Wedding Invitations

Wedding invitations are commonly sent out two to three months prior to the wedding day.

Your wedding invitation is a usually a guest’s “first impression” of your wedding, so it deserves a bit of care. Both the style of the invitation and the wording are important.

Style of invitation

A traditional wedding invitation is a thing of classic, understated beauty. It will typically be printed on a single sheet of heavyweight cream or white card measuring about six inches by four inches (although sometimes a little larger).

If it’s the real deal, then the invitation will be engraved. This refers to the method of printing. The printer will engrave a mirror image of the invitation onto a copper block or cylinder. The indentation is then inked and the block or cylinder is pressed onto the card, leaving raised, inked text.

As you might imagine, this is incredibly expensive. However, a traditional invitation can be printed using other, cheaper, techniques which still give a perfectly good result.

More modern invitations come in many varieties. They are usually more colourful than traditional invitations, and the colours may reflect the overall decorative theme of the wedding.

They are sometimes on a folded piece of card (rather than a single sheet) and can be decorated with ribbons, pictures and other things that your fiancee will probably love.

You can get your invitations printed locally, or try one of the online companies.

Accepted wording

The usual wording for a wedding invitation is as follows:

Mr and Mrs Oliver Orange
request the pleasure of your company
at the marriage of their daughter
Olivia
to
Mr Paul Purple
at St John’s Church, Poddington
on Saturday 15 August at 3 o’clock
and afterwards at
The Wallflower Hotel, Aldwink

RSVP
12 High Street (etc)

Variations on naming of the hosts

Different circumstances may require different wording to that shown above. In particular, the first line often throws up problems. Whoever is hosting the wedding should be named in the first line, but deciding who should be named as the “hosts” of your wedding can be very difficult. It is more complicated than simply asking who has contributed most to the costs of the wedding, as you may be trying not to offend or upset parents on either side. Common variations are shown in the table below.

Host(s) Wording
Both sets of parents (e.g. groom’s parents are paying a significant proportion of the wedding costs) Mr and Mrs Oliver Orange and Mr and Mrs Peter Purple
etc
Couple (e.g. parents of bride not on good terms with daughter, or older couple organising and paying for their own wedding)

Miss Olivia Orange and Mr Paul Purple request the pleasure of your company at their marriage
at St John’s Church, Poddington
etc

 

Divorced parents (mother not re-married)

Mr Oliver Orange and Mrs Anna Orange
etc

Divorced parents (mother re-married) Mr Oliver Orange and Mrs Anna Black
etc
Divorced parents with step-parents

Mr and Mrs Oliver Orange and Mr and Mrs Brian Black
etc

 

Widowed mother

Mrs Oliver Orange
etc

 

Widowed father

Mr Oliver Orange
etc

 

Other family member

Mr Edmund Orange and Miss Elena Orange request the pleasure of your company
at the marriage of their sister
etc

 

Variations on naming of the bride

A bride marrying for the first time is referred to in the wedding invitation by her first name only. There is no “Miss” and no surname, although middle names may sometimes be used. If a bride is re-marrying following a divorce, the “Mrs” and the bride’s surname are included.

Invitation to reception only

The wording for this is as follows:

Mr and Mrs Oliver Orange
request the pleasure of your company
at a reception following the marriage of their daughter
Olivia
to
Mr Paul Purple
at The Wallflower Hotel, Aldwink
on Saturday 15 August at 4.30 p.m.

RSVP
12 High Street (etc)

Where to put the guests’ names

The more observant amongst you will have noticed that the standard wording allows no space in which to insert the names of the invitees. Traditionally the names of the invitees are written in the top left hand corner of the invitation. Although perfectly acceptable, some consider this looks untidy. Therefore it is possible to use the variation below.

Mr and Mrs Oliver Orange
request the pleasure of the company of

………………………………………………………………
at the marriage of their daughter
etc

Whichever format you adopt, it is a good idea to write the names of your invitees on the wedding invitations somewhere. Otherwise, all kinds of uncertainty develops as to whether partners and children are invited.

For a traditional invitation, it is best to use a black fountain pen to write the names. More colourful inks are often used on modern invitations.

Guests’ names should be in the format “Mr John Smith”. The same goes for the envelopes, although formal suffixes and prefixes should also be used here (e.g. “Mr John Smith MBE”).

Other enclosures

There are three main types of enclosure which may accompany a wedding invitation.

  • A guest list card, which is a small pre-printed card provided by the store which holds the couple’s guest list, giving the reference number of the couple’s list and details of how to order.
  • A reply card, which is a pre-printed card for the guest to fill in and return to the hosts.
  • A sheet of A4 paper giving directions to the venue and the reception, perhaps a map, and other administrative details that would be out of place on the invitation itself.
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