Your invitations are the first glimpse your guests will see of your theme and the first impression they’ll have of your big day. Once you’ve found your perfect stationery, it’s time to choose the wording for your wedding invitations. Don’t worry if you’re not a budding Shakespeare, we’ve put together a range of classic and contemporary wedding invitation wording for you to choose from.
What should you include on your wedding invitations?
No matter their style or your degree of formality, when it comes to the right wording for your wedding invitations, be sure to include:
- names of the bride’s parents or other hosts
- first name and surname of the couple including their titles (Sir, Lady, Dr etc)
- where the ceremony is taking place
- date, month and year of the wedding ceremony
- location of the wedding reception
- address to which guests should reply
- a reply date
You might also wish to include:
- details of any dress code or theme
- time guests can expect the day to come to an end
- whether children are invited
Who sends out the wedding invitations?
Invitations are always sent from whoever is hosting the wedding ‐ traditionally the bride’s parents. The wording becomes more complicated if parents are divorced or if the couple are holding the event themselves. The usual wording for a traditional invitation is:
More wording examples
Who is hosting your wedding? Below are sample wordings for:
- the bride’s parents
- both sets of parents
- you’re hosting your own wedding
- you with both sets of parents
- a single parent
- a divorced parent with their spouse/bride or groom’s step parent
- jointly hosted by divorced parents
The bride’s parents
Both sets of parents
You’re hosting your own
You with both sets of parents
A single parent
A divorced parent with their spouse (bride or groom’s step parent)
Jointly hosted by divorced parents
Invitations from someone other than the bride or groom’s parents
If the host of the wedding is neither the bride nor the groom’s parents but another relation, you should word the invitation omitting the word daughter/son and adding the hosts’ relationship:
- grandparents = granddaughter/grandson
- aunt and uncle = niece/nephew
- godparents = goddaughter/godson
- foster parents = foster daughter/foster son
- brother = sister/brother
- sister = sister/brother
Invitations for joint weddings
If, for example, two sisters are having a joint wedding, the name of the older sister and her future husband should go first.
The traditional approach
If you want to follow traditional invitation style, here are a few conventions to note:
- Invitations are generally written in the third person.
- The bride’s name should appear before the groom’s.
- When listing the time, date and venue, the time and date should be written first and the venue last.
- Use titles when appropriate.
- ‘The honour of your presence’ or ‘The pleasure of your company’ is the normal choice of wording. The former is often used for invitations to religious ceremonies such as a church wedding; the latter for invitations to an event in a non‐religious venue.
- How you break up the lines is up to you. Generally, names, times and places are placed on separate lines.
- Wording can be adapted to accommodate different circumstances due to death, divorce and re‐marriage on the bride’s side. For example:
- (if either parent is widowed):
Mr James Jones / Mrs Pamela Jones, requests the pleasure…
- (parents are divorced):
Mr James Jones and Mrs Pamela Jones request the pleasure…
- (parents divorced, mother remarried):
Mr James Jones and Mrs Paula Matthews request…
- (if either parent is widowed):
- Continental Europeans and practising members of the Jewish community send cards including the names of both sets of parents eg: Mr and Mrs James Jones request the pleasure of your company at the marriage of their daughter Susan to Neil, son of Mr & Mrs Simon Berg.
If children are invited, make this clear by including their names on their parents’ invitation. Parents might assume that the invitation is for them alone if their children’s names are not specified.
It can be tactful to include a short note to parents, such as: ‘Much as we would like to invite all the children of our friends, it is only possible to accommodate the children of close family’, or, ‘We are sorry we are unable to accommodate children’. If you are inviting children, let parents know if you have made special childcare arrangements: ‘We have arranged child‐minding facilities for the duration of the service and/or reception’.
Invitations to the reception or an evening party
If space is limited at your ceremony venue, you may wish to invite more guests along to the reception afterwards. You may then decide to invite even more guests for your party in the evening.
A reception invitation will ‘request the pleasure of your company’. An evening party invite can be equally formal, but can also be informal depending on the style of your wedding.