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Etiquette for How to Write Wedding Invitations

Wedding etiquette is an important part of wedding planning.  It provides a guideline for the proper use of wording on your wedding invitations, and a clean and understandable way to convey information to each guest.  Etiquette is merely a guideline for tradition, and not a hard fast rule. 

A bride and groom should take proper wedding etiquette into consideration when planning their wedding, but remember to always do what is most comfortable for them in the end. 

Remember that there are no silly questions when it comes to etiquette  - there is typically an answer and a rule to just about every detail in your wedding. 

 
Dissecting The Wedding Invitation Language

When writing a wedding invitation, you will want to have the following information listed, in the order shown…

invitation
request
event
date
time
location
reception

The Invitation Line
The invitation line will list who is hosting (paying for) the wedding.

The Request Line
This is where you will request the guest’s presence at your event.  Remember, if you are using the traditional wording, “Request the honor of your presence”, honor can be spelled as “honor” or “honour”.  “Honour” is the British spelling of the word, which is considered to be more formal.

The Event Line
This is where you indicate that the invitation is for a wedding, and list the names of the couple to be wed.

The Date Line(s)
If the date is formal, you will want to write the date in long form, rather than short.  Be sure to carry the formality of the written date on your reply card as well.

The Time Line
Indicates the time of day that the couple will be wed.

The Location Line(s)
List the location of the event by giving the name of the location, street address and city/state.  You do not need to list the zip code, and it is improper to do so.

Reception Information – Optional
Should the reception be held at the same location as the ceremony, you would follow the above information with “Reception to follow” or “Reception immediately following”.  If the reception is at an alternate location and time, you will list this separately on a reception card instead.

 

Wording Your Wedding Invitation

The way you word your wedding invitation will depend upon who is hosting the wedding, whether it is the bride’s parents, the groom’s parents, a collection of the two or simply just the bride and groom.  Believe it or not, the way you word your wedding invitation indicates who is hosting (paying) for your wedding.

Parents of the Bride Hosting…

Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Jacob
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Kelsey Marie
to
Mr. Bryan William Scott

 
Parents of the Bride and Groom Hosting…

Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Jacob
Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Scott
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of their children
Kelsey Marie
and
Bryan William

 

Bride and Groom Hosting…

Kelsey Marie Jacob
and
Bryan William Scott
request the honor of your presence
as they unite in marriage


Divorced Parents of the Bride Hosting…

Mrs. Katherine Jacob
Mr. Ronald Jacob
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Kelsey Marie
to
Mr. Bryan William Scott

*Note – when listing more than one host, you do not include the word “AND” between the lines, as this indicates marriage.

 
Writing Your Wedding Date
 

Formal Wedding Date

When writing out the date formally, you should first list the day of the week, followed by the calendar day, month and then year on the following line.

example:

Saturday, the sixth of September
Two thousand and thirteen

OR

Saturday, the sixth of September
two thousand and thirteen

*Note- Capitalizing the “T” in “Two” is a matter of personal preference for the bride and groom.  Also, you may list “and” in the year or discard it – either is correct.

 

Informal Wedding Date

When writing the date for an informal or casual wedding, it is acceptable to write the wedding date in year form, but most also include the day of the week.

example:

Saturday, September 6, 2013

OR

Saturday, September 6th

 
Writing Your Wedding Time
 

Use the following timeline for indicating which time of day your event will be held…

Morning                 12:00 AM – 11:59 AM
Afternoon              12:00 PM –   5:59 PM
Evening                   6:00 PM – 11:59 PM

 

Formal Wedding Time

When writing the time out for a wedding, you can only use whole or half hours – there are no quarter hours or three-quarter hours.

 example:

at half past four in the afternoon
at four o’clock in the afternoon

 *Note, if you are getting married at 4:15, you should list the wedding time as 4:00 PM.  However, if you feel you must list the quarter hour time, you can list it as “at one-quarter past four in the afternoon”.


Informal Wedding Time

When writing the time for an informal or casual wedding, you may list everything in numerical time, and quarter hours are acceptable.

example:

4:00 PM
4:00 p.m.

*Note, if you are using capital letters for AM or PM, periods should not be used.  The only time that periods should be used is when you use lower case letters for the time, “a.m.” and “p.m.”

 
Consistency

One of the keys to clear and concise wedding invitation information is consistency.  If you begin by writing out your words, dates, abbreviations, etc. you should continue this throughout your entire wedding ensemble.  For example, you would not want to abbreviate the state on your invitation if you were writing it out on your envelope.  Or, you would not want to write out the date on your invitation and then use the numerical date on your reply card – as they would not match.