Invitation Etiquette

Invitation Etiquette

Invitations should be ordered well in advance so you can send them out six weeks before the day (you can send save-the-date cards up to six months in advance if you like).

They should be in the name of the bride's parents or whoever is hosting the wedding. The exact wording of them depends on who that is.

If the bride's parents are acting as hosts: Mr and Mrs John Sinclair request the pleasure of your company at the marriage of their daughter, Caroline, to Mr David Smith at St Paul's Church, Ewell, on Saturday 15th September 2005 at 3 o'clock and afterwards at Trumble Hall, Lymington, Hampshire. Have the RSVP address printed in the bottom left-hand corner of the invitation.

If the bride's parents are divorced and her mother has remarried: Mr John Sinclair and Mrs Patrick Cook...

If the bride's parents are divorced but her mother hasn't remarried: Mr John Sinclair and Mrs Barbara Sinclair...

If the bride's mother has remarried and is hosting the wedding with the bride's stepfather: Mr and Mrs Patrick Cook request the pleasure of your company at the marriage of her daughter Caroline. The bride's surname can be added if you think that would be helpful.

The names of guests should be handwritten in full in the top left-hand corner of the invitation: Mr and Mrs John Smith. Or, for a family: Mr and Mrs John Smith, Robert and Susan.

If you would like your guests to wear evening dress, have 'Black Tie' printed at the bottom, withthe RSVP address. If you  include an RSVP card in an envelope, you're more likeley to get prompt replies.

Traditionally, guests used to contact the bride's mother to find out if there was a gift list. Many brides now find it practical to include a slip of paper with the invitation saying, A gift list has been placed at..., with a website and contact number.


  • How should the invitation be worded if the mother of the bride is a widow? Advice would be very gratefully received.

    • m.o.b.
    • 09 November 2009
    • Reply
  • my parents are divorced and my mother has remarried. my mother and step-father are helping to organise my wedding but my father will also need to be mentioned on the invitations. any advice on how to word this? thanks

  • Hi Laura Thanks so much for getting in touch with Brides! We have a regular 'planner' in each issue of the magazine with tips on wording for your invites. I've had a look and although we don't have a suggestion for your individual situation, this format should be acceptable: (let's say your stepfather's name is Robert Cook, and your father's name is John Smith) Mr and Mrs Robert Cook & Mr John Smith Request the pleasure of your company at the marriage of Mr Smith and Mrs Cook's daughter Laura Smith Hope that helps and thanks again for contacting Brides

  • Hi m-o-b, Thanks for getting in touch with Brides. I think the best way to word it is simply: *Your name* requests the pleasure of your company at the marriage of her daughter XXX to XXX. Regarding the name that you use, it's whatever you feel the most comfortable with at present (there are no rules and no specifically correct way). So you can either go for *Mrs name & married surname* OR *Ms name and married surname* OR *Ms name and maiden name* (if you have reverted back to this). You could also speak to your stationery company as they will have possibly dealt with this before and they might have a more experienced answer. Alternatively, contact a renowned traditional stationers, such as Smythson of Bond Street (020 7629 8558) or The Wren Press (020 7351 5887) - who will both have experience in this too - as well as how to address your rsvp cards and so on. I hope this helps. All the best and have a wonderful wedding! xxx

  • I will soon be sending out the wedding invitations to my daughters wedding. What is the etiquette vis a vis sending a formal invitation to her fiances parents?

  • Hi - Thanks for your comment. If the parents of the bride are hosting the wedding, then as a matter of courtesy, an invitation should be sent to the groom's parents – as well as the Best Man, bridesmaids and other attendants. Hope that helps. The Brides Magazine Team

    • Brides
    • 12 April 2010
    • Reply
  • Hi, My husband to be and I would like to (as politely as possible) inform our guests within the invitation that there will not be a gift list but that we would appreciate monetary contribution to us setting up home. Would you have any wording suggestions please? Thank you! Christine

    • Christine
    • 15 April 2010
    • Reply
  • perhaps you could request home improvement vouchers or vouchers for stores such as house of fraser and debenams places like that

    • Natalie
    • 06 June 2010
    • Reply
  • My parents are paying half towards the wedding and my fiancee's parents are also paying half - does this mean both sets of parents are 'hosting' the wedding? Do I need to mention both sets of parents on the invitations? Please help I do not want to offend my fiancee's parents if they should be mentioned?

    • Jennifer
    • 06 March 2011
    • Reply
  • My dad has received an MBE this year and im not sure what the etiquette is for the invitations? They are hosting the wedding and were not sure where the MBE bit goes as it is my dad that has the honour not my mum. Many thanks

    • Phoebe
    • 15 March 2011
    • Reply
  • The grooms parents are paying for the wedding but the brides parents want both sets of parents names on the invitation and all the replies to go to the brides parents. Shouldn't the invitations be sent from the bride and groom and the replies sent back to them. What do you think?

    • Parents of the bridegroom
    • 16 May 2011
    • Reply
  • Hi, my fiance's parents are paying for our wedding. My parents are contributing a much smaller amount (the maximum they can afford) to our wedding, and, being quite traditional, they'd like the invitations to come from both sets of parents. My fiance's parents don't want their names on the invitation, but would be equally upset if the invitations were worded as coming from just my parents. My parents would be upset if the invitation was worded as coming from the bride and groom, as it means a lot to them to see their eldest daughter get married and would be upset if their names were left off the invitation just because my fiance's parents don't want their names on it. Is there a way of wording it to keep everyone happy??

  • Hi Jodi - I have seen 'together with their parents, bride and groom invite....' I think that would be a good option for you - your parents-in-law to be are putting you in quite a difficult position.

    • Rach
    • 21 June 2012
    • Reply

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