Wedding Invitation Etiquette

Etiquette
Wedding Invitation Etiquette

 
 
With so many gorgeous wedding stationery options on the market today, you might think that picking a suite will be the hardest part of the process… that is, until you tackle the question of what exactly to write on those invites.

Whose name comes first? What’s the proper etiquette? Is there a correct wording you’re expected to use? What about complicated family situations?

The good news is that many couples today are customising the traditional wording for themselves, finding creative solutions that reflect their personalities and wedding styles, so there are no wrong answers. But if you’re going to go the traditional route, there are some basic questions to consider before you begin.

Who is hosting the event?

In the past most weddings were hosted (and paid for) by one set of parents and since the invitation was sent from these hosts their names appeared first. If you are lucky enough to be in the same situation today then you would write the invitations as follows:

Mr. & Mrs. Joseph Brady
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Sydney Carol
to
Richard McGuire

or

Mr. & Mrs. Lucas Marcus
request the pleasure of your company
at the marriage of their daughter
Elizabeth Marcus
and
Jason Zimmerman

Note the change from “request the honour of your presence” to “request the pleasure of your company” – there is an explanation of when to use which one of these is later in the article.

Wedding Invitation Etiquette - Addressing Invitations from Bride's Parents

There are many modern alternatives that are less traditional but can still set a formal tone. For example:

Mr. & Mrs. John Zimmer
invite you to join the celebration
of the marriage of their daughter
Jenna Zimmer
and
Jason Andrews

Wedding Invitation Etiquette - Addressing Modern Invitations form Bride's Parents

You might also include all the parents:

Mr. & Mrs. Harrison Linden
request the pleasure of your company
at the marriage of their daughter
Morgan Taylor Linden
to
Zachary Parker Reyes
son of Mr. & Mrs. Edwin Reyes

However, with many couples now paying for their own weddings, this is no longer so straightforward. You may still like to acknowledge a financial contribution by saying:

Together with their parents
Kathryn Olivia Dupont
and
Stephen Amos Meyer
request the pleasure of your company at their marriage

or

Together with their families
Bettina
and
Milo
invite you to witness their marriage

Wedding Invitation Etiquette - Adressing Invitations Together with Parents

Wedding Invitation Etiquette - Addressing Invitations Together with Families

Alternatively, you could show that you are the hosts with wording such as:

Angie Taylor and Billy Norelli
invite you to join us
at the celebration of our marriage

or

Ashley Meyer
and
Ephraim Byrne
invite you to their wedding

Of course, depending on whether you are after a formal and more traditional invitation or you’d like something fun, quirky and modern, there are almost unlimited variations to how you can address an invitation from the bride and groom. It really is up to your imagination!

Wedding Invitation Etiquette - Addressing Invitations from the Bride & Groom

Wedding Invitation Etiquette - Addressing from the Bride & Groom

What type of ceremony is it?

Standard etiquette calls for the phrase “request the honour of your presence” if the ceremony will be held in a place of worship. For a secular ceremony, use “pleasure of your company” instead.

Wedding Invitation Etiquette - Request the Honour of Your Presence

Wedding Invitation Etiquette - Request the Pleasure of Your Company

How should the couple’s names be written?

Formal etiquette would have the couple’s full names used, including second names and a title for the groom. Nowadays, most couples simply use their first and last names, but the bride still usually goes first.

Note: if your parents are named on the invite and you share a surname with them, there’s no need to repeat it a second time. For example:

Mr & Mrs John Peterson
request the pleasure of your company
at the marriage of their daughter
Jane
to
Maddox Walters

When and where is the wedding?

Keep details relatively simple (full details and directions can be included elsewhere), but be sure to include date, time and venue for the both ceremony and reception.

Variations

A wedding hosted by both sets of parents:


Mr. & Mrs. Joshua Rall and Mr. & Mrs. Sean Gallagher
request the pleasure of your company
at the marriage of their children
Alyssa Chiemi Rall and Stephen Michael Gallagher

Wedding Invitation Etiquette - Addressing Invitations from both Parents

A wedding hosted by divorced parents:

Mr. Jeff Saito and Mrs. Jane Clarke
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Elizabeth Saito
to
Joshua Kennedy

A wedding hosted by divorced and remarried parents:


Mr. & Mrs. Joshua Rall and Mr. & Mrs. Henry Nakagawa
request the pleasure of your company
at the marriage of their daughter
Alyssa Chiemi Rall
to
Stephen Michael Gallagher

Note: the bride’s father and stepmother’s names are usually written first followed by the bride’s mother and stepfather.

You could also include all parents (yes as long-winded as it might be):

Mr. & Mrs. Jeff Saito and Mr. & Mrs. Henry Nakagawa
request the pleasure of your company
at the marriage of their daughter
Alyssa Chiemi Nakagawa
to
Stephen Michael Gallagher
son of Mr. and Mrs. Sean Gallagher

Again, the bride’s father and stepmother’s name would normally be written first even though in the above example the bride has taken the surname of her stepfather.

Wedding Invitation Etiquette - Adressing from Remarried Parents

Wedding Invitation Etiquette - Adressing from Remarried Parents and Groom's Parents
 
 
Invitations by Wedding Paper Divas
 
 
So that covers the basics of what to write on your wedding invitations. Next week in Part II of Wedding Invitation Etiquette we’ll be covering RSVP Cards and Information Cards along with Gift Registries and Wishing Wells.

Until then, Happy Planning!

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