Wedding Invitation Wording Examples & Etiquette
Wedding Invitation Wording Examples & Etiquette
You’ve decided on the date, the venue, and the guest list, so now it’s on to the next step: writing your wedding invitations! Your invitations will set the mood for the day, whether you’re planning a laidback beachside ceremony or a glitzy rooftop soiree. In addition to your “Save the Dates,” your invitations should give guests an idea of the wedding theme, explain the dress code, and clear up any confusion over who is actually invited. (Psst…you’ll want to send your invitations out 6-8 weeks before the wedding!) We’ve broken down the essential elements of a wedding invitation so you can figure out what wording best matches your wedding day vibe and send your invites out with ease!
The 12 Elements to Consider
1. Addressing Your Guests Before we get to the actual invitation, let’s break down addressing the envelope. Use proper names and social titles (i.e. Mr. and Mrs., Dr. and Mr./Mrs., etc.) and if you’re planning to include all members of a household, address to “The Jones Family.” If you are planning to include a plus-one, you may choose to address the invite to “Miss Jones and Guest” or omit this on the outside envelope and add a place for a guest’s name on the RSVP card. (If you need help deciding on who gets a plus-one, we've got you covered!)
Note: A good rule of thumb is to send anyone over the age of 18 their own invitation (i.e. if your 23-year-old niece still lives with her parents, she would get her own invite!).
Note: Confused about Ms. and Miss? “Miss” is used when referring to an unmarried woman or girl; “Ms.” is a traditional title of respect for women, married or not. It was popular in the 70’s as the equivalent to “Mister,” as neither indicated marital status.
2. The Hosts & Request This is the first part of the actual invitation and states who is sending the invite. Traditionally, the bride’s parents are inviting guests to the wedding of “their daughter Jane Doe to John Smith,” but thanks to evolving etiquette, it’s up to the couple how they would like to structure this wording. If you’d like to be the ones inviting your guests, state your names as the hosts!
Note: If the wedding is in a place of worship, use “request the honor of your presence” instead of the more informal or non-denominational “request the pleasure of your company” here!
3. The Couple's Names This part is simple—it’s simply the names of you and your partner! Traditionally, you list your full names, but you can keep it short and sweet and use only middle initials. Traditionally, you list the bride’s name first, but feel free to arrange your names how you’d like.
Note: If you’ve listed yourselves as the hosts, no need to repeat your names here!
4. The Date This part is also very straightforward! Traditional invitations spell out numbers, but more contemporary etiquette practices use numerals.
5. Wedding Ceremony (Time & Location) For houses of worship or specific locations (like a botanical garden or landmark), a specific address isn’t usually required. If you do include the address, follow the same rule as you did for the date—if you spelled out the numbers there, do so in the address as well.
Note: If you’re unsure whether to include the specific address or not, consider whether anyone would be confused about the location. If yes, include it!
6. Wedding Reception (Time & Location) If the reception is at a separate venue, include the address either on the back of the invitation or on a separate reception card. If it’s at the same venue, just note “reception to follow” underneath the ceremony address.
7. RSVP Instructions The common practice for RSVPs is including a separate response card as well as a pre-stamped envelope to encourage a timely response. However, modern etiquette states that it’s also acceptable to let guests RSVP on your wedding website. You’ll also want to note the date you need a guest’s RSVP card back by, generally 2-3 weeks before your wedding.
8. Dress Code This is the wedding attire you expect your guests to follow; whether it’s black tie, cocktail, semi-formal, or beach, it’s best to clarify so no one shows up feeling out of place. If you’re having a unique dress code (i.e. costumed, themed, etc.), you’ll want to include more information on a separate card as well as your wedding website. The more specific your vision, the more in-depth you’ll need to be in your invitation. Make sure to take the venue into account as well when deciding on dress code—if you’re planning to have a beachside wedding, asking your guests to follow a black tie optional dress code isn’t very practical. This information should be included near the end of the invitation, in language that matches the overall tone.
Note There are 5 basic dress codes to choose from: black tie, black tie optional, cocktail, daytime, and beach/destination. Take a peek at our dress decoder and choose the one that feels the most appropriate for your vibe!
9. Accommodation & Transportation If you and your partner are taking care of this, include it on the back of the invitation (i.e. a party bus from the ceremony to the reception). Otherwise, direct your guests to your wedding website and make sure it lists options for accommodation and transport if necessary.
10. Children Invitation etiquette suggests saying “adults only” if you don’t want to have children at your wedding. Clarify on individual invites by addressing them to “John Smith & Jane Smith” rather than “The Smith Family” to ward off any potential confusion.
11. Gifts & Registry Details We don’t recommend putting your registry on your invitations—the proper etiquette for most couples today is including a link to your registry on your wedding website. If you don’t have a website, we suggest adding in a separate card that lists where you’re registered so your guests know where to start!
12. Wedding Website if you have a wedding website, make sure to note it on the bottom or back of the invitation; anything listed on the invitation should be on the website, alongside any other additional wedding weekend events.
Wedding Invitation Wording Samples
Your invitation design will dictate how much information you can include on the invite, so keep all the pertinent info on the front. Anything extra can be listed on your wedding website or on a separate card. Keep the tone and theme consistent so it matches the aesthetic you’re trying to have for your wedding (if you’re having a relatively informal wedding, you don’t need your invitations to look like they’re Queen of England-approved!). Here are a few templates to get you started: