wedding invitation wording etiquette

The one topic that I get the most questions on: wedding invitation wording and etiquette. There are so many rules to follow when choosing the appropriate wording for wedding invitations. Most of which are unknown and subtly hidden within each line on the invitation.


The most traditional wedding situation is the bride's parents hosting/paying for the entire event. That scenario has changed quite a bit with our generation- as many couples are getting married later, paying for the wedding themselves or the groom's parents are co-hosting. If the wedding is any combination of those things, I suggest using "Together with their families" or "Together with their parents" at the top of the invitation. This is a very common and popular choice for invitations. 

If the wedding ceremony is not held in a house of worship, the request line should read, "request the pleasure of your company". If the wedding ceremony is held in a house of worship, it should read, "request the hono(u)r of your presence". The U in honor is optional and based on personal preference. 

If the wedding ceremony and reception are held at the same venue, a separate line is added to the bottom of the invitation. The most common choices are: "Reception to follow", "Dinner and Dancing to follow", or "Cocktails, Dinner and Dancing to follow".


If the wedding ceremony and reception are held at different venues, a completely separate insert card is needed for the reception details. Think of this as an invitation to the reception.


Response cards are pretty straight-forward. For the "respond by" date, I suggest 3-4 weeks ahead of the wedding date. Typically caterers require a final headcount 2 weeks ahead, so 3-4 weeks will allow extra time to gather responses and call guests where necessary.

If children are not invited to the wedding or you want to be very clear on how many guests are invited from each household, I suggest to add a line that says: "We have reserved ___ seats for your party". Before mailing the invitations, each card needs to be filled out appropriately for each household. 

These are some fun additions that you can add to spice up response cards: "Advice for the Bride and Groom ___" or "I promise to dance if you play ___". 


All other insert cards are completely optional, but many couples like to include a map or information card. Typically an information card includes the wedding website, hotel accommodations and any necessary travel information.

Photos by Abbie Mae Photography

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