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

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.


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


Couple hosting:


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:


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
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


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


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.


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!


Wedding Invitation Timing: How to figure out when to send what


Knowing when to send out your wedding stationery could be tricky. There are lots of "rules of thumbs" out there and etiquette, but every wedding, guest list, and couple are different... how is one to know when the right timing is? I like to approach it by backing out of the wedding date with the understanding of what needs to happen to get there, instead of starting from the beginning.

The table to the right is the quick cheatsheet for the formula that I use with my wedding clients.

So let’s break down why this works the way it does.


RSVP Due Date

The RSVP due date depends on a few things, but is typically 2-3 weeks before the wedding. I always recommend talking to your wedding coordinator and caterer to see when final headcounts are due, as well as allow yourself enough time to figure out the seating chart. And of course, you may need to give yourself some time to track down stragglers if you KNOW that your guests are prone to forgetting things like, I don’t know, letting you know whether they’re coming to the most stressful dinner party of your life (people, right?). This means that in some scenario, you may even need 4-6 weeks before the day to get the RSVPs in.

Wedding Invitation

Now that you have the RSVP due date (which will go on your invitation so make sure that’s nailed down!) you want to figure out then in-home delivery date for your wedding invitation. This is one that people tend to forget, but just because you SEND your invitation on a certain date, doesn’t mean all guests are going to receive it on that date. To allow for the post office to deliver, as well as for guests to actually check their mail (I mean, I can tell you right now that I only check my mail like every 3-5 days), account for a week between actually sending and delivering the invitation.

So, between the invitation getting into the guests’ hands and the RSVP due date, you should give folks 4 weeks. This tends to be the sweet spot—any longer and guests think, “Oh I have SO MUCH TIME, don’t need to do it now!” but any less and guests can feel overwhelmed by the looming deadline.

In other words, the invitation should arrive at folks’ mailboxes 4 weeks before the due date, which means you want them at the post office 5 weeks before the due date. Make sense?

Save the date - 6-8 months

Last but not least is the Save the Dates. The rule of thumb here is that when you have a venue and date confirmed, you’re ready to send out these suckers—which usually happen 8-12 months prior to the wedding day. No need to be really structured with this guy, it’s by definition just a heads up. You don’t even need to send to your entire guest list, just folks you couldn’t live without if they weren’t there. And these days, between you and your excited relatives, the word of your date permeates pretty quickly. It could, however, serve as a great “filter” to let members of big families know who should expect an invite and who shouldn’t, so it’s not a surprise later.

Extra credit: Are you planning destination wedding?

The timeline can shift a bit if you’re planning a destination wedding, or more than half of your guests will be traveling in. Allow more time for both yourself and your guest, because arranging travel could be tough, and you may have to make more calls to see if Grandma from across the country will be able to make the trip over.

You can also use this extended timeline if you know your caterer/coordinator needs the RSVP earlier, you’re planning a wedding around the holidays (again, travel is tough), or your wedding invitation send out date falls near a holiday.

Extended Timeline

RSVP due date: WD - 6 weeks
Wedding invitation in-home date: RSVP - 4 weeks, or WD - 10 weeks
Wedding invitation send date: RSVP - 6 weeks, or WD - 12 weeks
Save the Date: WD - 8 months


Invitation Enclosure Card Sizes


Size is everything.

I mean, look I know that that's not really what you want to hear , but when it comes to invitation enclosure cards it's true.

Whether you're looking to design your own or are getting a custom suite designed, understanding the different enclosure cards and the reason behind those sizes could really help out as you go through the design process. So let's break it down, shall we?


Main Invitation

This one is pretty standard at 5x7 in, and this is pretty much the golden rule. This is because it is the perfect size for making sure all your details can fit onto the card, but still not considered oversized when mailing it out usin ga A7 envelope. You can usually keep it within the weight limit for regular mail, so that you can use standard postage too (Forever Stamps are your friend).

© Lauren Mihae Photography

© Lauren Mihae Photography

With that said, we've done weddings with a long rectangular invite or a quadfold that was slightly smaller—our suggestion though, is that the reason for deviating from this size should really make a design statement. The different sizing could make things a little more complicated, so it should definitely be worth doing it!

Details Card

The Details card is an important one because this is where you can communicate to guests things like information about your registry, transportation, directions, etc., which would otherwise not fit in the main invitation. If you just simply wanted to list a few details like your website, we would suggest the A6 size, which is 4.5x6.25 in. Since that's a standardized size (notice that it even has a name!) it's a lot easier to find pre-cut paper for those planning on printing yourself, and it's a nice size that really tucks right in when stacked with the main invitation.

But say you had a lot of information or planning to do a map, then sizing up to a 4.75x6.75 in would ensure that none of the smaller details would get lost.

© Tiffany Wu Photography

© Tiffany Wu Photography


If you were going the more traditional route with a return envelope enclosed for the RSVP card, the standard is 3.5x5 in since it fits the little 4-bar envelope folks usually use. But this is a rule that we love to break.

Have you thought about making your RSVP card into a postcard? This allows you more space to play with, and eliminates the need for an envelope. You can also have additional room to collect information from your guests, like if you were having a weekend wedding with lots of festivities you can get their attendance for every Sunday brunch or Friday night yoga, and even note important guest information like repeating that it's an adult-only reception (a little reminder goes a long way). It also allows you to have fun with the back of the postcard, where you can do a fun design like a quote you both love or ask for more recommendations on song choices, message for the couple, etc.


Whether you're going traditional or funky, enclosure sizes are something you may not immediately think about but has a huge impact on the scope of your project. Make sure to ask your designer about size suggestions, or research the paper you want to print on if you're doing it yourself!

Wedding Invite Size_pin.jpg

MOH Series - #2 Where do we start with the planning?

Hey there my little wedding planners. Hope that you enjoyed the first post in this series, where I got you to start brainstorming with your soon-to-be-spouse on what's important to you.

Once you've got your priorities, your "feeling," and those guide posts in place, there are different paths you can take to get to your destination. Remember, wedding planning is just a huge scavenger hunt. The first step is booking a venue and setting a date, so start by understanding what’s most important for you, and then the decisions thereafter will just follow. Here are some example paths that you can take.

Priority: Must love setting

If the environment is what’s most important, think about the 5 adjectives you set, and what venue will help to set the tone. Scour through wedding blogs and filter based on aesthetic keywords like modern, rustic, ranch, beach, etc. to get ideas:

  • Make a list of all the venues that caught your eye. Check out not only their website, but try to find REAL weddings that were done there. Remember, some photographs of weddings may just be styled photoshoots and not an actual wedding. Look for photographers who have worked there before and check out their portfolio.
  • Maybe your perfect venue is out of state. Make sure you hire either a planner that's local to you who have done a wedding at that venue before, or specializes in destination weddings. They'll likely have contacts that are out of state so they can help you coordinate all the vendors
  • If venue has a required caterer, make sure that the price per head is reasonable, so you can make room in the budget
  • Understand their rental policies. Décor does a lot to set the scene, so ask if they lock you into a rental company or if you're able to bring in furniture, props, etc as you want.
  • Hire a great photographer to capture your perfect setting. Refer back to photographers who have shot there before, or one that has a lighting style that you're looking for
  • Your date is the availability of your venue + photographer!

Priority: Food. Food. Food.

Feeding guests is a big part of the wedding, and if this is your priority it helps to filter a lot of things. This was our case actually, and "good food" even made it to the 5 adjectives that are important for our wedding. So what does that mean? Here are some ways to get started:

  • Many venues force a caterer onto you. If this is a deal-breaker, and you have a particular caterer you wanted to work with and bring in, this will filter out the venues super quickly
  • If you're open to the caterer at a venue, make sure from the get-go that the venue gives tastings. Believe it or not, not all venues provide this option and some make it super hard for you to taste their stuff
  • Ensure that the venue has kitchen facilities to accomodate an outside caterer; if they have to build something out, that could get expensive depending on what you want to serve
  • Meet with a lot of caterers! You'll be surprised too how many restaurants would actually do a wedding. If you have a local eatery you both love, try hitting them up
  • Consider serving your food family style or buffet food stations. That way, you can offer lots of different options for you guests instead of locking them into a course
  • Your date is the availability of your venue + caterer!

Priority: Gotta get the date right

Is there an auspitious date you want to hit? Venue availability is going to be the first thing you want to nail down, and Saturdays go fast. So move on the venue quickly:

  • When calling venues to book a tour, be up-front about the date
  • Not only do venues book up quickly on Saturdays, some are only open for weddings certain months so make sure the date is available
  • Research a lot of vendors in each category, and don’t even meet them unless the date is available
  • Let your family and friends know early what date you're looking at, even before booking. You're going to be heartbroken if grandma can't go because she had a trip planned, or your MOH is expecting a baby that weekend.
  • Once you find a venue, you got your date!

Priority: Including everyone

Do you have a large family and a huge circle of friends who you want to share the day with? Ok, this means that your head count will be dictating your wedding, and use that as a filter:

  • Look for venues that can accomodate the size. If it's an outdoor venue, make sure that they have a weather contingency area that is still big enough for your guest count
  • When speaking to your caterer, make sure that the price per head is reasonable; this is going to add up real quick when you have a large party
  • For the same reason, really look at costs like favors, cake cutting, open bar, etc. that are calculated per head. What's a must-have, and what can you do without to spend more money elsewhere?
  • When you're walking the venue, think about the openness of space and whether there are any gooseneck areas that could potentially be an issue when your guests travel
  • Bathroom. Bathroom. Make sure there are plenty of them, and even consider if they have some upscale porta potty rental options for you
  • The availability of your venue is your date!

Priority: We're not made of money

Look, I get it. A wedding is just ONE DAY, and if you're really just looking to do this kind of low-key, so you can save for the future, but just want a really fun day out of it, it's totally possible.

  • Consider shaving your guest list. This will make the largest impact on your budget, because one of the biggest costs of the wedding is food, and that is dependent on the headcount. Think real hard about who NEEDS to be there
  • Think outside the box for the venue, and don't just search "wedding venues" but look at event spaces in general. There are lots of funky warehouses, factories, and the like that are opening up for weddings. With places like this, rental can be a cost that adds up, so make sure that the venue manager has great contacts
  • Do your guests have flexible schedules? Look at days during the week for any cost savings. Many venues offer a huge discount when you do an event like say, on a Thursday, and it may be doable if you let your guests know beforehand. They could make a long weekend out of it!
  • It's super tempting to cut out a planner from your budget because it's 10%, but definitely keep it on there. It's the best thing you could do for yourself, and they'll help you make sure you're on budget. If it's just not possible for you, then consider just hiring someone for day-of coordination
  • When it comes to food, think about serving it buffet style, as it could save costs of having to hire servers. Or consider a food truck. Just one note htere though, make sure to get at least a couple trucks to make sure there's no traffic jams and delay to get food
  • DIY or DIE. Ok not really, but yes, doing things that you can do on your own will cut costs dramatically. Or, enlist family members who are crafty. Know an aunt who has fresh flowers at her home all the time? She could be your florist. Are you and your bridesmaids handy and enjoy craft days? Make décor together and make a thing of it.


Hope that helps! Whatever course you take, know that you've GOT THIS. 

Are there any priorities that aren't listed above that you're curious about? Know any other tips from your own wedding or those of your family? Let us know in the comments!