So you've set the date, booked the venue, found some beautiful wedding stationery, and now it's time to set all of the details in stone, or at least, paper. Wording on a wedding invitation is a lot different to your typical Facebook event invite or Whatsapp message. In fact, in the day and age of rarely sending a paper invitation, there's quite a bit of wedding invitation etiquette to follow, order to abide by and essential details to include.
All invitations are different, but generally speaking they should all cover the following details:
- Who is hosting
- Who is invited - children's names should also be included if they are invited
- The name of the bride and groom
- The location, date and time
- Whether the invitation extends to the ceremony, reception or evening party
- Reception information
- Dress code (leave off if no dress code)
- Instructions on how and when to RSVP
In addition to the name, date and time, see our guide on the other details you must include on your wedding invitations.
Step 1: The Hosts
All wedding invitations typically begin with listing who is hosting the event. Hosting in this respect means who is paying for the event, and so the hosts, traditionally, are the bride-to-be's parents. For a formal affair, you may want to use similar wording to this:
'Mr and Mrs John Sinclair request the pleasure of your company at the marriage of their daughter, Caroline, to Mr David Smith'
If your parents are divorced, you can list them separately on your invitation like this:
'Mr. John Sinclair and Mrs. Swift request the pleasure of your company at the marriage of their daughter Caroline, to Mr David Smith'
These days though, both sets of parents tend to pay for the wedding, or even the couple themselves foots the bill. So if it is more of a collaborate effort, you can cleverly cover off everyone in one sentence.
'Together with their families, Caroline and David request the pleasure of your company…'
'Miss Jennifer Tolley and Mr Robin Murray request the pleasure of your company at their marriage'
Step 2: The inviting part
It may sound obvious, but your invitations should include a sentence that actually invites your guests to your wedding. Formal examples include:
'request the pleasure of your company'
'invite you to celebrate the marriage of'
'would love you to join them to celebrate'
Step 3: The Bride and Groom's names
Just like the wedding day, you and your partners names should be the star of the invitation. It's tradition to list the bride-to-be's name first, then the grooms. For same sex couples, you could opt to list the names in alphabetical.
'Caroline Sinclair and David Smith'
If you are sending a formal invitation hosted by the bride's parents, it is tradition refer to the bride by her first and middle name, followed by the groom's full names and title.
'Mr and Mrs John Sinclair request the pleasure of your company at the marriage of their daughter, Caroline Margaret, to Mr David Smith'
Step 4: Location
Your ceremony location should be listed first, followed by the relevant time. If the reception is set to take place at the same venue, you can indicate this by saying 'reception to follow'. If you're reception is at a different location, you will need to list this afterward on a different line, and also indicate a time if it is no immediately following the ceremony.
'St James the Great Church, Worcestershire, dinner and dancing to follow at Colwall Park'
Step 5: Date and time
While you may shorten the date and time in most parts of your daily life, it is customary for wedding invitations to spell everything out in full, including numbers. For example:
'Saturday, the twenty-fifth of August, two thousand and eighteen at two thirty in the afternoon'
Step 6: Dress code
It is customary to list the dress code of a wedding, either within the main body copy or in the top right hand corner of the invitation.
Dress codes can include:
- Black tie
- Morning dress
- Cocktail attire
- Summer suits
- Smart casual
See our guide to wedding dress codes for what they mean.
Step 7: RSVP
Most wedding stationery will come with an RSVP card option to include with your invitation. If this is the case, you just need to include the card with the invitation. If RSVP is via online, you then need to indicate this along with the website address.
Wedding invitation wording example
'Mr and Mrs John Sinclair request the pleasure of your company at the marriage of their daughter
Caroline Margaret, to Mr David Smith
At Colwall Park, Worcestershire
On Saturday, the twenty-fifth of August, two thousand and eighteen at two thirty in the afternoon.
Reception to follow
Black tie dress code
RSVP at www.carolineanddavidwedding.co.uk'