Invitation Wording Guide: Who/What/Where/When

Invitation Wording Guide: Who/What/Where/When

April 12, 2022

What to write where?

When you design your invitations (or have us design them for you), you'll need to consider the wording on them. There are lots of styles, terms, and options, so here's a little guide to help you along!

All invitations should include the following information:

  • Who's hosting
  • The request/invitation to the wedding
  • The names of the couple
  • The date and time
  • The location
  • Reception information
  • Dress code (optional)

Each of those items has multiple options, so let's jump in! These are starting points, not all of the many many variations are listed.

Papillon Press Invitation Wording Guide

We will be using the terms "bride" and "groom" or "partner 1" and "partner 2" to refer to the couple. 

Who's Hosting?

  • Formal - The parents of the bride/partner 1 - "Dr. & Mrs. Jonathan Swan..."
  • Formal - Both sets of parents - Add the second partner's parents' names under the bride and groom's names, or immediately following the bride's parents.
  • Semiformal - The couple & their families - "Together with their parents/families..."
  • Informal - Just the couple -  "We", or "The lovely couple..."

The Request/Invitation

  • Formal - "cordially invite you"
  • Formal - "request the honor of your presence"
  • Semiformal - "happily invite you to celebrate"
  • Informal - "would love for you to join them"
  • "to the wedding of"
  • "to the nuptials of"
  • "to the wedding ceremony of"

Bride and Groom Names

This one's pretty simple, but possibly not as simple as you may think.

  • Brides always appear first.*
  • Formally, the bride is presented using her first and middle names, and the groom using his full name (and title if applicable).
  • *In couples that may not have "the bride", some opt to do alphabetically, otherwise sometimes one just looks better visually being first or second. 

Date & Time

  • In more formal cases, all numerals are written out "the fourth of June"
  • Time is also written out, including "o'clock". AM or PM is optional. 
  • In informal invitations, numerals are accepted.

Location of Ceremony

  • Generally, you can leave out the street address, unless absolutely necessary. 
  • In most cases, the city and state should be written out in full.

Location of Reception

  • In many invitations, much of this information is left for a separate card, and something like "Reception to follow" or "dinner and dancing to follow" is placed at the bottom of the invitation. This is especially true when both the ceremony and reception take place at the same location.
  • If the invitation is more casual, reception location may be included if it fits.
    • If this information doesn't fit, a Reception/Details card can also include these details. 
  • Include the time if the reception is not immediately following the ceremony.

Reply Card/RSVP

Most couples opt to do a separate response card outside of the invitation. Usually included are the following fields- 

  • A name line - Either "M________" or "Names_______". M stands in for the "M" in Mr. or Mrs. etc. but some less traditional guests may be confused by this. 
  • Accept - "____ Happily accept", "____ Accept with joy" etc.
  • Decline - "____ Decline with regret, "____ Regretfully decline" etc. 
  • Food selection - If you're having a plated meal, most couples offer the options on the RSVP and have guests select their meals there. 
    • If you opt for a details card/RSVP with a wedding website, you can instead direct your guests to make their menu choices there. 
  • Requested reply-by date - When do you want your guests to reply by? We recommend one-two weeks before your final count is needed (so you have time to track down the people who forgot to respond). 
  • If you prefer an online RSVP, instead of the accept or decline lines, provide information on where to RSVP (link/QR code to your wedding website.

If you'd like to inquire about custom stationery of your own, click the button below and answer a few questions for us.

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