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Wording Your Invitations

Often times, your invitation is the first official announcement your guests get of your upcoming nuptials, and gives them a glimpse into the celebration to come. The words you select, the font you choose, and the overall look of your invitation creates an impression and sets the tone for your big day.

Here are some grammar, etiquette, and style tips to help you!

Traditional invitation wording:

  1. First, announce who is hosting the wedding—the bride's parents, both setsof parents, or the couple themselves.
  2. Invite the guests—use the term "request the honor of your presence" if the ceremony will be held in a place of worship. For less formal places, and more casual ceremonies, "the pleasure of your company" or "please join us" are acceptable.
  3. Typically the bride's name comes first: "Mr. and Mrs. John Smith request the honor of your presence at the marriage of their daughter, Jessica Ann." Mister (Mr.) and Misses (Mrs.) are abbreviated, but Doctor, Reverend, and Captain should be written out and capitalized.
  4. Next, include the groom's full name, followed by his parents' names (unless groom's parents are co-hosting wedding; in this case, their names would follow the bride's parents at the top): ".to James Michael Olson, son of Mr. and Mrs. William Olson."
  5. Write out the date: "Saturday, the tenth of May, two thousand and eight." Be sure to include commas after the day of the week and after the month. If the year is placed on a separate line, the comma after the month is not needed and the year is typically not capitalized.
  6. Write out the time: "at six o'clock." Write half-hours as "half after six o'clock."
  7. List the location and full address of the ceremony. Spell out "Street", "Boulevard", "Avenue", and other street names. Directions should be written out if they precede the street name: "123 South Main Street". If the direction is after the street name, it should be preceded by a comma and abbreviated: "123 Main Street, N.W." Do not include zip codes.
  8. Typically, the first word of each line is not capitalized, unless it is a proper title, date, place, or other proper noun. Also, there is typically no punctuation at the end of each line.

Example:

Are both sets of parents hosting the wedding, or are you hosting it yourself? Is your wedding non-traditional, less formal, or do you have a special circumstance (divorced parents, for example)? See the invitations below for alternate wording suggestions.

Both parents hosting:

Couple hosting with their parents:

Couple hosting alone (formal):

Couple hosting alone (less formal):

Bride's parents are divorced, her mother is not remarried, and is hosting:

Bride's mother is remarried, and is hosting:

Divorced and remarried parents who are hosting together:

One parent is deceased:

Remember, these are just guidelines. It's your wedding, and you can word your invitation any way that you want to. All that is really important is that everything is concise and spelled correctly!

Fonts:

The font you choose for your invitation helps set the tone of the invitation and should match the tone of your wedding.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • You don't want to use an elegant-looking font for a casual wedding, and vice versa.
  • For a more traditional, elegant wedding, considering using a fancy script font.
  • For a more casual wedding, perhaps choose a font that is more fun and decorative.
  • Some of the more standard fonts (like Arial, Garamond, Tahoma, or Times New Roman) would work well with a clean, modern invitation.
  • Remember to take readability into consideration—stay away from fonts that are hard to read. You don't want your guests to be unclear on any of the details!
  • Also, take into consideration the space available on your invitation when selecting a font size—you want all of your text to fit nicely in the space, without being too small or too large.

If your computer doesn’t have the font you want to use on your invitation, you can use any Internet search engine (Google, Yahoo, etc.) to search for sites you can download free fonts from and install them on your computer. Some ideas include:

Additional tips:

  • Check the text multiple times, looking for grammar and spelling mistakes. A mistake can take away from all the hard work you put into creating the perfect invitation! It is a good idea to run your text through the spell-checker in your word processing program. Also, give the text to a friend or family member—often a fresh set of eyes can help detect mistakes you might have missed. You'd rather be safe than sorry!
  • When printing your invitations, remember to choose an ink color that will be easy to read. Typically, lighter colors are harder to read, so stick with darker shades.
  • Remember to allow plenty of time for the ink to dry before assembling your invitations!