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If you are an engaged couple beginning the process of ordering your wedding stationery, you may have noticed that wedding invitations come with a lot of options.  Not just designs, colors, wording and price point, but the pieces that make up a suite.  What do you need, what must be included and then there are always a lot of questions about etiquette and wording.

When working with semi-custom and custom clients, a big part of the design phase is spent on the etiquette and wording so today I thought that’s what I’d talk about with you.  Having some knowledge going in will help you feel more empowered when it’s time to pick your perfect invitation suite.

The Kendall Wedding Invitation Suite - burgundy, blush and navy floral corners

The Breakdown of Wedding Invitation Wording

The host line

This is the opening line of most invitations where the host(s) requests the presence of the guest.  Every situation is different so this may be the bride’s parents, the groom’s parents, both sets of parents or even the couple.  Generally the host is whomever is paying for the wedding.

The request line

This line goes along with the host line and the wording that specifically states the guest’s presence is requested.

For a more formal, church wedding this line would be something like “request the honor of your presence”.  Both “honor” or “honour” is acceptable though adding the “u” is typically reserved for weddings taking place in a house of worship.

For less formal weddings ,”joyfully invites you” or “cordially invites you” can be used instead.

Keep in mind that your wedding invitation should match the formality of your wedding, both in design and wording.

The couples names

The names of the two people getting married are typically accented on their own lines.  This allows the names to stand out or be highlighted more than the rest of the invitation.  If the bride’s parents are hosting the wedding and are listed in the host line then the bride’s name does not have to include the last name.  First and middle names only are appropriate.

If the last names are different, it is ok to include both last names.

Date and Time

It is proper for wedding invitations to include the date and time written out (Saturday, the nineteenth of October, Two thousand twenty-five at half past four in the afternoon).  Remember, if the time of the wedding is before 5pm, it is afternoon; after 5 pm it should be evening.

The Location

The location line of the wedding invitation should include the full, proper name of the ceremony venue with its full address.  You do not need to include the zip code but be sure to include the street address, city and state.

Your invitation is for your ceremony so if your ceremony and reception are at two different locations, you would only include the address for your ceremony.  The reception details and location would need to be included on a separate card. 

If the venue is well known or your guests are mostly locals, you could get away with just including the name of the venue or just the venue with the city and state but whatever option you choose, be sure you take your guests into consideration and how easy it will be for them to find your venue.

Reception Line

Whether your reception is at the same location as your ceremony or somewhere else, it is proper to add a line at the bottom of the invitation that says “reception to follow” or something similar.  The purpose of this line is to indicate to your guests that there will be a reception after the wedding ceremony.

If the ceremony and reception are at the same venue, you could say something like “reception immediately following”.  If you prefer to be more specific, you would also say something like “dinner and dancing to follow” or “cocktail reception to follow”.  Another favorite is “come for the love, stay for the merriment”.  

Attire Line

This is one line that most couples skip but most guests actually really appreciate.  This lets guests know what to expect when it comes to attire so they don’t under dress or over dress.  If there is no attire line, most guests typically default to a semi-formal dress (Sunday best).  

Hopefully this helps you understand the wording that makes up the wedding invitation.  In a future article we’ll take a look at the RSVP card, reception card and details card.  Until then, if you have questions about wedding invitation suite wording, leave a comment below.

what's included on a wedding invitation