Wedding Invitation Wording

Etiquette for Traditional, Divorced, Remarried, and Other Blended families

Traditional wedding invitation wording paired with a modern wedding website and green statement. Luna Lux, a Minneapolis-based letterpress studio.

Once upon a time, there wasn't much variation in the wording of wedding invitations. Since the bride's parents were usually paying for everything, the invites said that they requested the honor of your presence at the marriage of their daughter. These days, with divorce, blended families, nontraditional families, and any and all of the above helping to pay for it, wedding invitation wording has gotten complicated!

 The wedding invitation sets the tone and indicates the level of formality of the event. If you're hosting classic wedding, the wording of the wedding invitations should follow these traditional guidelines.

Basic Wording for Wedding Invitations

I. Who is Hosting? The first names your guests will see on your wedding invitation are those of the people who are paying for the event. 

II. The Request. The next line in a wedding invitation is the one that requests that your guests attend.

III. The Happy Couple. Etiquette says that the bride should be listed first, using first and middle names only. Then the groom should be listed, using both title and middle name.

IV. Date and Time. Traditionally, the Date and Time are spelled out.

V. The Location. If the ceremony is at a well known location, you needn't include the address. But for smaller locations, or your home, you'd want to write out the address.

VI. Time for the Reception. Let your guests know there is going to be a party afterward. This can either be included on the wedding invitation or on a separate reply card. If you're not serving a full meal, it is nice to let guests know. A separate reception card is often good to use if the ceremony and reception are in different places, or the reception doesn't immediately follow the ceremony.

VII: Get Them to RSVP. Traditionally, R.S.V.P. was written on the invitation, and guests knew to reply on their own stationery. Now, most couples find that they get responses more promptly if they include a separate reply card. This can be mostly blank, allowing guests to write a note or it can be more detailed.

VIII: Optional details. Optional details include telling your guests what to wear. Strictest etiquette tells you not to include information about attire on your invitation, but I think this is an outdated opinion. Guests appreciate clues about how to dress, and are not as instinctively knowledgeable as they used to be. To avoid someone showing up in blue jeans. Some couples who wish not to have children at the reception may write "Adult reception", which is more polite than writing "No Children".

Wedding Invitation Wording for Traditional and Non-Traditional Examples 

Below are some common situations, and the appropriate wedding invitation wording for each. Keep in mind that you can adapt this language to suit your event.

Modern couples may choose to add opening statements such as "With Joy in Their Hearts," or may choose to change the traditional "request the honor of your presence at the marriage" to something like "invite you to be a special part of the wedding of" or even "Come laugh, dance, dine, and celebrate our wedding".

Standard Traditional Wedding Invitation Wording:
Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Myers
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Anne Catherine
to
Theodore Joseph Johnson
at the Newport Beach Club
Saturday, the Seventeenth of June
Eight o'clock in the evening

Both sets of parents are funding the wedding:
Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Myers
and
Mr. and Mrs. Kwame Johnson
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of their children
Anne Catherine and Theodore Joseph
etc.

If bride's parents are hosting, but would like to include grooms parents on the invitation
Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Myers
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Anne Catherine
to Theodore Joseph Johnson
son of Mr. and Mrs. Kwame Johnson
etc.

When the bride and groom are paying for the wedding themselves, the wording should read:
EITHER
You are cordially invited to celebrate
the wedding of
Anne Catherine Myers
and
Theodore Joseph Johnson
etc.

OR

Together with their parents,
Anne Catherine Myers
and
Theodore Joseph Johnson
request the honor of your presence
etc.

Brides parents are divorced:
either
Issued by the parent who raised her
Ms. Janet Myers
requests the honor of your presence
at the wedding of her daughter
Anne Catherine
etc.

OR

Divorced parents are hosting the wedding together
Mr. Christopher Myers
and
Ms. Janet Myers request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Anne Catherine

Divorced parent and new stepparent are hosting the wedding:
Mr. and Mrs. Marc Velez
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of Mrs. Velez's daughter
Anne Catherine Myers
etc.

Child of divorced and remarried parents both hosting the wedding
Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Myers
and
Mr. and Mrs. Marc Velez
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Anne Catherine
etc.

OR

Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Myers
and
Mr. and Mrs. Marc Velez
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of the daughter of Mr. Myers and Mrs. Velez
Anne Catherine
to
etc.

OR

Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Myers
and
Mr. and Mrs. Marc Velez
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of Anne Catherine Velez
to
etc.

Click here to read more sample invitation wording, including casual styles, for second weddings, and more

If you are having a non-traditional wedding, there's no reason to use traditional wedding invitation wording. While you should still make sure to include all the details of who, when (time and date), what, and where, you can then use your creativity to make your wedding invitation wording reflects your personality as well as accurately depicts the wedding itself. Use these wedding invitation wording samples as a guide.



Sample Wedding Invitation Wording for a Romantic Wedding

Please join us
For a celebration of love, friendship, laughter, and family
as
Margarita Elena Ramos
and
Thomas Antoine Johnson
Join their hands in holy matrimony
Saturday, June 6, 2015
8 o'clock in the evening
St. Luke's Church
Martinsberg, Virginia
Champagne and dessert reception to follow

Sample Wedding Invitation Wording for a Theme Wedding

Come Fly With Us!
Please Join
Louisa Kelly Brankowich
and
Marcos Andreas Polinopolis
As we take the trip of a lifetime
In getting married
Saturday, August 15, 2015
Lyndon Airport, Hangar B
Reception to follow

Sample Wedding Invitation Wording for a Second Wedding
Trying to figure out how to word an invitation to a second wedding can be tricky. Should use the bride's full name, including the last name of her previous husband? The answer is to use her legal name and/or the name she is known by. However, she may want to include her family surname so as to clarify relationships.



If the bride's parents are hosting:

Mr. and Mrs. Darnell Jones
Request the honor of your presence
At the marriage of their daughter
Dewanna Jones McPhereson
To
Christopher Kwame Johnson
Saturday, the sixth of June
At seven o'clock in the evening
Marquis Hotel
Terra Haute, Indiana

If the bride and groom are hosting:

The honor of your presence is requested
At the marriage of
Dewanna Jones McPhereson
And
Christopher Kwame Johnson
Saturday, the sixth of June
At seven o'clock in the evening
Marquis Hotel
Terra Haute, Indiana

Alternate Second Wedding Wording Options

Please join us
As we celebrate new beginnings, new dreams, and most importantly, new love
at the marriage of
Jonathan Alex Becker
and
Morton Peter Darby
Saturday, April 11, 2015
5 o'clock in the afternoon
Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Rose Garden
Dinner and dancing to follow

Or

With joy in our hearts, we,
Ramona Lee
and
Steven Ang
Request the honor of your presence
As we exchange marriage vows
and celebrate our new life together
Saturday, September 5, 2015
Etc.


 

Sample Wedding Invitation Wording That Includes Children

While not necessary, you may want to include your children particularly if you will have a part of the ceremony devoted to them.

Please join
Janet Ana Pamilla
and
Matthew Aiden Day
as they exchange marriage vows
and together with their son, Quinn, celebrate their family
etc.

or

Please join us
At a celebration
Of the marriage of
Linda Rodriguez Winters
and
Gunther Ryder Marquez
And
The family of
Linda, Gunther, Jacob and Elise
Saturday, June 13, 2015
Etc.

Or your children could be the ones to host:

Mr. Jacob Rodriguez
Requests the honor of your presence
At the marriage of his mother
Linda Rodriguez Winters
To
Gunther Ryder Marquez
Saturday, June 6, 2015
Etc.

Or
Mrs. Alicia Wang Arnold
and her son, Jack Arnold
and
Mr. Thomas Gordon Roth
and his son, Thomas Roth, Jr.
invite you to join them
for the uniting of these two families
Saturday, June 6, 2015
Etc.
 

Sample Wedding Invitation Wording to Reception Only

It is becoming more common for a couple who eloped or had a destination wedding to have a reception later in their hometown.

Be careful in the phrasing - don't make it look like there was a local wedding to which they weren't invited, or that you only want more gifts.

Mr. and Mrs. Jackson Fielding
Invite you to join us
In celebrating the recent marriage of our daughter
Alice Pearson Fielding
To
Arjun Gangadharan
Which took place March 25, 2015 in Dubai, India

Come toast the happy couple
Saturday, June 6, 2015
Grovers Country Club
Plano, Texas

Or

Mr. and Mrs. Jackson Fielding
Invite you to join them for a dinner honoring
Mr. and Mrs. Arjun and Alice Fielding Gangadharan
Saturday, June 6, 2015
Etc.

This example makes it clear that their daughter is married, yet doesn't make it look like a second wedding, thus gifts are not expected.

You should also think about your rsvp card wording, and perhaps have a funny response card to make your guests smile.

Whatever your situation, be it a casual wedding, a non-traditional venue, or the inclusion of children, be sure that the invitation reflects both your personality and the level of formality of the wedding. Use these invitation wording samples as a jumping-off point, and tailor them to fit your event. As long as you speak from the heart, it will be beautiful.