The Anatomy of an Invite
Updated: May 28
The wedding invitation is a window into the celebration that lies ahead. The invite will of course introduce the tone and style but it is just as important to share details of the day. In this post we’ll cover the general flow of the wedding invitation itself. A traditional wedding invite follows specific etiquette, but it doesn’t have to be tricky or complicated. And once you know the basics you can choose which rules to bend for a more modern take.
A traditional wedding invite will typically include the following details in the order below:
1. Host Line
3. Couple’s Names
4. Date and Time
5. Ceremony Venue
7. Attire (optional)
The Host Line highlights those who are hosting, or as is traditionally the case, those who are funding the celebration. Traditionally, this has been the bride’s parents but more and more we are seeing both sets of parents chip in or the couple hosting themselves or with some help from their families. We’ll share more on the many different host options in an upcoming post.
When it is the parents hosting we typically see the host names followed by:
Request the honour (or honor) of your presence at the marriage of…
We use the British-style “honour” with a “u” to indicate a ceremony that takes place in a house of worship.
Other options include:
Request the presence of your company at the marriage of…
Request the pleasure of your company at the marriage of…
When the couple is hosting we might see:
Your presence is requested at the marriage of…
Together with their families…invite you to celebrate their marriage
Ladies first! When a couple consists of a bride and groom then the bride’s name will forerun the groom's. If her parents are hosting, then adding her last name is unnecessary. The groom’s full name should be listed unless his parents are also listed in the host line or if their names follow the couple’s names. When the couple is hosting their own wedding, both full names should appear on the invitation.
Date and Time
Traditionally, the date and time are spelled out in full. It starts with the day, followed by the date and then the month. The next line consists of the year and it is also spelled out. That is then followed by the time. Any time up until 5:59pm is considered afternoon. Also note that including the time of day (ex. in the afternoon, in the evening, etc) is optional and not required.
Saturday, the eighth of October
two thousand twenty
half past five o’clock in the afternoon
For a more modern touch one can simplify the date and year on one line or even use all numbers.
Saturday, the eighth of October | two thousand twenty
Saturday, October 8th, 2020 at 5:30pm
10.08.20 | 5:30pm
The location of the ceremony is of course a critical piece of information. The venue name is listed below the date and time. We typically leave the location address off of the invite. However, if it cannot be found on the wedding website, or if it’s not listed on an additional enclosure card and it can’t easily be located with a Google search then it can be added onto the invite itself.
If the venue is at a residence, then it can be worded as “The Smith’s Residence”
A very traditional wedding invitation will make no mention of a reception on the invite itself. Instead, that information, including location, address and timing will appear on a separate card (see image below).
For most contemporary invitations, however, we do see a reception notation. The reception line not only indicates that a party will follow but oftentimes it will note where it will be. Many invites now include a line such as:
Dinner and dancing to follow
Reception to follow
If the location is different from that of the ceremony then the reception venue is often listed just below the Reception notation (see image below).
Attire is traditionally only noted when the guests are being asked to where black or white tie. We often note that in the bottom right or sometimes bottom centered depending on the invite design. Appropriate terms are black tie or black tie invited