WORDING ETIQUETTE

When it comes to wedding invitations and all their accompaniments, what to say and how to say it has left many a bride and groom wringing their hands in bewilderment. But the process needn’t be stressful or complicated. Remember, each piece in your wedding invitation stationery has its own purpose and communicates a specific set of information to your guests. Following these simple rules will get you headed in the right direction:

 Quick Tips to avoid common faux pas:

  • In ALL cases the names of the hosts should be listed at the top of the invitation.
  • Every invitation card should include:
     - Names of the bride, groom and hosts (traditionally, the parents of the bride)
     - Ceremony day, date, time and location
  • Be consistent. If you spell out the wedding date on the invitation, make sure to spell it out on your reply card as well. If you list the date in a casual way on the invitation, list it in a casual way on the reply card.
  • The term “request honor of your presence” is typically reserved for a church wedding. You are welcome to spell it as either “honor” or “honour.” Just make sure on your reply card you match it with either “favor” or “favour.”
  • If you are getting married outside of a church (i.e. on a beach, in a garden, in a ballroom, etc.) suggested invitation wording would be “request the pleasure of your company.”
  • The word “and” in between two names typically implies that those people are married. Names of unmarried hosts or guests should be stacked.
  • If the wedding ceremony and reception are being hosted in the same location, there is no need for a reception card. At the bottom of the invitation, simply say “Reception to follow,” “Dinner and dancing to follow,” or something to that effect.
  • Spell it out. For your wedding collection, try not to abbreviate anything. It’s a good idea to spell out state names, street information and middle names.

INVITATION WORDING DO'S & DON'TS

  • Do use the correct names for invited guests whenever possible. If you don’t know your second cousin Charlotte's boyfriend’s last name, ask! Using the name will make both Charlotte and her boyfriend feel like the special, honored guests they are.
  • Don’t include registry information on your invitation card or accompanying pieces. Instead, list the information on your wedding web site and communicate it via word of mouth. Not only is it tacky to present this information on your formal invitation, it is presumptuous to ask your guests for gifts.
  • Alternatively, Don’t print “no gifts” anywhere on your invitation stationery, even if you truly prefer that guests not bring gifts. Not only does a message like this presume your guests were planning to give you gifts in the first place, the decision to give or not to give gifts is your guests’ choice, not yours.
  • Don’t include reception information on the invitation card unless both the ceremony and the reception are held at the same venue. When a reception is held at a different location, it should be treated as a separate event, much like the ceremony.  Be sure to include a “reception card” with your invitation to announce the location of the reception.

EXAMPLES OF WORDING:

Traditional and/or formal weddings being held in a church and hosted by the parents of the bride:

Mr. and Mrs. John Francis Smith (Full name of father and mother of the bride)
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Erin Elizabeth (First name and Middle name of the bride)
to
Mr. George William Cruz III (Full name of the groom)

Saturday, the twenty-eighth of March (Date of the wedding)
two thousand and fifteen
at half-past two o’clock in the afternoon

Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception (Place of ceremony)
Mobile, Alabama (City and State only)   

For more formal and/or traditional weddings being held outside of a church and hosted by parents of the bride: 

Mr. and Mrs. John Francis Smith
request the pleasure of your company
at the marriage of their daughter

Erin Elizabeth
to
Mr. George William Cruz III

Saturday, the twenty-eighth of March 
two thousand and fifteen
at half-past six o’clock in the evening
Grand Hotel
Point Clear, Alabama

For more formal and/or traditional weddings being held outside of a church and hosted by both sets of parents:   

Mr. and Mrs. John Francis Smith
and Mr. and Mrs. George William Cruz, junior
request the pleasure of your company
at the marriage of their children

Erin Elizabeth Smith
& George William Cruz III

Saturday, the twenty-eighth of March 
two thousand and fifteen
at half-past six o’clock in the evening
The Smith Home
Orange Beach, Alabama
 

For less formal or non-traditional weddings being hosted by both sets of parents and the bride and groom (there is a myriad of ways to arrange the wording, so feel free to add in your own creativity):

Together with their families

Erin Elizabeth Smith
& George William Cruz III

invite you to share in their joy
at the celebration of their marriage

Saturday, the twenty-eighth of March 
two thousand and fifteen
at half-past six o’clock in the evening
Sacred Heart Catholic Church
Fairhope, Alabama

For less formal or non-traditional weddings being hosted by the bride and the groom:

Erin Elizabeth Smith & George William Cruz III
invite you to share in the celebration of their marriage

Saturday, the twenty-eighth of March 
two thousand and fifteen
at half-past six o’clock in the evening
Bragg-Mitchell Mansion
Mobile, Alabama
   

Special cases

In today’s world, many couples find that traditional wording conventions don’t suit. Here are our recommendations for handling some common special cases.

Divorced parents

Traditional and/or formal weddings being held in a church and hosted by the divorced parents of the bride (include names on separate lines):

Ms. Eleanor Mitchell Smith
Mr. John Francis Smith

request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Erin Elizabeth
to
Mr. George William Cruz III

   

You can use a similar format when one parent has remarried:

Ms. Elaine Mitchell Smith
Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Whitney

request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter...   


WORDING FOR ADDITIONAL PIECES

Wording for additional pieces in the wedding invitation stationery vary widely depending on the couple’s individual style, taste, ceremony and budget. Here, we offer examples of standard wording for popular additional pieces. Remember that you can change words, add or subtract information and rearrange the order of different lines to reflect your wedding’s unique character.

   

SAVE THE DATE

Please Save the Date
Saturday, March 28, 2015
for the wedding of
Erin Smith and George Cruz
Formal invitation to follow

For formal events, you may want to include couples’ full names and host names — You may also include the wedding location and a wedding web site URL   

R.S.V.P CARD

Most formal

The guests are to write in their response in the blank space below. This is a fun way to get more personal and memorable responses, however many people won't take the time to respond.   

The favor of a reply is requested
by the thirty-first of May

(Blank space for personal responses)

 

Most common (you offer a series of checkboxes and lines to direct the information you want):   

The favor of a reply is requested
by the thirty-first of May
Name(s)_________________________________________
________ will attend ________ will not attend

Or…   

The favor of a reply is requested by the thirty-first of May

M_____________________________________________
______ Accepts with pleasure ______ Declines with regret

Entrees
      ___ Filet ___ Alaskan Halibut ___Vegetarian

   

  • You can mix and match how you ask for replies, as long as the wording seems consistent with the invitation. Feel free to mix and match any of the above.
         
  • Note that “the favor of a reply” typically matches the invitation wording “the honor of your presence.” If you used “request the pleasure of your company” or less formal wording on the invitation, the corresponding RSVP wording would typically be “Kindly reply by” or “Kindly respond by.”

         
  • To come up with your RSVP by date, give yourself half the time you give your guests. If you send your invitations out 8 weeks in advance of your wedding, ask for the reply by date 4 weeks from the wedding. If you send the invitations out 6 weeks in advance, the reply by date should be 3 weeks out.

         

INFORMATION CARD

Transportation will be provided to and from the rehearsal dinner, wedding ceremony and reception. Shuttles will depart from the hotel lobby 45 minutes prior each event and return every half-hour each evening beginning at 10 pm.

ESCORT CARD

Mr. Robert Smith
Table 11

or...
Mr. and Mrs. Robert Smith
Table 11

THANK YOU CARD

  • Brides and grooms today typically create personal stationery to match their wedding stationery and use these personal notes to thank their guests. They personalize it with their married names or married monogram (i.e. Susie and Tyler Whitney)

         
  • More traditional thank you cards feature the words “Thank You” on the front flap and are blank inside.

         

Tips for sending Thank You cards

  • For gifts received before the wedding, the general rule is to send thank you cards within two weeks of receipt.

         
  • For gifts received at or after the wedding, we recommend sending thank you notes within a month of receiving the gift.

         
  • Mention the gift by name.

         
  • For monetary gifts, do not mention the exact amount. Instead, thank the guest for the “generous gift.” - Give an example of how you are or will use the gift.
         
  • If the person also attended your wedding, thank them for coming.
             

Rehearsal Dinner

We recommend sending invitations to the rehearsal dinner three to six weeks before the event. This invitation is much less formal, and there are a number of ways you can word this depending on the formality of the dinner. Some suggestions are below:

Mr. and Mrs. George Cruz
request the honor of your company
at the Rehearsal Dinner honoring
Erin and George
on the eve of their marriage
Friday, the twenty-seventh of March at 8:00 pm
Kitchen on George

RSVP 619-XXX-XXXX

or...
You are cordially invited to attend
the Rehearsal Dinner honoring
Erin and George
March 27th 8:00 p.m.
Kitchen on George
Mr. and Mrs. George Cruz, junior
RSVP 619-XXX-XXX