Wedding invitation suites can be formal, informal, simple, elaborate, sophisticated or quirky. As a bride you have many pre-wedding decisions to make, and this is a big one.
Every invitation MUST have the following:
The couple. The date & time. The location. An RSVP option.
Typically, invitations include many more details beyond the must haves. So how do you know; What to say? and How to say it?
Take note of The Anatomy of a Wedding Invitation Suite!
Not every wedding is the same, and neither should wedding invitations. Beyond the must-haves, some couples include:
a. Theme and style
b. The host(s) names
c. The request
d. Reception information
g. Additional details/Inserts
(a) THEME & STYLE
Discuss with your fiancé or ask yourself:
“Do we have a theme or style we are going for?”
“Is our wedding formal or casual?”
“Is our wedding traditional or non-traditional?”
Once you have the answers to these key questions you can search for a wedding invitation suite that fits your theme and style.
(b) NAMING YOUR HOSTS
Holy, yikes! This is the challenging part of every invitation, but you want to do it right. Traditional invitations start by naming those issuing the invitations or paying for the wedding. Traditionally this is the bride’s parents, but today it can be a partnership between both sets of parents, just the groom’s family, or even completely financed by the couple!
Evolving family structures and varying financial dynamics make this part of the process complex. Various format options are below in the How to write it section. Be sure to select the best one for your own situation.
(c) THE REQUEST
This isn’t the request for a response or RSVP, but a request to ask your guest(s) to be in attendance on your special day. For example, “request the honor of your presence,” or “invite you to join us in the celebration of our marriage.”
Request lines indicate your venue, however, this is not a rule you are required to live by.
Place of Worship, Request the honor of your presence…
Informal Ceremony, Request the pleasure of your company…
(d) RECEPTION INFORMATION
Traditionally this information (i.e. location, time, etc.) is found on a separate insert inside the wedding suite, not on the actual wedding invitation. I still recommend a reception insert for a formal and/or traditional wedding. However, if your big day is a more casual affair, including the reception information directly on the invitation is okay.
If you want a third option, include on your invitation reception to follow – then on the reception insert list the details.
(e) THE DRESS
Formality of your event is sometimes hard to figure out by your invitation suite and most people need you to state the obvious – if you don’t want to state “black tie” on your actual invitation, maybe put it on another inserted piece or mention it on your wedding website.
(other dress code options: casual, themed, semi-formal, formal, black-tie optional, black tie)
You definitely want to include a response card. Response cards should state a deadline for RSVPs and a place for the number/names of guests attending.
Some response cards give the option of a meal selection.
Going green or nontraditional? Have an insert give the details of where to respond online!
(g) ADDITIONAL DETAILS & INSERTS
Inserts can be playful and fun while giving your guests all the information they may need for your big day. Some insert recommendations:
accommodations (hotel block and contact information), travel options (will you have a shuttle for your guest post reception?), directions (to ceremony and reception), wedding website information, or wedding related events (i.e. brunch)
While inserts are spectacular, do not just throw them all in the envelope with the invitation. This could lead to pieces and details being missed by your guests. The most common suggestion is to not have more than 3 loose pieces. Think of alternative ways to put your set together. (i.e. folder style envelopes with pockets, bands, additional envelopes)
How to write it
THE BRIDE’S PARENTS ARE HOSTING
Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan Ralph Tucker
If they have different surnames, an “and” joins them – Ms. Elizabeth Joyce Doris and Mr. Jonathan Ralph Tucker
THE GROOM’S PARENTS ARE HOSTING
Mr. and Mrs. Michael William Hupley
If they have different surnames, an “and” joins them – Ms. Sophia Jane Parker and Mr. Michael William Hupley
Mention them after the groom’s name. If they are co-hosting the wedding, add them after the bride’s parents’ names – Mr. William Dane Hupley the son of Mr. and Mrs. Michael William Hupley
THE COUPLE IS HOSTING
Together with their families Miss. Katherine Joyce Tucker and Mr. William Dane Hupley…
List the names on separate lines without an “and” between them. In this situation, the mother always comes first. If mom is remarried, use her married name.
If a remarried parent has a different surname from his or her spouse, put the birth parent first. If you must break the line, do it before the “and.”
Traditionally, step-parents are omitted; however, this is your big day and you can add them if you decide to.
Traditionally, deceased parents are not included on the invitation. I heavily disagree with this. If you chose to put a deceased parent on your invitation the wording should make it clear that the parent is not issuing the invitation. Titles are also omitted.
The pleasure of your company is requested at the marriage of Katherine Joyce Tucker daughter of Jonathan Ralph Tucker and the late Elizabeth Tucker to William Dane Hupley.
MIDDLE NAMES AND TITLES
Formal: I recommend the usage of both.
Informal: You don’t have to use middle names or courtesy titles. A more casual affair can use one or the other, or neither.
- When titles other than Mr., Mrs., Ms., or Miss. are used – spell them out (i.e. Doctor)
- Work titles always outweigh social titles. If a name on the invitation is listed with Doctor, that name goes first.
On both your invitation and response card.
Formal: Spell it out
- Saturday, the twelfth of July, two thousand ten
- Kindly respond by the first of June
Informal: You don’t necessarily have to spell it out
- Saturday, July 12, 2010
- Kindly respond by June 1
Formal: The date and time should be spelled out on your wedding invitations, but never capitalized.
“O’clock” is only used when your ceremony time begins on the hour.
- at two o’clock in the afternoon
- at half past three in the afternoon
Informal: The date and time can be used in numerical form.
Saturday, May 12, 2012
at 2:15 p.m.
Time not on the hour should be hyphenated.
- twelve forty-five
Time should always be followed by in the morning, in the afternoon or in the evening.
- 12:01 a.m. – 11:59 a.m. = morning
- 12:00 = noon
- 12:01 p.m. – 5:59 p.m. = afternoon
- 6:00 p.m. – 11:59 p.m. = evening
The year should always be spelled out on your wedding invitation. The correct spelling of the year is two thousand twelve. There is no “and” between thousand and twelve, and there is no hyphen between two and thousand.
- two thousand twelve – correct
- two thousand and twelve – incorrect
- two-thousand twelve – incorrect
Formal & Informal: Spell it out! (i.e. Street, Avenue, Boulevard, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
Whatever method you choose, stay consistent. Showcase your theme and style through your invitations. Be sure to research your options before purchasing & if you are struggling, take a moment away, and remember a glass of red & a to-do list should get you through.