Etiquette for Wedding Invitation Wording

Curating your invitation designs is undoubtedly one of the most exciting parts of planning a wedding! But while browsing through various typography, colour schemes, and motifs tends to stimulate us creatively, many people get stuck when it comes to the wedding invitation wording.

Although this element may seem straightforward at first, you may find yourself in a rut once you get down to the nitty gritty process of choosing what information to include. There are several factors to consider when deciding what information is most relevant, so we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to help you streamline this process.

Must-Have Details on Your Wedding Invitation

The Hosts

Traditionally, the parents of the bride would pay for and host the wedding on behalf of the couple. That being said, their names would be listed at the start of the invitation.


“Mr. John and Martha Smith

request your presence

at the marriage of their daughter…”

However, you may wish to include the names of the grooms’ parents as well, regardless of who is covering what costs. This is perfectly fine, but listing the names of the bride’s parents first is proper etiquette for formal occasions.


“Mr. John and Martha Smith

and Dr. James and Jane Doe

invite you to celebrate with them

at the marriage of their children…”

Note that the word “and” between two names on the same line indicates that those people are married. If you happen to have divorced parents, you’ll want to keep their names on separate lines.


“Mr. Michael Post

and Ms. Sarah Shaw

request your presence…”

It is also becoming increasingly more common for couples to pay for and host their own weddings, or co-host alongside their parents. In this case, you could forgo the use of the parents’ names altogether. If you’d still like to mention their contributions, you could start with a line such as “together with their parents.”

A Cordial Request

This is the line where you explicitly ask your loved ones to attend your wedding.

There are a number of ways to word this request according to the style of your wedding. Here are some samples: 

Informal –

“would love for you to join them”

“look forward to partying with you”

“invite you to celebrate”

Formal –

“request your attendance”

“request the pleasure of your company”

“request the honour of your presence”

Note that the phrase “honour of your presence” would traditionally indicate that the ceremony will be held in a church or other religious venue.

This request should be followed by a description of the event, such as “at the marriage of” or “as they tie the knot.”

The Couple

If the couple has not already been named, now is the appropriate time to do so.

Traditional etiquette lists the bride’s name first and refers to her by her first and middle names. The groom follows and is referred to as his full name, or first and middle names.

If only the bride’s parents’ names were listed as the hosts, the groom’s name should be followed by “son of Mr. and Mrs. John Smith.”

You may opt to state first names only if you’re having an informal event, or your full names do not fit on the invitation template.

Same sex couples can list their names in alphabetical order, or choose whichever order sounds best.

Date and Time

For a formal wedding invitation, write the date and time in words instead of numerals.

Timestamps on the hour should be followed by “o’clock,” while half hour timestamps should be read as “half after… o’clock.” Rather than writing “am” or “pm,” write “in the morning,” “afternoon,” or “evening.”

Note that evening time begins at five o’clock, and do not include the word “and” when writing the year.

Example: two thousand twenty-two

Informal weddings have the freedom to use whatever format best suits their invitation style!


If your event is being held in a public place, it is customary to state only the venue name on the invitation. However, you may want to include the city and state if it is taking place outside your local area.

If the wedding will occur in a private home or another hard-to-find location, feel free to list the street address. However, zip codes are usually omitted.

Optional Information to Include

Reception Details

Typically, the final line on a wedding invitation will read “reception to follow” or “reception afterward.”

However, include this information on a separate reception card or detail card if your reception will be held later in the day and/or at a different location. This will prevent your invite from being cluttered with information.

Reception cards are also very helpful if you will not be hosting all of your ceremony guests at the reception.

Be sure to specify if your guests should dress formal, black tie, casual, or according to a specific theme. This detail can be included on the invitation in smaller print or on a separate wedding detail card.

RSVP Details

The contact information and deadline for your guests to RSVP to the wedding is usually included on a separate RSVP card.

However, you may wish to include this information on a wedding detail card if the RSVP will not be done by mail. While it is unconventional, you can also include this information on the invitation if necessary.

Create Your Wedding Invitations with Ease

Creating a beautiful wedding invitation that will impress your loved ones doesn’t have to be complicated.

Timberwink Studio carries a variety of elegant modern design templates that are easy to DIY at home! We also offer matching designs for the rest of your wedding stationery needs to keep the theme consistent throughout your celebration.

If you’re in need of some more inspiration for your wording, check out our wedding invitation wording examples page.

Looking for something uniquely tailored to your vision? Enquire about our custom design service!



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