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Wedding Invitation Wording: How to make your invitation sound less stuffy

Wedding, Tips/TricksLisa AiharaComment

I googled "wedding invitation wording" like a gajillion times and looked at countless websites when I was writing my own invitation. There are a lot of etiquettes associated with the wedding invitation suite because it's one of those traditions we still hold onto from the good 'ole days of correspondence and word smithing. 

At the same time, in the modern world there's a lot more wiggle room. If you know your family won't bat an eye for breaking some rules and having a little fun (a wedding is a party, after all), here are some ways to add personality to your words so it sounds less pinkies-up and more like YOU.

Invitation

The formality and etiquette of the invitation wording surrounds giving credit to the host of the party (i.e. the person with the wallet) who is inviting the guests to the wedding. Today, a lot more couples are paying for the bulk of their own wedding, but still receive some help from family members, making this "giving credit" a little trickier because it’s more of a team effort. Some examples of how to address the host, depending on who's hosting:

Together with their families/parents

Together with Mr. and Mrs. [BRIDE'S] And Mr. and Mrs. [GROOM'S]

Mr. and Mrs. [BRIDE'S]

After introducing the host of the party, the invitation should also do its real job—do the actual inviting, and list the couples' names. This is a fine line to straddle, because if you're too cutesy or clever, you could leave the guests wondering if the instructions are more complex than it needs to be. I mean, you're just asking them to come, so no need to get too frilly with it.

If the couple is part of the host party, the name would go before the inviting line, and if there’s another host, the couples’ names would go after.

Couple not hosting:

request the pleasure of your company at the marriage of their children/daughter
request the honor of your presence at the marriage of their children/daughter
invite you to celebrate the marriage of
invite you to celebrate the love and friendship of

[BRIDE] and [GROOM]

Couple hosting:

[BRIDE] and [GROOM]

invite you to witness two families become one
invite you to celebrate their
marriage / love and friendship / union
invite you to enjoy free food and booze
invite you to witness two families become one

Extra: if the parents aren’t hosting but you’d still like to honor them by mentioning them on the invitation, you can address the couple as daughter/son of the parents like so

[BRIDE] daughter of [PARENTS’ NAMES] and [GROOM] son of [PARENTS’ NAMES]

Another tricky part of invitations is the start time. You want them to get there on time, but putting a start time WAY earlier than when you would walk down the aisle could miff those early-bird guests who will plan on getting there much earlier than the time indicated. Anything before 4pm would be considered afternoon, and after 5pm should be evening. Make sure to talk to your wedding coordinator about what to list here! (while we’re on the topic, if you don’t have a wedding coordinator, GET ONE, even if it’s just for the month-of. Trust me, you’ll thank me later. Ok back to invitation wording. But seriously, get one.)

on [DATE - spell out date, month, year]
at [TIME - four in the afternoon, four o'clock,
4:00pm, etc.]

Then of course, the venue. I tend to like to put the address too, but in a more formal/pretty way which means no zip code and the state spelled out:

[VENUE NAME]
[VENUE STREET ADDRESS]
[VENUE CITY], [VENUE
STATE]

Last but not least, it's always good practice to include that there is a reception after the ceremony—even though most will assume that it's there. Some fun ways to say that:

Reception to follow
Dinner and Dancing to follow
Merriment to follow

So say a couple is hosting but still want to mention their parents and want to do something fun with the inviting and the reception line, it might go like this:

Together with their families

Eleanor Astrid Williams Daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Wiliams
and
Nicholas Oliver Colt Son of Dr. and Mrs. Jason Colt

invite you to enjoy free food and booze
on the third of November two-thousand and eighteen at half past four in the afternoon

Huron Substation
2640 Huron Street
Los Angeles, California

Merriment to follow


RSVP

Another place you can have fun with wording is your RSVP Yes/No options. The "accepts with pleasure / declines with regret" could sometimes feel overly formal, and make your guest feel super guilty for saying no (which isn't to your favor if you're secretly hoping that you know, the guest count is lower. Like, OF COURSE you would be sad they weren't there but wouldn't cry about one less head to be charged for cake cutting. Just sayin'). Set the tone with wording like below:

Delighted to join
Sending good wishes

We'll meet you at the desert/on the beach/garden
We'll celebrate from afar

Let's do this
Sad to miss it

Ready to party
Sitting it out

Save me a seat
Let's chat another time

See you down the aisle crocodile
Catch you later alligator


Details

The details enclosure card can get tricky because this is the area where there's a bit of finesse that is required for some delicate info and requests, like a potentially freezing outdoor reception, adult-only reception, we want money not gifts—the list goes on. The trick is to be very honest about why you're doing it, instead of trying to spin it as a positive (no "my greatest weakness is that I'm just TOO organized!" here). Here are some ways to be crystal clear, but still classy about some common details.

Dress warm 

Weather can be quite tricky out on the (insert environment here) and we will be dining outdoors to enjoy the view. We'll try our best to heat the area, but please make sure to dress warm in case the temperature dips as the night heats up.

Adult-only

So that every guest can enjoy the evening and take some time off letting loose, we ask that your little ones stay behind for the night. We hope that the advanced notice allows you time to make arrangements as needed.

Give us money

We are so fortunate to have everything we need in our home to start our life together, and you giving us your time to celebrate with us is gift enough. However, if you still wish to honor us with a gift, we have listed a small select items on our registry, or we ask you consider making a contribution to our savings fund for [INSERT LIFE GOAL HERE - buying a new home, remodeling home, trip of a lifetime for honeymoon, etc.]


Hope that helps as you craft your wedding invitation wording! Remember, a wedding is a party that you're throwing for your loved ones, so they should see YOU reflected in it—in both design and wording!

If you're looking to get custom wedding invitations designed, shoot us a note and say hi!

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