The dreaded wedding invitation wording… (or not so dreaded if you are a fabulously creative and confident writer type). For most of us though, wedding invitation wording can be slightly intimidating, but the reality is that it doesn’t have to be.
Actually the idea behind wedding invitation wording is pretty simple. Let’s face it, what you’re really trying to do is let people know that two totally awesome people are getting married and that they should show up on a certain date, time, and place to participate in a super fun party with all of their family and friends!
So, how do you go about wording this message about the super fun party? It’s pretty easy. First announce “who” is getting married and “why”, and then give out all the details about the “what”, “when”, and “where”. (Remember third grade and the 5 W’s? Same principle applies here)
Here’s an example of very basic (but effective) wedding invitation wording:
are getting married
Please join us on may thirty-first
two thousand and ten
at 2 o’clock in the afternoon
The Super Fancy Country Club
123 Fantasy Lane
Perfectville, New York
Reception to follow
Now, this seems easy enough. Why all the confusion??? I’m sure you’re thinking right now “What about mentioning the parents?”, “Should I write out the numbers, or just use regular numbers?”, “Should I write something cutesy and creative?”, “Should I include our middle names? Our last names?”
Ok, these are all valid questions. Let’s answer a few of these.
1. Mentioning the Parents
So, traditionally the rule is, whoever pays gets mentioned. In my very humble opinion, I don’t believe that it is necessary to follow tradition for traditions sake and you might want to think this one through a bit.
Here is an example of traditional invitation wording with the bride’s family paying for and/or hosting the wedding:
Mr. and Mrs. Tom Jones
invite you to attend
the marriage of their daughter
Young Handsome Gentleman…
It’s true, this is traditional and pretty, but I don’t think that just because somebody may be footing all or part of the bill that it is necessary to mention them your wedding invitations. It’s your wedding so you have final reign over how the invitations will be worded. HOWEVER, with that said, the person footing the bill may feel very differently and may want or expect to be mentioned. If you have any doubts about this, my best advice would be talking it out with the parties involved and asking them if they would like to be mentioned or not in order to avoid drama. It is *your* wedding, but let’s face it, there are lots of people involved in this besides just the bride and groom, and because they’re human (and probably family), their feelings matter too.
For more discussion and wording ideas on the parents hosting tradition, view our parents hosting wording ideas page.
2. Writing out the numbers versus *actual* numbers.
The main reason people write out numbers is pretty simple – it looks better. Take this example:
|Please join us for the celebration on
November 5th, 2009
the Colgate Divinity School
|vs.||Please join us for the celebration on
November fifth, two thousand and nine
at three o’clock in the afternoon
the Colgate Divinity School
When you write out the numbers it just gives more balance to the text and design. Again though, this does not need to be the rule and it’s best to test this out on your wedding invitations. Invites with a modern or retro feel may look waayy better when you use the actual numbers and can even add to the aesthetic, so give it a try.
3. Including middle names and last names
First names only is casual. First and last is more formal. Again, no hard and fast rules here, but use some common sense. Are you inviting only 25 of your closest friends and family? If so, including last names is optional since everybody already knows who you are. Are you inviting 250 long lost relatives and friends of your parents who you don’t even know? Definitely include last names (otherwise people might be totally confused).
As for including the middle names, it’s really a preference for formality and cuteness factor. It’s up to you (hey- when else do you actually get to *use* your middle name??). It’s pretty common to omit the last name of the bride or groom and just use the first and middle if the parents have already been mentioned (and hence the last name). For instance if Mrs. and Mrs. Tom Johnson invite you to witness the marriage of their daughter, you can just say “Sarah Marie” instead of “Sarah Marie Johnson”. This can get kind of sticky with divorces or when parents have different last names, etc. so use your judgement!
4. Getting cute and creative
Alright, this is the fun part if you want to tackle it. In the modern era of weddings and wedding invitations there is no reason why you can’t get super creative on your one big blowout party day. We’ve got an entire page devoted to this topic so feel free to check out our guide on creative wedding invitation wording.
We’ve also put together guides on wording that mentions just the bride and groom and wording that includes everybody. Please take a look and feel free to plagiarise the heck out of them!