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Wedding Tips

Do You Know Proper Etiquette for Wedding Invitations?

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ivory and blue wedding invitation suite with save the date card, RSVP, and details card

Wedding invitations seem like a minor detail, right? That is, until you have to send them. As a Virginia wedding photographer, I’ve captured beautiful stationery and wedding invitation suites, but I had no idea that there was proper etiquette to how they’re written and assembled.

Now that I’m a bride planning her own wedding, I’m finally finished designing my invitations. It took a little bit of research to figure out just how to word everything. So I thought I’d compile what I’ve learned here for you!

The wording on your invitation matters for a few reasons. It tells your guests:

  • Who is invited
  • Who is hosting the wedding
  • Date and time of the ceremony
  • Whether to expect a reception afterward

Let’s dive in, shall we?

How to Word Who is Invited

This information is typically conveyed before the invitation is even opened – right on the address “To” line of the envelope. 

  • If you are not inviting kids, this is the polite way to let parents of little ones know by addressing the envelope to “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” or by their first names for a more casual wedding (“John & Sarah Smith”) 
  • If you are inviting kids, address the envelope to “The Smith Family” 
  • If you are allowing Plus Ones, address the envelope to “John Smith and guest” – otherwise, if you are inviting a single individual, only list their name alone.

Drafting the Host Line

The host line is the first line of an invitation, and it typically indicates who is hosting the wedding. Also understood as… who paid for it. 

  • Traditional – If the Bride’s parents are hosting: “Mr. & Mrs. Mark Schneider…” (or “Mark and Linda Schneider” for casual weddings)
  • If both parent sets are hosting: “Mr. & Mrs. Mark Schneider and Mr. & Mrs. Lucio Petroccione…”
  • If the couple is hosting: “Kevin Michael Petroccione & Emily Nicole Schneider, together with their families…” or “together with their parents…”

There are also great tips on wording for if a separated set of parents are involved as hosts, here

Drafting the Formal Request to Attend

After you’ve set up the host line, now it’s time to pick the next few words. Here are some of my favorite options:

  • “…request the honor of your presence at the wedding of their daughter/son…”
  • “…joyfully invite you to celebrate the marriage of their daughter/son…”
  • “…request the pleasure of your company at the marriage of their daughter/son…”
burgundy and gold wedding invitations flatlay with gold sparkly bridal shoes and Daisy Jacobs perfume

Bonus tip: When writing the names of the couple after this line, how do you know whether to do “Full Name to Full Name” vs. “Full Name &/and Full Name”? It’s simple! If the request to attend ends in “marriage of” use “to” between the couple’s names. If the request ends in “wedding of” use an ampersand (&) or the word “and” between the couple’s names.

Sharing the Pertinent Details of the Wedding

Next, it’s time to list the date and time. Most formal weddings would be indicated by a proper, fully spelled out date and time, like the below example, with the most important words capitalized (or all caps if the font is legible and formal enough):

“On Saturday, September the Tenth, Two Thousand Twenty-Two at Five O’Clock in the afternoon”

But you can also opt for numerical digits in your date, particularly if used as a design element.

Bonus tip: How do you know when your wedding is morning, afternoon, or evening? Typically weddings that happen before noon are “morning,” anytime from noon to 6PM are considered “afternoon,” and “evening” is considered to be 6PM or after.

Also, this is the best time to share your wedding venue address. If you have two venues, one for ceremony and one for reception, share the ceremony address here and leave the reception address on a details card. Be sure also to list the name of the venue at the top of the address, so people know when they see the road sign that they’re in the right place.

Lastly, provide an indication on reception. Keep this part very concise. A simple “Reception to follow” will suffice.

What Not to Include on Your Wedding Invite

For the formal, main paper of your invitation suite, it’s best to leave the following details off and on a details card included in the envelope:

  • RSVP
  • Wedding website URL
  • Registry details
  • Reception address (if different than ceremony address)
  • Dress code
  • Special requests

I hope this was helpful as you plan your wedding invitations, and that the photos included in this post served as great inspiration! As a final tip, don’t forget to print and set aside one extra invitation suite (RSVP card, details card, envelope, main invite and all!) for your wedding photographer to capture as part of your bridal details! Want to know what else you should set aside?

Xx Emily

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