The Invitation Breakdown: What Information to Include on Each Line

sample wedding invitations

Image source: Shrine Invitations

Wedding invitations might be the thing that finally sends you over the edge during planning. From choosing fonts and layout to picking your favorite design and color, wedding invitations are full of choices. The wording on invitations is also full of choices, as you can go traditional or trendy. However, it’s always best to stay socially correct. Here’s the breakdown of what to include on each line.

The Host Line

Traditionally, the host line starts with whomever is hosting the wedding, usually the bride’s parents. If the bride’s parents are married, go with “Mr. and Mrs. Smith”. You can include the husband’s first name if you wish. The first line traditionally says, “Mr. and Mrs. Smith request the pleasure of your company at the marriage of their daughter.”

Of course, there are many ways to request the presence of the guests if this wording is too formal to fit your wedding. Instead you can say, “request the honor of your presence,” “invite you to join,” or “invite you to the union of.” Places of worship usually call for the formal wording, while casual venues often lend themselves to more informal invitation wording.

While traditionally the bride’s parents are introduced first before the couple’s names, it isn’t necessary to follow this rule. If you want to include both sets of parents before your names, you can put each on different lines separated with “and,” which is also on a separate line:

“Mr. and Mrs. Smith

and

Mr. and Mrs. Jones.”

If parents are divorced it is best to separate the names without “and” in between them. Step-parents are often included, as long as they are listed after the birth parent on each line. If a parent is deceased but you wish to include them, say, “Wilma Smith and the late John Smith.”

There are some family situations where you just do not want to include the parents’ names. In this instance, you can simply say, “Together with their families Miss Mary Elizabeth Smith and Mr. Adam Alexander Jones.”

If you choose to follow tradition exactly, your invitation host line should look as follows:

“Mr. and Mrs Smith

request the pleasure of your company at the marriage of their daughter

Mary Elizabeth Smith

to

Alexander James Jones

son of Mr. and Mrs. Jones.”

However, as mentioned previously, you can customize this for something less formal or more suited to your event.

The Bride’s and Groom’s Names

This is your day, so you get first billing on the grand marquee. If you want to go traditional and formal, go with the full names. However, these days it is just fine to simply go by your first and last name. It’s up to you. If you’re more formal, say, “Mary Elizabeth Smith and Adam Alexander Jones.”

If you are a same-sex couple, the person mentioned first should match the first set of parent’ names listed above, while the second person listed will match the parents below. (If that is how you’ve organized your invitation, of course. If both parents are listed before the engaged couple, simply be sure to match the order.)

Date and Time

The traditional formal way to state the date and time is on separate lines:

“Saturday, the tenth of June

Two thousand seventeen

Seven o’clock in the evening.”

Some couples do not include the year. Of course, if you aren’t on board with the traditional feel, you don’t have to write everything out. You don’t need to put AM or PM if you say morning or evening, but this is another decision you can make for yourself.

Location

One important thing to remember about this line is that you do not need to include an address. These days most people use navigation systems, and/or you can include a separate part in the wedding invitation with a map or address. Traditionally the format of these two lines is as follows:

“First Baptist Church

Dallas, Texas.”

If there is a certain room inside the venue where you will be getting married you can include that on a separate line as well

“Westin Hotel

Grand Ballroom

New York, New York.”

Give the people direction without an exact address. If you do choose to include an address on an informal invitation, you do not need to include a zip code. However, only when mailing things is an address truly needed.

Additional Details

Many times, a reception or dinner goes without saying, but it’s customary to inform your guests of the next step of this party! You can include “Reception to follow” or “Join us for cocktails following the ceremony.”

This is also the place to tell guests if there is a dress code. If you request black tie or casual attire, it’s a great place to state this so that they don’t show up wearing a polo shirt to a black tie event or a dressy tuxedo to a casual wedding where guests are dressed in jeans. Some people even simply state, “Black tie optional” for convenience. It’s good to know what kind of wedding to expect so that guests can know whether they’ll need to eat before, how to pack, and whether they’ll need babysitters into the early hours of morning.

Never Include

The invitation is a place where you state the facts in a formal way. It isn’t a place to talk about your registry, where to put wedding gifts, or mention your wedding website. All of these things can be done on a separate invitation insert sent along with your formal invitations. The RSVP is sent on a separate piece of paper with a stamped envelope. It is not customary to include anything about an RSVP on the invitation.

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