Invitation wording tips

Unsure how to word your wedding invitation text? We've got you covered!

Words matter.

In the world of wedding invitations, the wording you choose makes a big difference. Each phrase and line on an invitation acts as a clue to your guests and hints at important information like who is hosting the wedding, how formal the celebration will be, etc. Here is our guide to invitation wording basics. If you need help with your specific situation, we're here for you - don't hesitate to contact us with questions!

the hosts

By far, the most potentially complicated element of wedding invitation wording is the host line. This is traditionally the very first line on the invitation, and aside from simply giving a nod to family members, this line indicates who is hosting (read: paying for) the wedding. If you are going the traditional route and the bride's family is paying for the celebration, this should be pretty straightforward. However, today's more complicated family situations can cause some confusion and even a sticky situation or two if family members are vying for a mention. Here are some of the most common scenarios we encounter, and suggested wording for each. 


List the bride's parents' names formally at the top of the invitation. If the bride's last name is the same as her parents, there is no need to repeat her last name.


List each parent's name on a separate line. If one or both parents are remarried, list the couple's names as appropriate, on separate lines.


List the bride's parents' names as usual, and include a line below the groom's name for his parents.


Begin the invitation with the bride and groom's formal names, and omit all parents' names.


If multiple parties are helping to pay for the wedding, the most inclusive wording is "together with their parents" or "together with their families". Add this to the top.


Use this wording for situations where none of the previous wording styles seem to fit, or if the list of names becomes too long and complicated to manage.

the request

This is the line that formally requests your guests' presence. Take your cue from your venue style for this line. Traditional options for formal weddings include:


Used only for ceremonies taking place in a church or other house of worship.The British spelling (honour) can be used for very formal weddings.


Used for ceremonies taking place anywhere other than a house of worship.

Some additional options:

"Joyfully invite you to join them"

"Happily request your presence"

"Invite you to witness"

the bride & groom

Always list the bride's name first. Typically, full names are used - first, middle and last. However, adjust this to your preferences and your situation. If the bride and/or groom's parents' names are listed, and the bride or groom shares their last name, do not repeat the last name - just use it for the parents. 

the details

Spell out all details including the day of the week, the date, month, year and time of day. Use "in the afternoon" for weddings that begin between noon and half past four; use "in the evening" after five o'clock. Or, omit this qualifier if you like - it can certainly be assumed that your wedding isn't starting at five o'clock in the morning! 


Include the name of the venue, and the city and state (spelled out, of course). Omit the street address of the venue, unless it is a private residence or is not searchable online. Never include a zip code for a venue on a wedding invitation. 

The reception

If your ceremony and reception are being held at the same venue, you may include a line at the bottom of your invitation that reads "reception to follow", "reception immediately following the ceremony", or "and afterwards at a reception". If your reception is being held at a different venue (typical for church ceremonies, for example), a separate reception card should be included. 

Attire and registry


If you prefer, it is acceptable to include information on wedding guests' attire in the bottom left or right hand corner of your wedding invitation. Keep this information simple and clear, and try to use cues that are well understood. Common dress codes include Black tie (tuxedo or dinner suit for men, formal gown for women); Formal attire / Black tie optional (suit and tie for men, formal gown for women); Semi-formal (suit and tie for men, cocktail dress for women); Cocktail attire (suit with optional tie for men, cocktail dress for women); Resort attire (collared shirt and slacks for men, sundress and sandals for women); or Garden party attire (summer suit for men, summer dress for women). Going outside of these traditional dress codes can cause more confusion for guests, rather than clarifying.


Although many guests will want to know where you are registered, this information should never be included anywhere in your wedding invitation suite. Even with modern, less stringent etiquette guidelines, this is considered bad manners. Instead, provide this information on your wedding website, spread it by word of mouth, or have your wedding shower hosts include it in the bridal shower invitations instead. 

The little details

Any details other than those listed here should either be included on a separate enclosure card, or on your wedding website. Typical uses for enclosure cards are:

  • Accommodations Cards, listing one to three hotels where guests may want to make reservations
  • Directions Cards or Maps, although these are increasingly less common with GPS making it easy for guests to find any location quickly
  • Wedding Website Enclosures, which are a popular and efficient way to direct guests to the website where they can find all of the pertinent details in one place. Your website allows you the opportunity to include more extensive information like travel details, suggestions for things to do while in town for your wedding, etc.