How to Word Wedding Invitations

Getting ready to order your invites?   Remember, consistency is important.  Keep the same fonts, colors, paper weight, and designs for the invite and rsvp.   If you spell out  the time, spell out the date  (and vice versa).    Write in the 3rd person and keep track of your pronouns.    Here are a few common tips and suggestions I make when proof reading wedding invitations.

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-Grammar – It is suggested that you never write your wedding invitation request in first person, (for example – Stephanie Jones and Adam Michaels invite you to join us at our wedding).   But if you do use first person pronouns (I, we, us, our and me), use them everywhere.
Traditionally, invites should be written in the third person, “Stephanie Jones and Adam Michaels invite you to join them at their wedding.   If your parents are hosting, still keep everything in third person.  If using third person pronouns (them, they, their), use them everywhere.

– Honor/Honour-  Be consistent with your usage of “honour/favour” or “honor/favor.” Traditionally the formal, British spelling with the “u” is preferred in proper wedding etiquette but whichever form you choose, use it in both words.    (the honor/honour of your presence – the favor/favour of a reply)

Also, the phrase “request the honour of your presence” is traditionally used for a service held in a house of worship. The variation “request the pleasure of your company” is used for a wedding held in any other location.

Capitalization – You only want to capitalize proper nouns, (person/place), and the beginning of a sentence (or each new thought on an invitation).

  • “corner” as in “corner of Fifth and Main Streets” is not capitalized.
  • only capitalize the first letter of the year: Two thousand twelve
  • day of the week and month are capitalized, but not the date: Saturday, the fifth of June
  • time should never be capitalized: two o’clock in the afternoon

-Zip Codes-  Are not needed on the invitation or accessory cards.  GPS does not need a zip code to find a location.  Zip codes are for the post office when sorting mail.

-Abbreviations-  Spell out your state name.  To be socially correct, all words should be spelled out on invitation, accessory cards, and envelopes.  EX: “Road” instead of “Rd.”, “Boulevard” instead of “Blvd.”, “Indiana” instead of “IN”.
*exceptions:   Mr., Mrs., Ms., Dr., “Jr.” or “Sr.”

-Time-   Please do not fib on the start time of your ceremony.  You are rewarding the late and punishing those that are punctual.  An early start time can be especially annoying if there is extreme temperatures.  Nothing is more annoying that showing up 15-30 min before an outdoor summer ceremony to find out that it won’t be starting for an additional 30 – 60 min because of a fibbed start time.   Those most important to your wedding ceremony should arrive early despite what the invite says.  Your wedding party and family members should be with you before the ceremony starts for photos.

The time should be spelled out and should never be capitalized.
Time, on the hour, should be followed by “o’clock” (Note: lowercase and apostrophe).  Do not use “o’clock” if the time is not on the hour.  Time, not on the hour, should be hyphenated. EX: “two-thirty” instead of “two thirty” or “two forty-five” instead of “two forty five”.   The formal way to write the time is “half after” rather than “half past.”  or “three-thirty”.  (half after three in the afternoon)
Time should  be followed by “in the morning”, “noon”, “in the afternoon”, “in the evening”, or “midnight”.

    • 12:01 a.m.-11:59 a.m. is morning.
    • 12:00 p.m. is noon.
    • 12:01 p.m. – 5:59 p.m. is afternoon.
    • 6:00 p.m.- 11:59 p.m. is evening.
    • 12:00 a.m. is midnight

-The Year-  No “and.”  There is a big discussion about the use of “and” in the year.  Some invitation sites show examples with “and” in the year and some don’t.    Many would argue that the word “and” is used when speaking of money and not the year.  (Two thousand twelve = 2012  and two thousand and twelve = $2000.12)

-Respond Date–   The R.s.v.p. date should be 2 weeks before your final head count is due.   This should give you ample time to track down missing replies.   It should not be more than 4 weeks before your wedding date.  The closer your R.s.v.p. date is to your wedding, the more accurate your guests reply will be.    Also, mail out your invites 3 or 4 weeks before the R.s.v.p. date.  When your guest receive their invites, you  want them to look at the date, check their calendar, and mail it back within 2 or 3 weeks.  If you send out your invites too far in advance, your guests will toss the invite aside or misplace it.  (“Oh, this isn’t for 4 months, I don’t need to look at this yet. ”  *or*  “Oh, this is 4 months away, I can’t think that far ahead.”)

  • Always follow up with missing R.s.v.p.’s.   The post office and mail system is not perfect.  Letters can get lost in the mail.  Don’t assume your guests did not mail in their reply.  Don’t assume your guests are not coming if you do not receive their R.s.v.p. in the mail.  Call and speak to your R.s.v.p.’s missing from your guest list  (don’t email or text),  or leave them a voicemail asking them to reply by a certain date or you will assume they are not attending.
  • Number your R.s.v.p. inserts.   Take your guest list number each social couple.  Number your R.s.v.p.’s with a small pencil number on the back.  When stuffing your invitations, put the corresponding rsvp into the envelope that matches your guest list.  This will help you sort your R.s.v.p.’s as they are returned and make it easy to check off your guest list on which replies you are still waiting on.  More importantly, if Uncle Bob forgets to write his name on the reply card, you can match up R.s.v.p. #15 to Uncle Bob on your guest list.
  • “R.s.v.p.” is capitalized since this is an abbreviation for a French sentence, “Repondez s’il vous plait.” Likewise, since the sentence means “Respond please”, never say “Please R.s.v.p.” since that would be redundant.

– Reception cards –   You will need a reception card if your  reception is at a different location than your ceremony.   The ceremony location and start time is on the invite.  The reception insert will have the reception location and start time.    If your ceremony and reception are at the same location, you may have “Reception to immediately follow” on the invite.  Only use these words on the invite if they are at the same location.

Registries – Don’t mention gift preferences, registry, gift table/card box/wishing well info on invitations–not even on the enclosures.   Doing so makes the gift seem more important than the invitation.   Convey gift preference through word of mouth or on a wedding website.   Save those little registry cards to hand off to your Maid of Honor or whomever is throwing your bridal shower.  Many guests know you are a new couple starting off and will provide money as a gift, no reason to request it.    Also, there are a select number of stores that do wedding registries, many guests can find your registry by searching those commonly used stores.   I realize this subject is a regional one, so ask around for opinions.  If your parents and family don’t believe people will be offended by a registry card, go ahead and add it.

**** Formal Wording ****
http://www.emilypost.com/weddings/wedding-invitations-and-announcements/335-wording-formal-wedding-invitations

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas  Chase
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Mary Lou
to
Mr. Jonathan Stevens
son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Stevens
on Saturday, the twentieth of March
at two o’clock in the afternoon
Saint Joseph’s Cathedral
121 Main Street
Boston, Massachusetts

-Additional Tips-

  • Be sure you order 10-25 extra invites and envelopes for add on’s and errors.  It is much cheaper to order a few extra initially than it is to rush order a few extra later.
  • Before you buy those fancy custom stamps, be sure to take a fully stuffed envelope to the post office to be weighed and measured.  You want to be sure that you are ordering the correct stamp amount for the size of your invite.
    *   Square invites cost more to mail than rectangle
    *   The smallest size envelope for a regular stamp is 3  1/2 ” high and 5″ long.  The largest is 6  1/8″ hight and 11  1/2 ” long.   It can also be no thicker than .007 inch.
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Posted on November 1, 2013, in Stationery and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. As Always, you are spot on with your very helpful advice. Thank you.

  1. Pingback: How to Word Wedding Invitations | Mr & Mrs countrylace's Wedding

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