wedding copy collageLet's face it, brides-to-be, there aren't very many rules any more when it comes to getting married, and invitations are no exception. These days, your invitation can pretty much say whatever you want, as long as it gets people to the venue on time. All that possibility, however, can make it more difficult than ever to word your request. Luckily for all you invitation-writing newbies, we live in the age of Internet advice. Here's our master list of 7 things to consider when writing your invitations, based on the traditional formula.

1.The Tone

Figure out your tone depending on what kind of wedding you’re having. A backyard ceremony with a few dozen guests doesn’t necessarily warrant a formal invitation while a huge wedding in a church might. The invitation is the first thing people associate with your wedding so make sure it truly represents the event (and you and your fiance). Keep in mind that invitations are traditionally written in the third person.

2. The Host(s) and the Request
The first part of the invitation usually lets people know who's hosting (aka paying for) the event.  This could be the bride's parents, both sets of parents or you and your fiance. Typically this part involves listing the hosts' names followed by something like “request the honor of your presence”.

Examples would include:

“Mr. and Mrs. Michael Smith request the honor of your presence…”
“The Smith and Johnson families request….”
“Michael and Nancy Smith and Joe and Susan Johnson request…”
“Tina Smith and Tony Johnson together with their families request…”

There's many ways this part could be worded obviously, but, if you are setting up an invitation like this, make sure you include every one that needs to be.

However, you may not want or need to list hosts.  If this is the case, you can write the invitation as if you and you fiance were directly inviting the person. Examples would include:

“You are cordially invited to the wedding of…”
“Please join us in celebrating the marriage of…”

3. The Couple
Not that you were likely to forget, but the names of the couple getting married needs to be on the invitation somewhere.  On a traditional invitation, they would go after the parent's request; the brides first and middle name would be listed first, then the groom's title and full name.

An example would include:

“Tina Marie to Mr. Tony Robert Johnson.”

Less formal alternatives would include:

“Tiny and Tony”
“Tina Smith and Tony Johnson”

Again, there are some things to decide here. Whether or not you want to include middle names. If the phrasing should be “and” or “to”. It comes down to what you're comfortable with.

4. The Location and the Time

After you have all the details involving people worked out, you need to let guests know when and where the ceremony will take place. It's up to you which one gets listed first.

For location, list the name of the place and then its address. If it's well known location, like a museum or landmark, there is no need for an address.

On a traditional invitation, the entire date is spelled out and is followed by “in the morning”, “in the afternoon” or “in the evening”. An example would include:

“Saturday, the twenty-fifth of May, two thousand and fourteen at two o'clock in the afternoon”

A less formal example would include:

“Saturday, May 25, 2 pm”

5. The Reception

If the reception is at the same location directly following the ceremony, than a simple line such as  “Reception Immediately Following” will work.

If it's at a different location or at a later time, then this information needs to be included either on the invitation or on a separate reception card. This card should include the location and time of the reception, plus any other pertinent information, like whether there will be dinner and/or dancing  (a line such as “Dinner and Dancing” often takes care of this). Also, make sure sure to let guests know if there won't be dinner so they can eat ahead of time.

6. The RSVP

Like the reception information, RSVP details could be included either on the invitation or on a separate card.

A traditional response card reads like this:

“The favor of a reply is requested before the twenty-eighth of February.”

It includes a blank spot for the person's name and a line for them to check if they will attend or not.  A blank line for the number of people in the party could also be included. Essentially, RSVP details include how potential guests must reply and how long they have to do it.

A less formal example:

“Please let us know if you will attend through (method of contact) by February 28”

7. The extras

Make sure to include anything else that guests may need to know or may need to let you know:

-Hotel/Travel information for out of town guests or destination weddings

-Registry information

-Dinner options (meat, fish, vegetarian, etc).

-Dress code (potential dress code categories include black tie, white tie, formal, casual, cocktail).

-Whether children are allowed. If they aren't, include a line like “Adult Reception”.

-Anything guests may need to bring or do ahead of time

Example 1:

Mr. and Mrs. George Ray

request the honor of your presence

at the marriage of your daughter

Susannah Michelle


Christopher Scott

Sunday, the fifth of June

two thousand and eighteen

one o'clock in the afternoon

St. Matthew's Cathedral

5867 Elm Street

Danbury, Wisconsin

Informal Reception following the ceremony

Example 2:

We invite you to celebrate

the marriage uniting

Libby Jane Maberly


Dylan James McCarthy

Saturday, December thirty-first

two-thousand and eighteen

one-thirty in the afternoon

St. John's Chapel

Edmonds, Washington

Reception six o'clock in the evening

The Grainery on the Boulevard

5521 North 27th Street

Edmonds, Washington

Example 3:

The honor of your presence

is requested at the marriage of

Lily Sutton Ries


Justin James Sinclair

Saturday, August 27th, 2019

1:30 pm

Our Lady Catholic Church

Frankfort, Michigan

Cocktail hour 5:00 pm

Dinner 6:30 pm

Harrison House

425 South Main Street

Glen Cove, Michigan

Links to Creative Informal Wedding Copy:

Something Green

OffBeat Bride

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