Wedding Invitation Etiquette

As a wedding invitation designer, it's my job to educate my brides on proper etiquette for the wording of their invitations. It's not just fancy cardstock and pretty graphics. Traditional invitations follow very specific rules, such as: invitations are always written in the third person and the bride's name always comes before the groom's.

These days, most of my brides skip the way of tradition and tend to do their own thing (which is great.) No matter which direction they decide to go, there are 7 essential elements to a wedding invitation (traditional or more modern.) Why are they essential you might ask? These are the details that are essential to your guests and can set the mood for your wedding.

1. The Host Line - The host line can be adapted for a variety of hosting options: the bride & groom, the bride's parents, the groom's parents, a combination of the two, divorced & remarried parents, etc.
2. The Bride & Groom's Name - If the brides parents are inviting "Mr. & Mrs. John Michael Williams request the pleasure of your company at the marriage of their daughter" it is not required that you include the bride's last name on the invitation (unless it is a different last name.)
3. The Request Line - By using certain verbiage such as "request the pleasure of your company" you can express to your guests that your wedding is more casual. If you are celebrating your nuptials in a house of worship, it's more appropriate to us "request the honor of your presence."
4. The Date - Always spell out the numbers in the date, year, and time, but not in the address.
5. The Time - Never use 2:00 p.m. Always use two o'clock in the afternoon or 6 o'clock in the evening. When it comes to a 2:30 p.m. wedding always write the half hour before the number (half after two o'clock in the afternoon.)
6. The Location - If your venue is a well known place, there is no need to include the address. If you are having your venue at a more private location, include the address.
7. The Reception - If you are having your reception at the same location as your ceremony, you can include "Reception to Follow" or "Reception Immediately to Follow." If you aren't serving food at the reception, it's polite to include "Cocktails & Cake to Follow [at location]" or "Cake & Dancing to Follow [at location.]" If you are hosting the reception at a completely seperate venue it is courtesy to include "Reception to Follow at [location]" and provide the address on a separate reception card.

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