The wording on your wedding invitations should reflect who you are as a couple, in addition to sticking to a very specific set of formal rules. Although you may not be aware of the etiquette, there is a good chance that anybody a generation older than you might be offended by missteps in wedding invitation wording, so it is important to be careful with setting up the text on your wedding invitations before printing them.
How to Word your Wedding Invitation: The Hosts
Typically the first thing on a traditional wedding invitation is the names of the hosts, who are traditionally the bride’s parents. When writing the name of the couple, address them as Mr. and Mrs., and then the husband’s full name. In this case, it would simply be written as Mr. and Mrs. John David Smith.
However, there are a number of other special cases for hosts, given that the hosts are defined as the people who are paying for the wedding, and many weddings are not being paid for by the bride’s parents. For example, if the groom’s parents are paying as well, then there should be an “and” on a line below the bride’s parents, and then their names as well.
With so many divorced and remarried parents these days, that can also create tricky situations in wording wedding invitations. If parents who are hosting the wedding are remarried, the stepparents should be listed with them on the invitation. If the other parent is also paying, their name (along with a spouse, if applicable), should go directly on the line below, without an “and”. This means there could potentially be names of 8 parents paying for the wedding on the invitation!
If couples are contributing a large portion of the financing of the wedding with their parents, then it is typically the bride and groom’s names at the top, with a note of “along with their parents” and then listing the parents’ names as described above on the lines below.
How to Word your Wedding Invitation: The Invitation
The actual formal invitation to the wedding is usually worded as follows:
(Names of hosts)
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of (their/his/her) (daughter/children/son)
However, if the wedding is not taking place at a church, the phrase “request the honour of your presence” should actually not be used. Instead, it should be replaced with “request the pleasure of your company”. This is an important rule to follow if the name of the site is ambiguous, because it can help guests to know what the setting is, and have an idea of the dress code.
How to Word your Wedding Invitation: The Details
Following the invitation proper, you will need quite a few lines to set out all of the details of the date, time, and location of your wedding. The general rule of thumb is to be formal in these things, and to spell out all of the numbers, except those in the street address of the location.
For example, your wedding invitation details below the bride and groom’s names could read:
on Saturday, the tenth of July
two thousand and ten
at three o’clock (in the afternoon)
(name of location)
(street address of location)
(city and state of location)
In all of the details of the wedding location, spell out all abbreviations such as Avenue and Lane rather than Ave. and Ln., and writing out the full name of the state instead of the two letter abbreviation. Also note that you do not need to include the zip code in the address.