Wedding Invitation Series 2: What to Write

If you missed the first post in this series, you can check it out here

What to Write for Wedding Invitations

First things first when it comes to the invitation. Decide on the wording. Will it be formal? Traditional? Modern? Quirky? 

In all the fuss about what your invitation suite will look like, don’t forget that it still has to communicate the message. The words of the invitation really are most important part of the whole thing, so opt for ease of reading and easily digestible information. Avoid the urge to be too whimsical and clever.

Consider the setting of your wedding, the attire you want people to wear and make sure that the invitation wording mirrors it in spirit. A laid-back beach wedding can have a more informal tone, but it would be a weird if you used really casual language to invite people to a black tie wedding. 

There are conventions too that you might want to be aware about. For example, if the bride’s parents are hosting—i.e. paying for—the wedding, when deciding what to write for wedding invitations they typically will be worded to reflect this. For example:

“Mr. and Mrs. John Smith
request the honor of your presence
At the marriage of their daughter
Sarah Jane
Michael James
Son of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Blake

Note that the words “request the honor of your presence” is also typically used for religious ceremonies, as opposed to “request the pleasure of your company”. These days, many modern couples who host their own wedding opt to use the phrase “Together with their families” as the opening line. 

Writing your wedding invitations

A wedding invitation card should have no more and no less information than is required to invite people to the occasion—and remember the occasion is the wedding ceremony itself. If not everyone is invited to both the ceremony and reception, you should consider having two separate invitations rather than risking awkwardness and miscommunication.

Traditionally speaking, your invitation should not even have the dress code written on it—it would be on a separate card—so definitely don’t put extra bits on there like registry details (I would avoid having this in an invitation suite at all, its a bit of a faux pas), website links, detailed schedules, etc. If you must send additional details out in the invitation suite (as opposed to putting it on a website or sharing the information by word of mouth), put them on a separate card. That's what all the enclosures are for!

Of course at the end of the day, this is your wedding and your choice as to what rules, traditions and conventions to follow. Many people choose to consult the guidelines from etiquette mavens like Emily Post (always a good idea!), but my honest opinion is that once you know the traditions, you should do what feels right for you and your event. For example, many will say it’s incorrect or impolite not to request RSVPs by mail, but the reality is that many weddings these days have guests coming in from all over the world, and many more details have to be communicated.

I always guide my couples to focus on delivering a clear message. In essence, the invitation should stick to:

Names of bride and groom
(optional: names of parents)
Day, Date
Geographic Location
A single line of what’s to follow

The same is true for all the other enclosures like the response card and any other details cards. Resist the urge to be too wordy (websites are perfect for all the other details you want to include!), and focus only on the essential information. 

Additionally, response cards should also be carefully thought out.

Traditionally you see a card with a “M____________” and it’s really quite confusing to most people. What are you supposed to do? Well, you’re supposed to write your names there. Not really that obvious at all, right?

Instead, I recommend a more straightforward or creative approach. Either request in plain words that they write their names, or write it there for them! Something I’ve done for clients is actually hand-calligraph the invited guests names on each rsvp card to avoid any confusion about who’s invited.

Bottom line is, as you're dreaming up a gorgeous suite and design to set the tone for your big day, don't forget that the invitation serves a purpose: communicating essential information. Keep things clear and eliminate confusion. 


Next up: Customizing your design 


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