When you start thinking about wedding invitations, it’s easy to veer from excited to overwhelmed and back again. Figuring out your wedding invitation wording is all about figuring out what the rules are… and then figuring out how you want to strategically break them (kind of like all wedding planning, amiright?!).
In reality, wedding invitation wording is a place where you might want to get creative… but not TOO creative. No matter what beautiful form they come in (old fashioned snail mail, email, on a balloon, sent by a flock of pigeons, unrolled as a poster), they still need to convey some basic information. Who are you? What are you doing? When and where are you doing it? How you share that information can express anything from your values, to the kind of wedding you’re going to have, to your artistic taste. But wedding invitation wording still is, in its most basic form, a simple means of passing along information. Nothing more, nothing less. (So tell your mom to calm down.)
Because of that, the conventional structure of wedding invitations can be a helpful starting point. Here is a general outline of how the wedding invitation often breaks down, with specific examples to follow.
WHAT TO INCLUDE IN YOUR WEDDING INVITATION WORDING, LINE BY LINE
THE HOST LINE: The first line of the wedding invitation is where you list who’s hosting the wedding. In times past, the bride’s family always hosted (and paid for) the wedding. Thankfully, those days are done. Hosting the wedding is, in the end, a (mostly meaningless) honor that you get to choose how to pass out. Both (or all) your sets/singles of parents can be listed as hosts. If you have five sets of parents and you want to list them all—go for it. One set of parents might be listed as hosts. You can host the wedding yourself, in which case the lines are reversed “Terry and Renee invite you to…” or the host line is omitted entirely. You can also make the host line more general “Together with their families.” There are two issues worth noting here. Firstly, no matter who says what in the course of guilting you, the host line on the wedding invitation isn’t for sale; it’s an honor that you should bestow in a way that makes you feel comfortable. Names are not listed in order of who paid more (or who paid at all). And secondly, this particular honor is generally only used for the living (since these people are, ostensibly, inviting you to a party). A common way to honor the dead is to alongside a member of the couple’s name as “Renee Smith, daughter of Beth Smith,” or “Renee Smith, daughter of Iris Milfrid and the late Beth Smith.”
THE INVITATION LINE: This is where you actually invite people. “The honor of your presence” is traditionally used to denote a religious service while “The pleasure of your company” is used to denote a nondenominational one, though you can use any phrasing you want. This is where you actually ask people to join you, so feel free to set the tone with anything from “Invite you to share their joy as…” to “Want you to come party with us when…”
THE NAMES: This line seems self-evident until you start thinking about the details. Whose name goes first? (That honor traditionally belongs to the bride, but what if there are two brides? Or all grooms? Or you just don’t want to do it that way?) Will you list both last names, or one last name, or no last names? Will the names be on the same line or different lines? There are no right or wrong answers (though I’m partial to listing everyone’s last name), but several good questions.
THE ACTION LINE: What are you inviting people to share in? Traditionally, with the bride’s parent’s hosting, this line read something like “At the marriage of their daughter,” but your line might read “At the celebration of their marriage,” “As they exchange vows of love and commitment,” or “As they finally tie the knot.”
THE INFORMATION: This is the one line where I strongly advise you to stick to the basics, since you want people to actually come to this thing. Time, date, and location should all be listed (though the address does not have to be, assuming it’s otherwise easy to find).
THE PARTY LINE: (obviously everyone’s favorite line!) What’s coming after the wedding? This is both your time to get celebratory and your time to give guests a solid idea of what to expect. If you’re not serving a full meal, this would be a great place to say “Cake, punch, and revelry to follow”; this line could also say “Dinner and dancing immediately following,” or inform them of a gap of time or location change, “Party to follow at 7pm at Delfina.” You can also use this line to just get creative and set the tone for the celebration. “Wild celebration to follow,” “Confetti and magic to follow,” “Join us for an intimate dinner following…” Here, the sky really is the limit.
WHAT WEDDING INVITATION WORDING DID YOU USE? IF YOU HAD TO DO IT AGAIN, WOULD YOU MAKE ANY CHANGES? PHOTOS OF YOUR INVITATIONS FOR CUTE BONUS POINTS (WE KNOW Y’ALL HAVE GOOD TASTE).