Composing the Invitation
How to Say Who, What, Where, When
Entire books have been written on the subject of how to compose a wedding invitation, but here are a few quick guidelines to get you started.
There are many traditions about wedding invitation wording, from formal to casual and anything in between. Depending on your wedding style, you may want to follow them closely or choose to draft a more personal invitation that matches who you are as a couple. We’ve compiled the basics to help you on your way.
To get you started, here are five things to keep in mind:
- No matter how formal or how casual, a wedding invitation must contain the following information in some way: who is doing the inviting; what the event is; where it will be held; and when it will be held.
- The wording of your invitation will depend to a large extent on who is issuing it (whether it’s coming from you and your fiancé or from parents, a family member or friends) and where the event or events will be held.
- Traditionally, the bride's parents issue the wedding invitations, but a bride and groom can also issue their own invitations, or a groom's parents may issue the invitations. Keep in mind that the purpose of the invitation is not to signal who is actually paying for the wedding. For example, if the groom is financially well off and is paying for the entire celebration, the invitation would generally still come from either the bridal couple or one or both sets of parents.
- Weddings at a house of worship are traditionally worded to "Request the honour [or honor] of your presence." If the ceremony is to be held at another location, the invitation line generally reads, "Request the pleasure of your company."
- There are well-established traditions for wording invitations from parents who have divorced. Each spouse is mentioned on a separate line, with no "and" between the lines. Generally, if one or both of the parents have remarried, only the original parents' names are mentioned, although if there is a particularly close relationship between the stepparent and the bride or groom, it would be appropriate to include the new spouse's name.
Before deciding whether to stick with tradition or get creative with your invitation, familiarize yourself with how invitations are usually worded and the types of information they contain. This will help you make sure you give your guests all the information they need without confusing (or even offending) any family members or guests.
Are you ready? Read on for the basics of composing a wedding invitation.
FROM THE BRIDE'S PARENTS, AT A HOUSE OF WORSHIP
This style of invitation is appropriate for a formal wedding in a house of worship. It includes information about both the location of the religious ceremony and the following reception. The bride’s parents are inviting guests to the celebration. Remember, this doesn’t mean they are paying for the wedding, just that they are inviting guests to witness and celebrate the marriage with them.
FROM THE COUPLE, AT A HOUSE OF WORSHIP
This style of invitation is appropriate for a formal wedding where the bride and groom are inviting guests to a ceremony in a house of worship and reception at another location. Neither person’s parents are mentioned as the invitation is coming from the couple directly.
Alternative phrasing would be:
The honor of your presence
is requested at the marriage of
Ms. Anne Melissa Atkinson
Mr. Paul Mohrer etc
FROM DIVORCED PARENTS, AT A SINGLE LOCATION
This wording is appropriate when the divorced parents of the bride are inviting guests to a ceremony and reception held at the same location. Placing the parents' names on separate lines and not linking them with the word "and" signifies a divorce.
FROM BOTH SETS OF PARENTS
This style of invitation is appropriate when the two families wish both sets of parents to be mentioned on the invitation. This does not, however, signify that both sets of parents are hosting the event.
INFORMAL WEDDING HOSTED BY THE BRIDE’S PARENTS
This style of invitation is appropriate for an informal wedding hosted by the bride's parents, with the ceremony and reception at home.
INFORMAL WEDDING HOSTED BY THE COUPLE
This style of invitation is appropriate for an informal wedding hosted by the bride and groom with the ceremony and reception at the same site.
Another approach that is less formal but very personal is to send the wedding invitation in the form of a letter. A beautiful way to do this is to have the letter engraved in an elegant script, then have a calligrapher personalize each invitation with the guests' names. You may want to hand-sign each invitation, as well, for an extra personal touch.