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HOW TO WORD AND ADDRESS
YOUR WEDDING INVITATIONS

Wedding invitations do much more than let your friends and family know where and when you and your fiancé will marry. Invitations set the tone and formality of an event, and give your guests the information they need to know about who is hosting the wedding and what style of ceremony to expect. Wedding invitation etiquette can be daunting, but fear not! The following guidelines should assist you in selecting just the right words for your special day:

• The first line of your wedding invitation indicates who is issuing the invitations, which is traditionally done by the bride’s parents.

• Jointly issued invitations – those issued by both sets of parents - as well as invitations issued by the couple are also acceptable where appropriate. See the examples that follow for suggestions.

• If the wedding invitation is being issued by the couple, the first line should include the couple’s names, bride first, or may begin with “Together with their families."

• Always include the full names, including middle names, of the bride, groom, and parents.

• Spell out suffixes such as "Junior" as opposed to using “Jr.”

• Use roman numerals “III” instead of “the third” and higher.

• Do not abbreviate other titles, such as “Doctor”, “Captain”, or “Reverend."

• You may use “Mr.” in front of the groom’s name, if desired, on most wording styles.

• You may use “Miss” or “Ms.” in front of the bride’s name when her full name including last name is used. This is optional as well.

• Using “requests the honour (or honor) of your presence" is appropriate when the wedding will take place in a religious location or house of worship (i.e. church, synagogue, temple, mosque, etc.).

• Use “requests the pleasure of your company" for non-religious weddings or those held in secular locations (i.e. park, city hall, parent’s house, etc.).

Use wording similar to the sample below for weddings in religious locations where the bride’s parents are issuing the invitation:

Mr. and Mrs. James Charles Goodwin
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Christine Anne
to
Mr. George Steven Gardner
on Saturday, the twelfth of February
two thousand and five
at one o'clock in the afternoon
St. Joseph’s Church
3588 East Washington Road
Monument, Montana

Use wording similar to the sample below for weddings in non-religious locations where the bride’s parents are issuing the invitation:

Mr. and Mrs. James Charles Goodwin
request the pleasure of your company
at the marriage of their daughter
Christine Anne
to
Mr. George Steven Gardner
on Saturday, the twelfth of February
two thousand and five
at one o'clock in the afternoon
Germantown Lake Park
6895 West Lake View Boulevard
Monument, Montana

In some cultures it is appropriate to list the names of the groom’s parents on the invitation, as shown below.

Mr. and Mrs. James Charles Goodwin
request the pleasure of your company
at the marriage of their daughter
Christine Anne
and
Mr. George Steven Gardner
son of
Mr. and Mrs. Charles Edward Gardner
on Saturday, the twelfth of February
two thousand and five
at one o'clock in the afternoon
Germantown Lake Park
6895 West Lake View Boulevard
Monument, Montana

If the couple is issuing the invitation, use one of the following:

Miss Christine Anne Goodwin
and
Mr. George Steven Gardner
request the honour of your presence
at their marriage
on Saturday, the twelfth of February
two thousand and five
at one o'clock in the afternoon
St. Joseph’s Church
3588 East Washington Road
Monument, Montana

- OR -

Together with their families
Christine Anne Goodwin
and
George Steven Gardner
request the pleasure of your company
at their marriage
on Saturday, the twelfth of February
two thousand and five
at one o'clock in the afternoon
Germantown Lake Park
6895 West Lake View Boulevard
Monument, Montana

The wedding invitation should be worded as shown below if the groom's parents issue the invitation.

Mr. and Mrs. Charles Edward Gardner
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of
Ms. Christine Anne Goodwin
to their son
George Charles Gardner
on Saturday, the twelfth of February
two thousand and five
at one o'clock in the afternoon
St. Joseph’s Church
3588 East Washington Road
Monument, Montana

Use wording similar to the following when both sets of parents are hosting the wedding/reception.

Mr. and Mrs. James Charles Goodwin
and
Mr. and Mrs. Charles Edward Gardner
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of their children
Christine Anne Goodwin
and
George Steven Gardner
on Saturday, the twelfth of February
two thousand and five
at one o'clock in the afternoon
St. Joseph’s Church
3588 East Washington Road
Monument, Montana

When the bride's divorced and remarried parents co-host the wedding, recognize both parents as follows:

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Jenson
and
Mr. and Mrs. James Charles Goodwin
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of
Christine Anne Goodwin
to
George Steven Gardner
on Saturday, the twelfth of February
two thousand and five
at one o'clock in the afternoon
St. Joseph’s Church
3588 East Washington Road
Monument, Montana

When the bride's remarried mother and husband (not the bride’s father) host, notice that the bride’s last name is included:

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Jenson
request the pleasure of your company
at the marriage of Mrs. Jenson’s daughter
Christine Anne Goodwin
to
George Steven Gardner
on Saturday, the twelfth of February
two thousand and five
at one o'clock in the afternoon
Germantown Lake Park
6895 West Lake View Boulevard
Monument, Montana


If the bride’s mother is hosting, and she is divorced and not remarried, choose one of the following:

Ms. Samantha Stewart Goodwin
(maiden and married surnames)
or
Ms. Samantha Stewart
(maiden name)
requests the honour of your presence
at the marriage of her daughter
Christine Anne Goodwin
to
George Steven Gardner
on Saturday, the twelfth of February
two thousand and five
at one o'clock in the afternoon
St. Joseph’s Church
3588 East Washington Road
Monument, Montana


Envelopes:

When you order your invitations, you will likely order two sets of envelopes, an inner envelope and an outer envelope. Both envelopes should be addressed, the outer with the full name and address of the recipient, and the inner with just the names of the invited guests. Use these guidelines to make your envelopes picture perfect.

• Always hand address envelopes; do not type or print labels to affix, even if font face is script-like. If you do not have nice handwriting, enlist the help of friends or consider hiring a calligrapher.

• The return address may be pre-printed on the back of the outer envelope and should be the address of the person(s) issuing the invitations.

• Spell out all parts of the address - Street, Drive, Boulevard, etc., as well as city and state. Use numbers for the house number and zip code.

• Always use full names – “Mr. and Mrs. James Johnson”, or “Doctor and Mrs. James Johnson.”

• When inviting unmarried couples who live together, address the envelope alphabetically by last name.

• Same-sex couples follow the same rule as unmarried couples that live at the same address – list them alphabetically by last name on the envelope.

• Do not put “and Guest” on the outer envelope. If the invitee has a significant other or partner, find out the name of the partner and add it to the invitation. Mail the invitation to the address of the person you consider the closer acquaintance.

• You may use “and Guest” on the inner envelope if you are allowing a guest that is not a steady person in the invitee’s life.

• Using “and Family” on the inner envelope is only appropriate where you are inviting the children who are under 18. Children over 18 should get their own invitation, even if they live in the same household as the invited parent(s).

• Inner envelopes should be written with the names of the guests only, and may include just the surname rather than the full name (i.e. “Mr. and Mrs. Johnson”, “Ms. Gordon”, etc.)

Response cards:

• Response cards provide a convenient way for your guests to indicate whether they will be able to attend your wedding. It is often helpful for your response cards to include a “Please respond by” date.

• Response cards should have the address of the person(s) issuing the invitations pre-printed on the front.

• Always include the postage on the response cards return envelope.

Reception Cards:

• Reception cards are generally used when the reception is at a different location or is later in the day. Otherwise, you can just add "Reception immediately following" to the end of your invitations.

• If your reception is formal, specify “Black Tie” on the reception card.

• If the caterer requires that guests select their meals prior to the reception, it is acceptable to provide a checklist of available dishes on your reception cards.

Maps and Directions:

• If you feel you must include a map or directions to your wedding or reception, make sure that you order them with your wedding invitation order so that the paper, print and style will compliment your invitations.

• Do not hand-draw directions and put photocopies into your invitations; this will cheapen the look of your invitations.

By following the above-described rules of etiquette, you will help to ease your worry and lower your stress, knowing that your invitations convey the right message. And less stress is certainly a good thing for all engaged couples at this hectic yet wonderful time.

Copyright©2009 Invitations Galore

verse ideas, etiquette guidelines and tips to help you plan your celebration.