Okay girl, after you’ve had a cocktail (or two) to celebrate your engagement, it’s time to start planning your wedding – let’s start with your wedding invitations. Today, I want to share with you what you should include in your wedding invites … and what you shouldn’t include. Forgive the pun.
I hope to be helpful in creating the perfect wording for your invitations, carefully worded, full of charm and a pinch of formality (if your event calls for it).
In today’s article you will learn two very simple concepts:
- The basics of what you need to include in your invitations
- And what (you should) not include in your invitations
What you should include in your invitations
Who hosts your wedding, are they your parents? You and your boyfriend? According to etiquette, the invitations are formally sent by the bride’s parents, regardless of who hosts the event. However, there may be some circumstances in which someone else is hosting the event.
If you want to follow etiquette, follow these tips.
Who hosts the wedding – Parents of the bride
“Mr. and Mrs. Rossi
require the pleasure of your company
at their daughter’s wedding
Maria and Giacomo Verdi”
Who hosts the wedding – Both parents and couple
“Together with their families
Maria Rossi and Giacomo Verdi
require the pleasure of your company
at their wedding “
Who hosts the wedding – Bride and groom
“Maria Rossi and Giacomo Verdi
request the pleasure of your company at their marriage “
The names of the bride and groom
“Should I write the groom’s name first?” This is a question I am asked most often, along with many others.
According to etiquette, if the bride’s parents hosts the event and the bride has the same last name as her parents, you can only use her name (including middle name). (Adding the last name again is repetitive.) However, if the bride’s parents have different last name (for example, if they are divorced), include the bride’s full name: first, middle and last name.
If you intend to organize a formal and traditional celebration, the groom’s name is written in full: first, middle and last name. Yes, the groom’s name should be written first. If you plan on having a formal, traditional celebration, his full name should be preceded by “Mr.”.
If the bride or groom doesn’t like their middle names, don’t use abbreviations. It is better to completely omit middle names rather than shorten an initial.
If the bride and groom are hosting the event (alone or together with their families), use both of their full names.
In the case of a very formal style wedding, avoid using only first names. You know, juuuuust in case the recipient knows more than one Maria, Barbara, or Gloria.
Date and time
Formally, the date should be spelled out in full.
You can add “in the afternoon” or “in the evening” after the time. However, you can omit this information as it is usually clear that the event takes place later in the day. The exception to this rule would be a wedding held during the morning hours, for example at eleven o’clock.
“Saturday 21 September
Two thousand nineteen
at half past three”
If your wedding is more informal, you can use numbers.
Include the name of the place and the city, the state if yours is a destination wedding. Entering the address is optional, but it can be an additional courtesy for your guests. You can omit the address if a map or card with directions is included, as it would be considered repetitive.
You must include the address if the wedding takes place in a private residence, there are many guests out of town, there are two places that share the same name in your city and if it is a destination wedding.
If the ceremony and the reception take place in the same location, you can add “reception to follow” in the last line of the invitations.
While the dress code suggestions are reserved for a separate card, you can include them in the main invitation if you do not want to use a separate card. If you decide to list it in the main invitation, go to the lower right corner.
Keep in mind that the dress code suggestions included in the main invitation should be short, for example white-tie, black-tie or semi-formal.
If you have more specific suggestions (eg comfortable shoes for an outdoor wedding), include those details on a separate detail card.
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Every month I add new resources. Currently you will find several guides dedicated to invitations: where I explain how an invitation is composed, and some tricks for not having extra guests, how to calculate how many invitations you need, how to make your guest list.
I’ve written a guide with some tips on how to deal with invitations during the pandemic: this will save you from wasting your prints, or perhaps having to reprint your invitations.
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What you shouldn’t include in your invitations
Events for adults only or “no children”
I have nothing against adults-only wedding and reception, but it’s important to be aware of the words we will use to avoid hurts your guests.
Anyway, you should never enter these details in the main invitation of your wedding suite. Enter these details on your wedding website.
Another option is to address the envelopes only to parents. Additionally, you can add a line in your RSVP ticket that says “We have reserved _ seat (s) in your honor”.
Details of the registry
You must definitely let your guests know if you have a wedding registry. It is useful information, but it should only be said verbally (if they ask) or on your wedding website. Putting these details into invitations or any part of them (such as a separate postcard) could be impolite.
Finer details are best conveyed in small fragments that are easy to read, so recipients are able to read and absorb the details easily. So, if you have more information about the wedding, include a note with the wedding details rather than putting them on the main invitation.
Many couples book a block of hotel rooms at a discounted rate for out-of-town guests. If you decide to go this route, share these details on a separate note – it’s very useful and can be included in your suite.
If the ceremony and your reception are located in two different locations or if there is a significant time gap between the two events, add a reception ticket to your suite.
Driving directions or a map
As a courtesy to guests, you could include a postcard with directions or a map if the location is difficult to find or if you have many out-of-town guests.
A wedding website is a great place to inform guests of additional information, such as local attractions, weather, logs, etc. If you have a wedding website and want to share it with your guests, a wedding website postcard will be a great help for them to keep handy.