While preparing to invite family and friends to your big day, proper etiquette notes that the correct wedding invitation wording must be used. There are customary elements to the typical wedding invitation: the host line, request line, bride and groom line, date and time line, reception line, and RSVP line.
That said, Jerome Brownstein, engraving consultant at Ross-Cook Engraving in NYC notes, “The trend is that you do whatever makes good etiquette sense and makes you feel good.” So, even though every wedding invitation should have the above listed lines, they can be worded and arranged in countless ways to reflect the style of your occasion!
If looking to stay traditional and formal, use both courtesy lines (Mr., Mrs., etc.) and middle names; when using titles other than Mr. and Mrs., spell them out completely, such as: Doctor and Mrs. Johnson or Doctor Anna Marie Smith and Mr. Joseph Timothy Smith.
For wedding invitations a little less formal, omit courtesy titles and middles names and list the first names of all married women. This format can help avoid potential awkwardness, as in the case of a deceased parent.
Two of the more traditional phrases help to indicate if your wedding ceremony will be held in a house of worship or not. At a place of worship, use the invitation wording: ‘Request the honor of your presence,’ where informal ceremonies use the wording: ‘Would be delighted by your presence at the marriage of their children’.
It’s traditional not to include street addresses for houses of worship or well-known locations, but this is becoming more and more less common. If you do plan to include a street address, zip codes are not needed.
As the bride and groom are the stars of the wedding invitation, their names are to be set apart on separate lines. The preposition linking them goes on its own line: traditional American formatting uses the word ‘to’ while some Jewish formats use the word ‘and’.
Don’t worry about marking the time as a.m. or p.m. unless the wedding will be held between the hours of 8-10 in the morning or evening. The year is traditionally omitted as well, but is sometimes included for the keepsake value alone.
More contemporary wedding invitations can showcase the RSVP line on the in the lower left-hand corner and can include the wedding website, or mailing address, phone number, or email address to respond to. Traditionally, however, RSVP cards are sent out with a fill-in-the-blank version providing the first letter of Mr. or Mrs. for guests to complete and mail in.
Not planning to include a full meal? Use phrasing like “afterwards for cocktails” instead of the classic “at the reception” as a courtesy to your guests. To stress the importance of the style of dress your family and friends choose for your big day – black tie or casual attire, for instance – place that information in the lower right corner or on a separate reception card.
As always, the only true “firm” wedding invitation rule is to never list your registry information anywhere – even on a separate insert! Come back later this week for our discussion about how to list names on your wedding invitations; from inviting a Colonel in the military to a noting that a set of divorced parents are hosting the ceremony together.
Looking for further wedding inspiration, soon-to-be Mrs.? Follow my Pinterest and WedAlert’s Pinterest for boards with wedding ideas ranging from must-take wedding photos to country chic receptions!