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Sending out your invitations is one of those milestones in the lead up to your wedding day that makes your impending nuptials feel real. Once your family and friends can hold that card in their hands, the countdown really begins!

In the past, wedding invitation wording was fairly straightforward: The bride’s parents request your presence, the names of the bride and groom followed, the ceremony location was listed, dates and times were spelled out, and guests were invited to attend the reception that followed. This is a great option, but modern brides may want to inject some creativity and personality into their invitations, and there’s plenty of room for that. After all, the invitation will hang on refrigerator doors and be pinned up on cork boards of invitees all over the country for months, so why not make it stylish, special, memorable, and all your own?

The way your invitation is worded will work hand in hand with the design elements you choose. If you want to make a splash with a large font or highlight the names of the bride and groom to-be, you might want to keep your wording somewhat minimalist. If you need room to include both sets of parents or want to use personal or humorous text, perhaps your design elements will play more of a supporting role. What’s important is that you make the card your own.

Let’s look at the text of a wedding invitation line by line so you can decide which traditions you feel work for you, which rules you want to break, and how to best represent the celebration of your love in those few short lines that will appear on your invitation.

The Host(s)

The traditional way to begin a wedding invitation is to name the hosts of the wedding, who are traditionally the bride’s parents. However, who you name as your host is completely up to you. You and your fiancée may be contributing to the cost of the wedding and therefore be considered hosts, or you may simply wish to honor all of the parents, regardless of who is footing the bill. Another option is to eliminate the idea of a host altogether.

Some examples:

Mr. and Mrs. Peter Brennan Request the pleasure of your company

Mr. and Mrs. Peter Brennan and Mr. and Mrs. Geoffrey Thomas request the pleasure of your company

Together with their families Ariel Brennan and Bradley Thomas Request the pleasure of your company

Or simply:

Ariel and Bradley Are getting married!

Or:

Please join us for the wedding of Ariel Brennan and Bradley Thomas

If a parent has passed away, there are also graceful ways to include him or her in the celebration:

Ariel Brennan, daughter of Mr. Peter Brennan and the late Mariel Brennan, And Bradley Thomas, son of Mr. and Mrs. Geoffrey Thomas Request the pleasure of your company

If parents have divorced and one or more has remarried and you wish to include any step-parents as hosts, you are welcome to do so; simply use a different line for each of the couples.

Peter and Melissa Brennan And Mariel and Jim Woods And Geoffrey and Marsha Thomas Request the pleasure of your company

In other words, there is no wrong way to announce your hosts!

The Request

The purpose of the invitation, of course, is to ask your loved ones to attend your wedding, and again, there are many ways to do so. The traditional “request the honour of your presence” (using the British spelling of “honor”) has been used in the past to indicate a religious ceremony, while “request the pleasure of your company” traditionally designated a secular one. Currently, of course, you are free to use any request language that feels right to you. Some inspiration:

Peter and Melissa Brennan Invite you to share in their joy at the nuptials of Ariel Ashley and Bradley Aaron

Peter and Melissa Brennan And Geoffrey and Marsha Thomas Invite you to celebrate with their children Ariel and Bradley

If you are in a very modern mood, it is possible to dispense with the formal request—after all, it is implied that you are requesting your invitee’s presence given that you have sent them an invitation!

Ariel and Bradley Are getting married! June 12th 2018 At the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens

The Names of the Bride and Groom

Traditionally, the bride is first. When her parents are the hosts, her first and middle names are included, and the groom’s full name is used along with his title. However, there really is no way to mess up the way you style your names—they’re your names, after all!

Examples:

Mr. and Mrs. Peter Brennan Request the pleasure of your company At the wedding of their daughter Ariel Ashley To Mr. Bradley Aaron Thomas

Together with their families Ariel Ashley Brennan and Bradley Aaron Thomas Request the pleasure of your company

Please join us for the wedding of Bradley Thomas and Ariel Brennan

Ariel and Bradley Invite you to celebrate their marriage

The Ceremony Information

Hopefully these lines are straightforward and come without too many decisions. You, of course, want to name the date, time, and place where your ceremony will take place. Placing the day before the month gives a more formal feel, as does spelling out any numbers involved. Any combination of spelling out or numerals will work, however, and may be determined in large part by the style and design of the card.

It is generally unnecessary to include the street address of the venue unless it will take place at a private residence or its omission would otherwise leave guests wondering where they should go.

Mr. and Mrs. Peter Brennan Request the pleasure of your company At the wedding of their daughter Ariel Ashley To Mr. Bradley Aaron Thomas Friday June Fifteenth, Two Thousand Eighteen At two o’clock in the afternoon Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Together with their families Ariel Ashley Brennan and Bradley Aaron Thomas Request the pleasure of your company Friday 24 June, 2018 at 2pm Brooklyn Botanic Garden Ariel and Bradley Invite you to celebrate their marriage June 24th 2018 Two o’clock in the afternoon 635 Douglas Street Media, Pennsylvania

The Reception Information

Here’s the part your guests will really be looking forward to: the party, where you will be feeding them delicious food and hopefully providing them with champagne and other beverages of choice. If you wish to convey a very formal feeling, you may include a separate card for the reception information. Many couples choose to include reception information directly on the invitation, provided that space allows. When the reception will be held at a venue separate from the ceremony, its information should be included on the next line. Verbiage such as: Followed by dinner and dancing Reception to follow Dinner and dancing to follow at… is common, but again, you can get creative.
Together with their families Ariel Ashley Brennan and Bradley Aaron Thomas Request the pleasure of your company Friday 24 June, 2018 at 2pm Brooklyn Botanic Garden Reception to follow Together with their families Ariel Ashley Brennan and Bradley Aaron Thomas Request the pleasure of your company Friday 24 June, 2018 at 2pm Brooklyn Botanic Garden Party to follow at 7pm at Casa Leon Together with their families Ariel Ashley Brennan and Bradley Aaron Thomas Request the pleasure of your company Friday 24 June, 2018 at 2pm Brooklyn Botanic Garden Casa Leon: Reception 7pm

The Dress Code

The dress code, if there is one, should appear in the lower right-hand corner of the invitation. If you choose not to include such information, your guests will infer the sort of gathering you are holding from the venue along with the wording and feel of the invitation (which is why it’s so important to get it right!) and will dress accordingly.
Black-tie required Black-tie optional Black-tie invited Please wear red!

The RSVP Card

It is customary to include a separate RSVP card with your invitation along with a preaddressed and stamped envelope. The card should include the date by which you’d like guests to RSVP, the option of “accepts with pleasure” or “regretfully declines” or similar wording, along with meal options. Alternatively, you may include a card with your wedding website’s URL if you prefer to have guests RSVP online.

Let Paper & Posh Create Your Perfect Wedding Invitation!

Paper & Posh is the Main Line’s premiere destination for custom wedding invitations that make an impact. Let us help you find the design, style, and wording that really speak to your relationship and the festive spirit of your day. Our invitation specialists will answer all your questions and make sure your wedding invitation is everything you hoped for!

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