Wedding invitation etiquette includes a lot of long-standing traditions and it’s fair to say that some of those traditions have faded over time but there are a few that have not and for good reasons. If you want to learn more about how to write wedding invitation wording, visit our library of articles Wedding Invitation Wording Ideas.
Here are 7 traditions that aren’t going anywhere anytime soon and why we think they’re here to stay.
- Name etiquette will always be important.
Usually the bride’s name goes first, then the groom’s name. How should you list those names? Depends on whether the parents’ are listed. Last names aren’t needed for the bride or groom if their parents are listed on the invitation. Typically, wedding invitations include the first and middle names of both the bride and groom, and the first, middle and last names of the bride and groom if parents aren’t listed.
Why this is important: A common mistake is only listing the first and middle names for the bride and groom when the parents’ names aren’t listed (see “host line” to learn more about this)f. The problem here is that if both parents aren’t listed, then the recipient doesn’t have last names which is important for verifying who the couple is especially when sending invitations to distant relatives or friends of the family.
- The host line is quite informative.
The host line, which is at the very top of your wedding invitation wording, recognizes who paid for the wedding. This could be one set of parents, both sets of parents or no parents at all with the couple’s names listed since plenty of couples are footing the bill for their own weddings these days.
Why this is important: Recognizing the people who made the wedding possible is important as a significant and sincere form of showing appreciation. Also remember, if the bride’s parents are already listed in the host line, the bride does not need a last name in the invitation wording. Same goes for the groom.
- The significance of the word “honour”.
The phrase, “the honour of your presence” indicates that your wedding will be held in a place of worship whereas “the pleasure of your company” indicates it will held in a non-secular venue. It’s also important to note that the British spelling of words is generally considered more formal. So honour and favour are often used when writing formal wedding invitation wording.
Why it’s important: Whether you use British spellings or not isn’t that important, it’s more of a preference. However, using phrasing that indicates whether your wedding will be held in a place of worship or not helps guests understand the formality of the event and how to dress.
- Spelling out words.
Most words are spelled out when writing formal wedding invitation wording. Some titles, address details, times, dates, etc. States remain abbreviated on the envelopes to adhere to postal service rules but more often than not, anything you might abbreviate should be written out on a wedding invitation. Read
Why this is important: Spelling out words seems to be an aesthetic thing to ensure the wedding invitation wording looks formal. You can imagine a time when invitations were hand-written and the great care that went into spelling everything out might indicate how special the occasion really was.
- A simpler layout.
You’ll notice that line breaks act as commas and periods in wedding invitation wording. Punctuation is not used to indicate the end of a sentence or a pause, as strange as that may feel when you’re actually writing your wording. Resist the urge!
Why this is important: Line breaks lend a clean look to the wording and make it easy to read whereas punctuation can get complicated and messy with all the specific details included in wedding invitation wording.
- Registry info does not belong on the invitation.
This is just a big no-no as far as etiquette goes. We do see couples listing registry information on the backs of two-sided wedding invitations sometimes but we’d prefer to see it on a separate enclosure card or on the couple’s wedding website. However the key rule to follow here is not to include it in the invitation wording itself.
Why this is important: Guests are not required to bring a gift and they certainly aren’t required to bring specific gifts that the couple may be asking for. We understand that gift registries are often just as welcome by the guest as they are by the couple but it’s still not recommended to include it on the invitation because guests should never feel obligated to bring a gift.
- Each wedding guest should be addressed by name.
This part happens on the envelopes. If you’re going with formal wedding invitations, you’ll receive both inner and outer envelopes. The inner envelopes are where you would address each guest by name.
Why this is important: This is very important! This is how guests know exactly who is invited to the wedding. Couples sending more casual invitations would still need to address each person invited on the outer envelopes. To learn more about addressing your envelopes properly, read Wedding Invitations 101: Why two envelopes.
It’s important to note that just because you choose to follow wedding invitation traditions doesn’t mean you’re sending “traditional wedding invitations”. There are plenty of couples who choose modern or contemporary designs but follow tradition when writing wedding invitation wording. If you want to learn more about traditional invites, check out What’s a traditional wedding invitation?