how to word your wedding invitations

the recipe for your wedding invitation

Okay, let's cut right to the chase.

All wedding invitations are made up of just a few important elements. Whether your event is going to be super traditional or more relaxed and casual, your invitation needs to include these main ingredients:

Anatomy of a Wedding Invitation - Gilded Floral Wedding Invitation Wording Examples

Wedding Invitation Recipe (design from the Gilded Floral Collection by Fresh and Yummy Paperie on Zazzle)


So, that’s not a lot! There’s only 6 ingredients.  

It’s actually very simple. The important thing is that the wording for your invitation will help set the tone for your wedding. It’ll help let your guests know that your event will be traditional or casual.  

For example, if you’re having an elegant and traditional wedding at a church you could use wording like this:

"request the honour of your company” (“honor” indicates that it’s at a place of worship)

On the other hand, if you’re having a relaxed outdoor wedding you’d use more casual wording, something like this:

"with great joy we invite you to celebrate”  

Now, let’s go a bit deeper on each of the main ingredients.


1 - who's hosting?

This is typically the first line of the wedding invitation and indicates who’s paying for the event.

It’s the section of the wedding invitation that I get the most questions about. How to word it can get a little confusing especially if you’re like I was and aren’t in a typical “traditional” situation where the bride’s parents are hosting and they’re still married.

Most couples these days are either paying for the wedding themselves, or hosting along with one or more of their parents. So I get tons of questions about how to word different scenarios. 

Toward the bottom of this email I’ll provide a few examples. But first, let’s go over the rest of the ingredients. 

Romantic Black Calligraphy Traditional Divorced Parents Wedding Invitation Wording Example

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2 – request to attend

This is the “invitation” part of the invitation. You need some wording that says “you’re invited!” although, for a wedding invitation, it’s not usually phrased exactly like that.  

Ahem.

Unless your wedding is very casual, in which case, go for it! 

In the intro, I gave some examples of this, but for fun, here’s some more:


TRADITIONAL:

  • “request the honor of your presence” (held in a place of worship)
  • “request the pleasure of your company” (secular)


CASUAL: 

  • “joyfully invite you to celebrate” 
  • “cordially invite you to attend” 
  • “with happy hearts we invite you to celebrate” - my favorite! 
  • “please join us to celebrate” 


PRO TIP: 

I love dazzling guests with words (and design), and this is the section of the invitation, especially for more casual weddings, where you have a little room to make it your own. So pick words that’ll entertain and delight your guests in some way. This should be simple and subtle.  

So, for example, “invite you to attend” is plain vanilla. “Joyfully invite you to attend” includes your emotion and makes a big difference in how your guests will perceive your wedding.


3 - names of the couple

The biggest thing to know here is that the brides name appears first on the invite. This is true for traditional and casual wedding invitations. Ladies first, always!

For same sex couples, you can do whichever way flows off the tongue better, or in alphabetical order, you get to decide. But if there’s one of you who’s parents are hosting, for wording purposes it’s best to put that person first.  

For example:

George and Annette Taylor request the pleasure of your company at the wedding of their daughter Rebecca Taylor To Anna Brock  

Q: "But do we use our full names? Or our first and last names, or…?"

Traditionally, if the brides parents are hosting, you would use the brides first and middle name and the grooms full name.  

For a more casual wedding, and when the couple is hosting, I usually use their first and last names.  

If you’d prefer to use your first and middle names, that’s great too!  

For a casual wedding, I don’t really have a recommendation on how to write your names. It’s just your preference.


4 - date and time

Traditionally the date and time are spelled completely out. Like this:  

Saturday, the fourth of September two thousand and twenty at four o’clock in the afternoon

For more casual wedding invitations, you can play with it a little (or a lot!). You still need to include the date, year and time, but you can be more relaxed about it.  

Some of my most popular invitations are casual and have this format for the date and time:  

09.24.20 at two o’clock in the afternoon

But something like this is also absolutely acceptable for casual invites:  

09.24.20 at 2PM 


5 - location

This one is pretty straight forward, with one faux pas to avoid.

For the location you will need to include the name of the venue, the city and the state. That’s all you need to include. If you’re having a backyard wedding, or if it’s at a location that could be confused with another place, you’ll need to include the street address as well.

Here’s some examples:

Willow Grove Cathedral Willow Grove, Pennsylvania

or

Willow Grove Cathedral 1600 Cathedral Drive Willow Grove, Pennsylvania

The state is always spelled completely out for traditional weddings. For casual weddings you can use the abbreviated state, or spell it out. I just do whichever one looks better aesthetically with the design. The thing to avoid: putting the zip code on the invitation. Don’t do it! Zip codes are only for the envelopes. But, if you really think it’s needed, you can include it on a directions enclosure card or your wedding website. 


6 - reception to follow

I know I said that all these ingredients are required for all wedding invitations, but this is the one exception. You don’t have to add this part, but a lot of wedding invitations include a line or two about the reception at the bottom if it fits. For example:

  • “reception to follow”
  • “dinner and dancing to follow”
  • “merriment to follow”


If this wording doesn’t fit well onto the invitation, or if your reception is not at the same location as your ceremony, include a separate enclosure card for the reception details instead.

And I have one more note about the reception section. If you're not providing a meal, you'll want to let your guests know that in this section. Let them know what to expect after the ceremony. So you could use wording like this:

  • "refreshments to follow"
  • "cocktails and appetizers to follow"


the fun part: examples!

Okay, now that we’ve got all the ingredients together, let’s pour them all into the bowl and start mixing.

In response to some of the questions that I get, here’s some wording examples from my wedding invitation designs:

Q: “how do we phrase our wedding invitation if we’re the ones hosting?” 

Traditional Couple Hosting Example:

Romantic Gold Calligraphy Traditional Couple Hosting Wedding Invitation Wording Example

design from the Romantic Calligraphy Collection by Fresh and Yummy Paperie on Zazzle


the honor of your presence is requested at the wedding of Maria Dean and Jonathan Cox Friday the Twelfth of October at four o'clock in the afternoon Allaire Chapel 2045 Herbertsville Road Farmingdale, New York cocktails, dinner and dancing to follow


Casual Couple Hosting Example:

Lush Greenery Casual Couple Hosting Wedding Invitation Wording Examples

design from the Lush Greenery Collection by Fresh and Yummy Paperie on Zazzle


with happy hearts Bethany Spencer & Jared Redden invite you to celebrate their wedding 09.19.20 at 4 o'clock in the afternoon the yolanda ranch vacaville, california dinner and dancing to follow


Q: how do we word our wedding invitation if my parents {the bride's parents} are hosting?

Traditional Bride's Parents Hosting Example:

Dusty Blue Florals Traditional Brides Parents Hosting Wedding Invitation Wording Example

design from the Dusty Blue Florals Collection by Fresh and Yummy Paperie on Zazzle


Dr. and Mrs. Richard and Diane Rosario request the honor of your presence at the marriage of their daughter Meghan Isabelle to Scott Ivan Howes Saturday, the eighteenth of April two thousand and twenty at five o'clock in the afternoon Fellowship Baptist Church Wilmington, Delaware reception to follow


Casual Bride's Parents Hosting Example:

Wild Tropical Palm Casual Brides Parents Hosting Wedding Invitation Wording Example

design from the Wild Tropical Palm Collection by Fresh and Yummy Paperie on Zazzle


Mr. and Mrs. Timothy and Patricia Conway joyfully invite you to celebrate the marriage of their daughter Alessandra to Laurence 05.30.20 at 5PM Indian Spring Country Club Boynton Beach, Florida dinner and dancing to follow


There you go! Those are the most common scenarios for wedding invitations. I hope that one of these examples inspired you for the wording on your own wedding invitation.

need even more wording inspiration?

I've created a PDF download for you with tons more examples.  

The additional examples on the download are great for you if you'd like to see more:  

  • Hosting scenarios (divorced parents hosting, groom's parents hosting, couple and both sets of parents hosting, and more)
  • "Request to attend" wording inspiration
  • Date and time format examples
  • Q & A
  • + more
send me the guide! >>
Miriam

about the author

Miriam Kokolo is the designer behind Fresh & Yummy Paperie. She's the mother of two young boys. When she's not designing wedding stationery, she's dancing around the house listening to Hanson music, making to-do lists, or watching Living Big in a Tiny House with her hubby.