Traditions: Wedding Invitation Wording

Wedding invitations can be one of the most difficult wedding details to plan. They are the first thing your guests will see (unless you send out save the date cards), and will set the tone of your wedding. They are traditionally very formal and few people choose to send out invitations that break out of that mold.

If you have grandparents or parents that are sticklers for tradition, you will want to make sure that you use the correct wording on your invitation. There are formal and informal ways to word your invitation and you are definitely allowed some creative license, but if you want to ‘do it right’, there are a few things that you should know.

There are hundreds of different ways to word an invitation and many of them follow correct wedding etiquette, you simply need to decide which way is right for you.

To get you started, a typical wedding invitation reads something like the following:

Mr. and Mrs. John L. Smith
along with
Mr. And Mrs. Mark Franklin Jacobson
request the honor of your presence at the marriage of their children
Samantha Lynn
to
David Adam

on Saturday, the twentieth of September, Two thousand and fourteen
At half past one in the afternoon

Central Park Conservatory Garden
New York, NY

Cocktails, Dinner, and Dancing
at the New York Marriot 85 West Street, New York, NY


Who’s footing the bill?

First off, the invitation has a lot to do with who is paying for the wedding. The traditional rule is that the invitation shall be from whom ever is funding the wedding because they are the hosts. (The Bride and Groom are the guests of honor.) If the Bride’s parents are paying then it would be considered inappropriate to send an invitation which indicates that the couple is doing the inviting.

In the above example:

Mr. and Mrs. John L. Smith
along with
Mr. And Mrs. Mark Franklin Jacobson
request the honor of your presence at the marriage of their children

Both sets of parents are doing the inviting.

However if it is the Bride’s parents inviting then the invitation would read:

“Mr. and Mrs. John L. Smith
request the honor of your presence at the marriage of their daughter”


What is the relationship status of the parents?

If the Bride and Groom have divorced parents or a step-parent that is helping to pay, then the wording would again be different.

For example, if it is just the Bride’s father inviting:

“Mr. John L. Smith
requests the honor of your presence at the marriage of his daughter”

If it is the Bride’s father inviting with a new spouse:

“Mr. and Mrs. John L. Smith
request the honor of your presence at the marriage of his daughter”


Formal or Casual?

If you want to word your invitation casually that doesn’t mean it has to go against the traditional rules. There are many ways to convey a formal or casual tone and still stay within the boundaries accepted by all.

Casual wedding invitation wording includes some of the following:

“invite you to share and celebrate”
“invite you to share in their joy”

While formal wording is:

“request the honor of your presence”
“request the pleasure of your company”

Another very important detail is that in a formal invitation, the date and time should always be written out.

“Saturday, the fourteenth of May
two thousand and eleven
at half past two in the afternoon”


If the Bride and Groom are Inviting

When the Bride and Groom fund their wedding themselves, it is perfectly natural for the invitations to indicate they are inviting the guests. There are many different ways to word such an invitation, however a few of the more common wording styles are:

“Miss Samantha Lynn Smith
and
Mr. David Adam Jacobson
request the honor of your presence
at their marriage”

“The honor of your presence
is requested at the marriage of
Miss
Samantha Lynn Smith
daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John L. Smith
and
Mr.
David Adam Jacobson
son of Mrs. Mark Franklin Jacobson”

These styles are formal but could very easily be written casually by using the examples above.

Other things you should know.

The phrase, “request the honor of your presence” is traditional reserved for weddings that are to be held in a place of worship.

It is very important that your invitation have correct grammar and spelling. Triple check any names and punctuation to ensure that it is accurate before your invitations are printed.

I hope that these tips will point you in the right direction as you are planning your wedding invitations. Take your time to decide on the wording and you will have nothing to worry about!

See you Wednesday!

3 thoughts on “Traditions: Wedding Invitation Wording

  1. Once you’ve got a rough guest list, date and a budget in mind, find your stationery. Your wedding invitations are your guests’ first glimpse into your wedding style — from the overall vibe and aesthetic to specific color combos and the level of formality.

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