Writing a wedding invitation can seem like a daunting task. The good news is that the etiquette and rules for writing wedding invitations are not that complicated. Things are a lot more straightforward than you might think.
The first thing you will need is personalized stationery sets. Once you have your stationery, you want to focus on the wedding invitation wording. You have to decide if you’re going to use traditional classic language or if you’re going to get creative and whimsical. Regardless of the direction you choose, there are some essential elements that should be included.
First, you want to be true to yourself. You want beautiful wedding invitations that represent who you and your future spouse are. Make a checklist to ensure that all of the pertinent information is included in the invitation. This includes:
- A request to come to the wedding
- The name of the host
- The date and time
- The location
- The dress code
- Reception information
- Separate RSVP card
What to Say about the Host
In a traditional setting, the bride’s parents host the wedding. Their names appear on the top of the invitation. However, some opt to include the names of both parents, regardless of who is paying for the wedding. In more modern weddings, it is the couple who is footing the bill for the wedding.
If a parent is deceased, the terminology can be arranged slightly to include the deceased parent. Straightforward wording such as, “Along with their parents, Steve and Michelle request the pleasure of your company.” Or you may say, “Michelle, the daughter of the late Sarah Johnson…” This adds dignity to the affair and includes the deceased parent without giving the impression that the deceased parent is hosting the wedding.
Request to Attend
There are several ways to request that your guests attend. For example, you may say that you request the pleasure of their company, you may say that you would love to have them join you, or you may say the honor of your presence. As a side note, the British spelling of “honour” often indicates that the ceremony is held in a church or a place of worship.
The Names of the Couple
If the couple is not designated as the host, their names should be a few lines down. Traditionally, the bride’s name precedes the groom’s name. If the invitation is formal and is being issued by the bride’s parents, the bride should be referred to by her first and middle name. The groom should be referred to by his full name and whatever title he may hold.
Date and Time
If the invitation is formal, everything is written out. This means that instead of saying “5 PM,” you would say “five o’clock.” If the wedding invitation is casual, then using numbers is fine. On most invitations, the year is optional. In most cases, the wedding is being held in the same year the invitation is extended.
The address of the venue is usually not needed unless the guests would be confused by the location. However, the city and state of the event should be written out in full. An additional insert may be included with directions on how to arrive at the event.
Information about the Reception
If the invitation is highly formal, then reception information would appear on a separate card. Otherwise, the couple can have it printed out on the invitation itself if there is space. If both the wedding and the reception are held in the same location, you may print, “Reception immediately following.”
The wedding invitation will dictate the dress code. This should be laid out in the lower right-hand corner of the invitation. If the invitation is fancy, guests should expect a formal black-tie wedding. If the invitation is simple, guests should expect a more casual dress code.
Invitations That Reflect Who You Are
Your invitations should reflect who you are. Include a separate RSVP card. Ask your guests to visit your wedding website. The more organized your invitation is, the more information your guest has and the less stress you will have on your big day.