding websites, through word of mouth, or via other methods.
Examples Noting Black Tie Attire:
If black tie attire is required for a formal wedding, this can be noted on the invitation:
Black tie optional Black tie requested
Semi-Formal Wedding Invitation Wording
Semi-formal wedding invitation wording allows for more flexibility while maintaining etiquette. Here are examples of properly worded semi-formal wedding invitations:
Semi-Formal Invitation Wording Example:
Together with their families Danielle Marie Howard and Mark Stephen Richardson joyfully request the pleasure of your company at their marriage celebration Saturday, April 18, 2023 at half past four o’clock in the evening Windsor Castle Golf Club Cocktail attire requested
For a semi-formal invitation, the request of “pleasure of your company” replaces the formal “honor of your presence.” First names are used rather than full names. The venue indicates a semi-formal golf club reception will take place. Details like cocktail attire provide guidance to guests.
Other Semi-Formal Examples:
Kerry Jacobs and Brad Neilson invite you to join them for their wedding celebration on Friday, May 15 at Sunset Banquet Hall
Cocktail reception to follow
Martha Styles and Reginald Phillips request the pleasure of your company at the celebration of their marriage on Saturday, the nineteenth of June Two thousand twenty three at half past six o’clock in the evening Emerald Lake Country Club
Black tie optional
These examples demonstrate how semi-formal wedding invitation wording sets the tone through aspects like first names only, named attire, and reception venues while following etiquette.
Casual Wedding Invitation Wording
For casual weddings, invitation wording often foregoes formality almost entirely. While etiquette still requires including key details, casual language, creative designs, and wording help create a lighthearted, fun vibe. Here are some examples of properly worded casual wedding invitations:
Casual Invitation Wording Example:
Shelly Wilson & Jacob Martin Can’t wait to marry! Let’s celebrate at Half Moon Bay Beach Saturday, September 9, 2023 at sunset BBQ dinner & bonfire to follow Beach casual dress RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
This sample uses informal language like “Can’t wait to marry!” Shortened names give a casual impression. Location, date, time, attire details, and RSVP information provide important guidance while matching the relaxed vibe.
Additional Casual Examples:
You’re invited to pop the bubbly! Join us as we tie the knot. When: Sunday, May 28th at 11 AM Where: Bridal Falls Winery What: Wine and dine amongst the vines
Please come dressed cool and casual RSVP to JohnandMeghan2023@gmail.com
Liz and Richard are gettin’ hitched! Let’s hoe down at Willow Creek Ranch Saturday, June 10 at 2:00 pm Barbecue, brews & boots to follow
These casual invitation wording examples use relaxed language, textures or imagery, creative designs, and wedding details to set expectations for guests. While etiquette standards are relaxed, key information is still included.
Additional Etiquette Tips for Wording
Beyond the formalness of the invitation wording itself, additional elements of wedding invitation etiquette exist. Here are some additional pointers for crafting your wedding invitations:
- Spell out dates and times rather than using numerals. For example, “Two thousand twenty-three” rather than 2023. This adds formality.
- Be consistent with capitalization. Don’t mix lower and upper case. EXCEPTIONS can be made for creative artistic effect.
- Include your wedding website URL if you want guests to access additional information there. This avoids cramming too many details onto the invitation itself.
- Use inner and outer envelopes properly. The inner envelope holds the invitation suite and the outer envelope is addressed to the guest(s).
- If deceased parents of the couple are mentioned per etiquette standards, say “the late Mr. David Jones” or “the late Mrs. Abigail Matthews.”
- Address married couples appropriately on envelopes and invitations. Mr. and Mrs. Michael Stevens or Mr. Michael Stevens and Mrs. Amanda Stevens are options.
While traditions exist for wedding invitation wording, the most important thing is conveying the key details to your guests so they know what to expect. First and foremost, your invitations should set the right tone and excite guests about celebrating with you!
Summing Up Etiquette Of Wording Your Wedding Invitations
Your wedding invitations offer the first glimpse into your special day. Following proper etiquette for formal and casual wedding invitation wording ensures guests receive useful information on attire, events, location, and more. While tradition exists, modern couples can absolutely infuse invitations with their unique personalities. By selecting stationery, wording, and designs that represent your style as a couple, you’re sure to send memorable invitations guests will be thrilled to receive. As you prepare invitations, remember that conveying details is the top priority. Take the assistance from Duallush Designs, as we provide wedding invitation to set the right tone while alleviating any confusion. Most importantly, create invitations you love as a reflection of your wedding day to come!