Understanding the anatomy of a wedding invitation is vital, whether you plan on sending a traditional and formal invitation or a casual and modern invite. While it is perfectly acceptable to depart from tradition in some aspects, there are also key invitation components that are important to stay true to. The following guide will help you write a lovely invitation set that is perfect for your wedding.
Traditionally, the parents of the bride hosted the wedding and their names appeared first on the invitation in the host line. But times have changed and these days the both sets of parents often contribute to the wedding along with the couple themselves. Perhaps the couple is paying for the wedding themselves, but still want to include their familes on the invitation. If parents have passed away, divorced or remarried it gets even trickier. All of these factors have made the host line a difficult and sometimes sensitive part of the invitation to write. A few examples follow, but there are many appropriate ways to word the host line. Ask your stationer for advice regarding your wedding.
One Set Of Parent’s Hosting
Mr. and Mrs. John Smith
Parents Divorced/Remarried (mother is generally listed first)
Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Jones
Mr. John Smith
The pleasure of your company is requested
at the wedding of __________
daughter of Mrs. Susan Smith and the late Mr. John Smith
Couple and Both Families Hosting
Together with their families
The request line simply lets guests know what they are being invited to. The two most common wording choices are "request the honour of your presence” for a church or synagogue wedding, and “request the pleasure of your company” for a wedding taking place in a hotel, reception hall or other venue. Follow both of these examples, with “at the marriage of their daughter/son” or “at the marriage of their children” as appropriate. If you are having an especially casual affair feel free to let the request line reflect this with something like “invite you to join in the festivities as they join together in marriage.” Additionally, you can replace the terms marriage and wedding with “commitment ceremony”, “civil union”, celebration of commitment”, “relationship blessing” or any other term that you feel best represents your event.
Allow the formality of the wedding and invitation dictate how the names are written. Often just the first and last names of the couple are used, however it is also appropriate to include middle names if you like.
A formal invitation will have the date and time written out in full, with the year being optional:
Saturday, the seventeeth of July
at half past five o’clock
Casual wedding invitations do not need to have everything written in full:
July 17th, 20105:30 pm
The name of the location, whether it be a church, synagogue or reception hall, should be followed by the city and state. A street adress is not typically needed unless the wedding is taking place at someone’s home. For example:
St. Peter’s Church
Formal invitations will have a separate card inviting guests to the reception. It is also appropriate to note the reception directly on the invitation, if there is enough space. “Reception immediately following” is a standard example. If the time or location is different than the ceremony, be sure to include that information. If you are having a cocktail reception or another non-traditional reception, it is wise to mention this so that your guests don’t arrive expecting a meal.
Most formally, the request for a reply is printed on the lower left hand corner of the invitation, implying that guests should write a response to the hosts. However, most couples include a separate reply card and envelope with their invitation. The reply card should let guests know when their response is requested by and leave space for them to fill in their names. If you need guests to choose their meal ahead of time, it can be included on the reply card as well. A standard reply card looks like this:
Kindly reply by the tenth of August
( ) accepts with pleasure
( ) declines with regrets
If your wedding is more casual, feel free to be playful with the reply card wording - “will be there with bells on/will celebrate from afar” is a fun alternative.
If you are having difficulty wording your wedding invitation, the best thing to do is consult your stationer. A good stationer will be able to guide you through proper wording so that you have a beautiful and appropriate wedding invitation.