There are a million styles of wedding invitation wording, each one more unique and creative than the last. Unfortunately, sometimes when you get creative, you forget to include the basic information that every wedding invitation should include. To make sure your guests aren't wondering about fundamentals like where the wedding will be held or who is getting hitched, have your proofreading include this checklist.
You'll want it to include your names. If your parents are listed on the invitation, then just first names or first and middle names are fine. For example, you might say:
"Mr. and Mrs. Robert and Linda Smith
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
son of Ms. Martha Crawford
and the late George Wilson"
But, if your parents' names aren't included, you'll want to also use your last names. For example:
"Together with their families,
Gretchen Christine Smith and Samuel James Wilson
request the pleasure of your company
as they exchange wedding vows"
Whatever you do, don't just use your first names. For a casual wedding you might want very relaxed wording such as, "With love, Jim and Connor are celebrating our commitment to one another. Please join us for merriment and toasting." Still, an overlay, bellyband, or the envelope should include your full names so that guests aren't confused about which Jim and Connor they're being asked to celebrate.
- Couple's full names
- (Optional) Parents' names
- (Optional) Stepparents' names
- (Optional) Other hosts' names
In some way, you'll need to indicate that this is a wedding invitation. You might use traditional wedding invitation wording such as "at the marriage of their daughter", less formal such as "as they exchange wedding vows," or poetic wording such as "as they celebrate their union." If the ceremony is taking place privately and the guests are only invited to the reception, this should be made plain in the invitation. For invitations to both the ceremony and reception, a line can be included such as "Reception to follow."
- Tell them it's a wedding.
- If guests are to attend the reception only, indicate that the invitation is for the reception.
- Mention the reception in the invitation or include a separate reception card.
Guests need to know where to go, so make sure your wedding invitation includes the location. You don't necessarily need the full address on the formal invite, but at least give the name and the city or town. Too often, couples assume that just giving the name of the church or hall is enough, but out-of-town guests might be confused. If your ceremony venue has a common name, like All Saints' Church or The Marriott Hotel, you should also include a street address on the wedding invitation itself, rather than an insert. Inserts can get lost, leading guests astray, so it's better to include the details.
- Ceremony venue name
- City and state
- Ceremony venue address
- Reception location, if separate
Include the ceremony start time, writing out the numbers. It's traditional to also write, "in the morning", "in the afternoon", or "in the evening". (For a very casual wedding, some people instead just write A.M. or P.M.) For example: "Four o'clock in the afternoon" Unless there's a gap between the ceremony and reception, you don't need to include the reception start time.
- Ceremony start time, written out
- Indication of "In the morning", "in the afternoon", or "in the evening"
- If necessary, reception start time
It would be nice if all guests would RSVP promptly unbidden, but unfortunately, that just doesn't happen. So be sure to include a line such as, "Please respond by May 14th," or, "The favor of a reply is requested by June 16th." For a casual wedding, you can say simply, "Please RSVP by October 10th."
- RSVP deadline, including month and date.