wedding invitation

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.

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!

FiberandDyeWeddingInvitationWording

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

FiberandDye_WeddingStationeryTiming

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

FiberandDye_InvitationTiming

Invitation Enclosure Card Sizes

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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

RSVP

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!

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