Information

Invitation Wording

Your invitations are the first formal statement you make about your wedding. The invitation should provide your guests with the who, what, when and where for your wedding. Your invitation language hints at the wedding's level of formality, attire, religious ties, etc. When it comes to the names that are printed on the invitation, modern life has altered tradition. Though tradition tends to hold up, gone are the days when the bride's parents always host the wedding for their daughter. These days, many different names are featured on the invitation. Even the bride and groom now host their own wedding. In addition, modern family structure - parents that are divorced, widowed, remarried, etc., also adds to the variety of invitation wording. Here are several common wording solutions. For invitation combinations not covered or for more specific questions, please call The Papery of Greenwich for advice!

Invitation Wording

The most traditional wording:
The Bride's parents host

Mr. and Mrs. Daniel John Smith
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Julie Leigh
to
Mr. Evan David Jones
Saturday, the tenth of June
Two thousand and four
at four o'clock
St. Patrick's Church
Marrian, Washington

Notes:

* "request the honour of your presence" is the most formal and traditional wording. "Honour", spelled with "our" is also a British spelling and is used in combination with a wedding to take place in a house of worship. If you prefer, you may also use "honor".
* A common substitute for "request the honour of your presence" is "request the pleasure of your company". Generally, this is reserved for weddings not taking place in a house of worship.
* The bride's name is listed without her last name because she shares her parents' last name, listed earlier in the invitation. Her full name is written only if it differs from her parents'.
* The use of middle names should be consistent throughout the invitation. If the bride uses hers, so should the groom and the hosts.
* "Mr." before the groom's name is optional, but more formal.
* When listing the time, "in the afternoon", "in the evening", etc. can substitute for "o'clock". FYI, technically, 4:30 is considered evening time.
* After the location of the ceremony, both the city and state should be listed,. unless the city is internationally recognizable, such as San Francisco, New York or Paris.
* Notice that on this invitation, the reception is not mentioned. This is because it is at a different location than the ceremony. In this case, a separate card would be printed with the reception location and time. If the reception is in the same location, a simple phrase at the bottom can be added, such as "and afterward at the reception" or "Reception to follow". If the reception is not immediately after the ceremony, additional information should be provided.

The Groom's parents host:

Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Edward Jones
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of
Ms. Julie Leigh Smith
to their son
Evan David
Saturday, the tenth of June
Two thousand and four
at four o'clock
St. Patrick's Church
Marrian, Washington

Notes:

* again, "Ms." is optional.

Both sets of parents host:

Mr. and Mrs. Daniel John Smith
and
Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Edward Jones
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of their children
Julie Leigh Smith
and
Evan David Jones
Etc…

Notes:

* The bride's parents are always listed first and the children follow the same order.
* In this case, both the bride and groom's names should be followed by their last names.

Bride and Groom host with help from their parents/families:

Together with their parents/families
Ms. Julie Leigh Smith
and
Mr. Evan David Jones
request the honour of your presence
at their marriage
Etc…

Or

Ms. Julie Leigh Smith
and
Mr. Evan David Jones
together with their parents/families
request the honour of your presence
at their marriage
Etc…

Notes:

* "Together with their families" is a phrase that can be used when several families/individuals are hosting and there's not enough room to mention them all, or the bride and groom's parents are giving a any amount of assistance.

Bride and Groom host:

The honour of your presence is requested
at the marriage of
Ms. Julie Leigh Smith
and
Mr. Evan David Jones
Etc…

Notes:

* Again, "Mr." and "Ms." is optional but more formal.

Or

Ms. Julie Leigh Smith
and
Mr. Evan David Jones
invite you to celebrate their marriage
Etc…

Notes:

* Another way to phrase the invitational line is "invite you to join/share in their marriage celebration" or "invite you to celebrate their marriage".

Other family combinations:
Bride's divorced and remarried parents host:

Mr. and Mrs. George Laurence Meyers
and
Mr. and Mrs. Daniel John Smith
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Julie Leigh Smith
to
Mr. Evan David Jones
Etc…

Notes:

* In this case, the mother of the bride and her husband are listed first, followed by the father and his wife.
* The same would apply if the groom's divorced and remarried parents were to host.
* The bride's last name should be listed with her first and middle for clarification.

Bride's divorced parents host and one parent remarried:

Mr. and Mrs. George Laurence Meyers
and
Mr. Daniel John Smith
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Julie Leigh Smith
to
Mr. Evan David Jones
Etc…

Notes:

* Again, the mother and her husband are listed first. The same would apply if she weren't married. They would be listed as follows:

Mrs. Linda Ann Smith
and
Mr. Daniel John Smith

Or, if the Bride's father has remarried:

Mrs. Linda Ann Smith
and
Mr. and Mrs. Daniel John Smith

Bride's mother hosts:

Mrs. Linda Ann Smith
requests the honour of your presence
at the marriage of her daughter
Julie Leigh
to Mr. Evan David Jones
Etc…

A few notes on other wording combinations:

If the bride's parents are hosting but the bride and groom want to mention the groom's parents on the invitation, their names can be listed after the groom's name:

Mr. and Mrs. Daniel John Smith
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Julie Leigh
to
Mr. Evan David Jones
son of Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Edward Jones
Etc…

Several combinations of parents are hosting:
For example, the bride's divorced parents, one remarried, and the groom's married parents host:

Mr. and Mrs. George Laurence Meyers
Mr. Daniel John Smith
and
Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Edward Jones
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of their children
Julie Leigh Smith
and
Evan David Jones
Etc…

* This layout can be followed for other combinations of parents.

One more note:

Should the couple prefer less formal names be used for their invitations, you may use first names for hosts and the bride and groom. Just be sure that there is consistency in using all names and that the woman is listed before the man. A man should not be separated from his last name.

Reception Card Wording

In any basic invitation set, a reception card is commonly included. Reception cards are most often used when the reception is in a different location than the ceremony or if the reception does not immediately follow the ceremony.

* The Reception card is a great place to indicate any information that isn't appropriate for the invitation itself. For example, use the reception card to tell your guests that your reception is for adults only by saying: "Adult Reception to follow at The Ritz Carlton".

* If a reception is to be "Black tie", this should be indicated on the reception card. If the reception is held immediately after the ceremony and at the same location, a reception card is optional. In this case, "Black tie" can be indicated as a footnote on the invitation.

Reception Card Wording

If the ceremony and reception are held at the same location, print one of the following at the bottom of the invitation:

"and afterwards at the reception"
"Reception immediately following"
"Reception immediately to follow the ceremony"
"Dinner and dancing to follow"
"Feast and merriment to follow"
Etc…

If the ceremony and reception are held at the same location, but there is a significant break between them, the reception card should read:

Reception to follow the ceremony
at half past six in the evening

If the ceremony and reception are held at different locations, the reception card should read:

Reception immediately following the ceremony
The Ritz-Carlton
Seattle, Washington

* Note: the city and state should be mentioned if the reception is held in a different city than the ceremony.

If the ceremony and reception are held at different locations and there is a significant time lapse, a separate card should read:

Reception to follow
at half past six in the evening
The Ritz-Carlton
Seattle, Washington

Reply Set Wording

Along with your invitation, your basic invitation set includes a reply set or postcard for your guests to respond. When planning your reply language, decide on a reply deadline. Reply dates should be 2 to 4 weeks before the wedding date, and generally a little past half way between receiving the invitation and the event itself. Your vendors should let you know when a final count is necessary.

Reply Card

The favour of a reply is requested by
the fifteenth of May

M __________________________

_____ will attend
_____ will not attend

* "favour" is used in combination with the British "honour" used on the invitation. If "honour" is spelled "honor", then "favor" should be used. If honour is not used at all, alternate reply wording should be used as follows:


"The favour of your reply is requested by"
"A reply is requested by"
"Please reply/respond by"
"Your reply is requested by"
"Kindly reply/respond by"
Etc…

* Guest should always have a place to sign their name/s, so

M__________________________
helps keep things clear.

* There are several combinations for the attendance lines:

_____ will attend
_____ will not attend

Or

will _____attend

* This option is fuzzy for many invitees. They should fill in "not" on the line if they are unable to attend.

Or

_____ accepts
_____ regrets

Or

_____ accepts with pleasure
_____ declines with regret

Or, a witty response may be used such as:

_____ yes, we'll be there!
_____ sorry, cannot attend.

Or

_____ can't wait!
_____ we're sad we can't make it.

* Any additional information should be listed after the basic reply language.

For menu example:

Entree choice:
____ filet mignon ____ chicken ____ vegetarian

Or

For an additional event:

Morning after brunch
____ will attend ____ will not attend
Etc…

* A more modern approach to the reply is a blank card with the exception of the reply date. This format is ideal for guests who love to write notes and for brides who keepsake them! However, some guests may forget to write their name or other pertinent information. Therefore, this format may require more follow-up than the traditional format.
* A tip for all replies:
Number the back of your reply cards in pencil to coordinate with your address list. This way, if you receive a reply that is missing a name, you can look it up and follow-up with that guest.

Reply Envelope

Your reply envelope should list the name and address of the person/s who are to receive the replies. Traditionally, the host of the wedding receives the replies. Therefore, if the bride's parents host, their names are traditionally on the reply envelope.

To the bride's parents:

Mr. and Mrs. Daniel John Smith
839 Morris Avenue
Marrian, Washington 73627

Many times, however, the bride wants to receive the replies, so her name and address appears on the envelope. These days, many brides and grooms share an address prior to the wedding, thus the groom's name may appear on the reply envelope as well.

To the bride:

Ms. Julie Leigh Smith
1876 Lewin Lane
Marrian, Washington 73627

To the bride and groom:

Ms. Julie Leigh Smith
Mr. Evan David Jones
1876 Lewin Lane
Marrian, Washington 73627


Wedding Invitation Etiquette

Wedding Invitation Wording

Wedding Invitation Timetable

Wedding Invitation Addressing

Wedding Invitation Assembling

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