wedding invitation wording

Wondering how to word your wedding invitations? It seems simple, but once you get started, you may realize just how complicated wedding invitation wording and etiquette can be. Wording and etiquette questions are some of the most common ones I get from clients. I’ve compiled all the info you need right here, along with some invitation wording samples you can use, so let’s dive in!

Every wedding invitation is composed of the following parts:

Invitation card with wording details


The Invitation


The first line of your wedding invitation wording should recognize the hosting party. Traditionally, the bride’s parents host the wedding, so listing them on this line is a way of acknowledging that generosity. These days, it’s not uncommon for the couple to host (with no need for a separate host line) or for both sets of parents to contribute to the event – in which case, you can opt for listing all parents’ names, or more simply, “Together with their parents”. Names of multiple hosts who are not married couples should be on separate lines.


The request line is simply the way that you ask guests to attend your event, and can indicate type of venue as well. “The honor of your presence” refers to a ceremony held in a house of worship, while “the pleasure of your company” (or variations on this) refers to a secular ceremony locale.


The bride’s name precedes the groom’s on the invitation. If the bride’s parents’ names are listed at the top, the bride’s name can just be her first and middle name, while the groom’s name is listed in full, or his first and middle names are listed, followed by the line “Son of Mr. & Mrs. John Smith”. For a less formal feel, you may opt to list first names only. For same-sex wedding invitation wording, you can list the names in alphabetical order by last name, or in the order you choose.


Traditionally, the date and time should be spelled out in full – for example, if your ceremony is on September 15, 2019, at 4:30pm, the wording should read, “Saturday, the fifteenth of September, two thousand nineteen, at half past four in the afternoon”. However, this rule often gets broken in more modern-style invitations, where the date and time are listed numerically.


The ceremony venue should be listed as follows: “Venue Name” on one line with “City, State” on the following line. The venue’s street address is traditionally not included (although you may decide to list it), unless it is a private residence. Zip codes are not included.


This line lets your guests know what’s happening after the ceremony. If the reception will be at the same location as the ceremony, you can simply say, “Reception to follow” or “Dinner & dancing to follow”. However, if the reception is at a different location, you can list the venue on the following line, or you may decide to include a separate insert card inviting guests to the reception, with the venue’s full address.

Diagram of invitation reply card wording


The Reply Card

Thankfully, wording your reply card is a simpler task than the invitation. The first piece of information on the card is the reply-by date, which is typically 4 weeks before the ceremony.  Following that is a line for guests to write their names, along with checkboxes for accepting or declining the invitation. Additional information you can include: Meal choices may also be included on the reply card. Recently, it’s become popular to include a song request line, along the lines of, “We promise to dance if you play __________”.

Other Things to Consider


If you’d like to include some helpful dress code information for your guests, you can do this at the bottom of the invitation. Dress code details are required if your ceremony is black tie. Keep in mind the environment and potential weather concerns as well – if your ceremony will be on sand, for example, you might say, “Flip flops will be provided for the ceremony” or something similar.


It’s totally ok to say “no kids, please!”  Your guests will understand. To do this, you can include the line, “This invitation is extended to adults only”, “Our reception is for adults only” (if children are allowed at the ceremony but not the reception), or simply, “Adults only” at the bottom of the invitation.


Not into traditional? It’s completely fine to throw out all the rules and get creative with your wedding invitation wording —  as long as your invitation contains the necessary information (who, when and where). Every couple is unique; ultimately, you’ll decide together what’s best for your event.

Now you’re ready to create your wording! Click below to copy & paste from our handy templates.

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