The Everything-You-Need-To-Know Guide for Wedding Invitation Wording
Updated: May 25, 2019
For a lot of couples, wedding invitations are the ultimate indicator of how the entire day is going to go. Personal and beautiful, wedding invitations, as you know, are also critical for making sure people know the who, what, when, where, and why of the wedding.
For this reason, wedding invitation wording is important. Not only should it match the style of your wedding (whether traditional or unconventional), but it should also say how you feel, communicating all the important details that you want to be sure to not overlook.
In this guide, we’ll breakdown the basics of wedding invitation wording, answering all of your questions and helping you to create the perfect invite - one that you’ll love keeping for years to come.
To make this as simple as possible, we’ll break it all down step-by-step, starting from the top.
1. The Host Line.
The very beginning of your wedding invitation, the Host Line is traditionally the first line where you list who is hosting your wedding. Traditionally, you’ll find parents listed here. Sometimes couples will just list the bride’s parents, but it’s not uncommon for both sets of parents to be acknowledged on this line.
Either way, the Host Line is the beginning of the “Who” and the “What” of the invitation.
A Host Line on a traditional invitation would look something like this:
"Mr. and Mrs. John Smith (bride’s parents) and Mr. and Mrs. Edward Jones (groom’s parents) request the honor of your company at the marriage of their children…"
Another way traditional, and slightly lengthier, version could look like:
"Mr. and Mrs. John Smith (bride’s parents) Mr. and Mrs. Edward Jones (groom’s parents) invite you to share in the joy of the marriage uniting their children…"
But, as beautiful as these versions are, many couples are choosing a less formal and slightly more unconventional method for creating the Host Line. Not only does the wording have more personality (which can help to tie in themes), but it often skips the “host” altogether, keeping the invitation focused on the couple.
If you find yourself at odds with the formality of traditional wedding invitation wording, trying an unconventional Host Line might be a great place for you to start.
Here are two examples of great non-traditional Host Lines for your wedding invitation:
"Your love and friendship have helped us grow into who we are today."
" With joyful hearts we ask you to be present at the ceremony…"
2. Request/Invitation Line
Sometimes lumped in with the Host Line, the Request/Invitation Line really is something to consider all on its own. Depending on where your wedding ceremony is taking place, there are a few different ways to think about wording the Request/Invitation Line of your invitation.
If you’re following traditional guidelines, the way you word this line will depend on how formal (or religious) the location of ceremony is.Traditionally, if your ceremony is being held in a place of worship, you’ll use the wording:
“request the honor of your presence”
And, if your ceremony is being held somewhere else, you would traditionally say:
“ request the pleasure of your company”
For couples creating a more unconventional wedding invitation, you could try a different approach to the Request/Invitation Line. For example:
“invite you to join them”
“invite you to celebrate”
3. Couple’s Names
Whether you choose a traditional or unconventional method for wording your wedding invitation, one thing is certain: The names of the bride and groom need to take center stage. Traditionally, you’ll find that the bride’s name comes first and includes her first name and middle name.
The groom’s name, which comes second, includes his first, middle, and last name. This is typically done because the bride traditionally takes the groom’s last name. Of course, many couples choose to include both of their first and last names.
And other couples, especially those not wanting to take on traditional “bride and groom” roles, choose to list their names alphabetically. Whichever method you choose, make sure it’s in sync with your style, especially since it’s the biggest feature of your invite.
4. Date and Time
After your names, the date and time should be the most visible because this is the information that your guest will most likely need to refer to on your invitation. Traditionally, you’ll see the Date and Time written in three consecutive lines in this order: Date, Year, and Time.
If you are wanting to create a traditional invitation, follow these rules when writing this portion:
- Spell out numbers
- Only capitalize proper nouns
- Don’t say “half past” but rather “half after”
- 1 o’ clock through 4 o’ clock is considered afternoon
- 5 o’ clock is considered evening
"Saturday, the tenth day of July
Two thousand twenty at
five o’ clock in the evening."
5. The Location
Always start the Location line with where your ceremony is being held, as the ceremony comes before the reception. Traditionally, you’ll write the name of the ceremony location, followed by the city and state.
If you need to include a street address (or even GPS coordinates) to make sure your guests know where to go, then definitely do. For receptions that are being held in the same location as the ceremony, you can include a line that reads:
“and afterwards at the reception”
“immediately followed by a reception”
If you are creating a traditional card and are having your reception at a different location, simply include a “reception to follow at” line followed by the same location format as above. If you decide this takes up too much room, you can choose to include an insert with your invitation that contains this information.
For couples who are having their ceremony and reception at two different locations and who are creating non-traditional wording for their wedding invitations, you can try wording like:
“Reception and happily ever after to follow at…”
“Reception to follow. More info at (wedding website)”
6. Dress Code
Your guests should know what you expect them to wear to your wedding, so don’t forget to include this line. Some couples make the mistake of trying to keep their wedding invitation so casual that they exclude the dress code information altogether, which can leave your guests frustrated and struggling in their preparation for the day.
If you are having a traditional formal wedding, then the Dress Code line would read something like:
"Black Tie, Coat Required"
"Cocktail Attire Requested"
If, however, you want your dress code to reflect your style and personality (or perhaps convey a theme for your day), then consider making the wording more creative. For example:
"Help us celebrate by wearing the brightest formal clothes possible!"
"Beach Formal, Dancing Shoes Required"
7. RSVP Instructions
This line is second to the last on your wedding invitation, but certainly not last in importance. As anyone who has ever hosted a party will know, getting guests to RSVP is critical for planning purposes. Let your guests know when you need them to RSVP by and how. If you are including a RSVP card and pre-addressed envelope, the “how” is inferred.
For traditional invitation wording, you could say:
"Please RSVP by (date)"
"The bride and groom ask that guests RSVP no later than (date)"
For less traditional invitation wording, try something like:
"To let us know if you can make it, please RSVP by (date)"
"Are you in? Go to (specific website URL) make it RSVP official!"
If you are using a wedding invitation website, like My Wedding Online, and have the extra space on your wedding invitation, you can always give them step by step instructions on how to RSVP online.
8. Nearby Accommodation
To help out of town guests or guests who are traveling for your wedding, the final line of your wedding invitation can include nearby accommodations you recommend. It’s fine to just include the name, but a website can also be helpful here. If you’re using a wedding invitation website, add GPS coordinates and Google Map info.
Your wedding invitation is the first taste your guests have of your big day. Every detail, including the wording you include, helps to create your perfect wedding. If you follow our guide step-by-step, we’re confident you’ll end up with a wedding invitation you (and your guests) will love!
For more examples view our blog post title 8 Wedding Invitation Wording Examples.