Everything You Need to Know About Wedding Invitation Wording

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While you want your invitations to be pretty, they also need to be practical. They serve a very important purpose, after all! But deciding how to word those bad boys can be quite challenging. What do you say and how do you spell it out? We're here to take away all of the guesswork and help you find the perfect way to spread the word. Here is everything you need to know about wedding invitation wording.
First things first...

The traditional anatomy of a wedding invitation:

Mr. and Mrs. Henry Worthington [Proper Names of the Hosts]
Request the honor of your presence [Request Line]
at the marriage of their daughter [List the relationship of one member of the couple to the host]
Michelle Ryan [First partner's first and middle names only]
to Colin Patrick Carlsen [Second partner's full name]
Saturday the tenth of June [Date of the wedding] 2022 [Year of the wedding]
at six o'clock in the evening [Time of the wedding]
The Pierre [Name of the venue] New York, New York [City and state where wedding will take place]
Reception to follow [Reception line]

The Hosts if one set of parents is hosting...

Etiquette says that if the bride's (or whichever partner will be changing their last name regardless of gender) parents are hosting to write out their proper name and then leave off their unmarried name.
Mr. & Mrs. Henry Worthington request the pleasure of your company
at the marriage of Michelle Ryan to their son Colin Patrick Carlsen
If the groom's (or whichever partner will not be changing their last name regardless of gender) parents are hosting (either fully or partially), both to-be-weds last names should be included.
If both partners will be keeping their last name, proceed with this format.
Mr. & Mrs. Sean Carlsen
request the pleasure of your company
at the marriage of
Michelle Ryan Worthington
to their son
Colin Patrick Carlsen

If both partner's parents are hosting...

It's customary to include both sets of parents' formal names plus the surnames of both the bride and groom:
Mr. & Mrs. Henry Worthington
Mr. & Mrs. Sean Carlsen
request the pleasure of your company
at the marriage of their children
Michelle Ryan Worthington & Colin Patrick Carlsen

If your parents are divorced but co-hosting...

The rules state that whoever is playing host should get a mention on the invitation. So, if one parent and step-parent and your other parent and step-parent are paying for the wedding, put both sets of parents' formal names on the invitation:
Mr. & Mrs. Frank Gallagher
Mr. & Mrs. Henry Worthington
request the pleasure of your company
at the marriage of their daughter
Michelle Ryan Worthington
to
Colin Patrick Carlsen
son of Mr. & Mrs. Sean Carlsen

If only one parent has remarried, you can use a similar format:

Ms. Elaine BarrMr. & Mrs. Henry Worthington
request the pleasure of your company
at the marriage of their daughter
Michelle Ryan Worthingtonto
Colin Patrick Carlsens
son of Mr. & Mrs. Sean Carlsen

If you and your partner both come from divorced families and all four sets of parents are hosting, make sure to include everyone:

Mr. & Mrs. Frank Gallagher
Mr. & Mrs. Henry Worthington
Mr. & Mrs. Sean Carlsen
Mr. & Mrs. Robert Brown
request the pleasure of your company
at the marriage of
Michelle Ryan Worthington & Colin Patrick Carlsen

If you and your partner are hosting...Include both of your full formal names:

Michelle Ryan Worthington
and
Colin Patrick Carlsen
request the pleasure of your company
at the celebration of their union

If your parents are chipping in a little bit, give them a shoutout:

Together with their parents
Michelle Ryan Worthington
and
Colin Patrick Carlsen
request the pleasure of your company
at the celebration of their union
If it's a LGBTQ+ wedding...The same rules listed above apply if you're having an LGBT wedding!

If you're having a commitment ceremony or civil union

Use phrases like "invite you to share in their joy when they exchange vows of commitment" or "invite you to join in the celebration of their recent civil union" in the request line.
If you already exchanged vows and are inviting your guests to a celebratory reception, just be sure to make that clear. Special Wording Hosts' Names While listing the hosts with a Mr. and Mrs. signifies a formal affair, it's not a necessary step to take. It's also totally acceptable to list the parents by their own names:
Henry and Elaine Worthington
request the pleasure of your company
at the marriage of their daughter
Michelle Ryan
to
Colin Patrick
son of Sean and Sarah Carlsen

Request line

Want to make the request line your own? Have fun with it! Consider things like "join us as we tie the knot," "invite you to share and celebrate" or "invite you to share in their
love" to make your invitations feel more relaxed.

Reception line

If you're hoping to communicate that your wedding will be laid back, consider using the phrase "dinner and dancing to follow" or "general merriment to follow." No one says you have to stick to tradition here!

Wedding TypesReligious vs. Secular

If you're having a religious wedding, use the phrase "request the honor of your presence" in the request line. To communicate that the ceremony will be non-religious, use "pleasure of your company" instead.

Formal vs. Casual

While you'll want to make a note of any preferred dress code somewhere on your invitations (you know, black-tie invited or cocktail attire), you can also signify the formality of your nuptials with how you write the date and time: Feeling formal?
Saturday, the fourteenth of September
two thousand fourteen
three o'clock in the afternoon
Keep it totally casual Other notes: There's some debate on what you put for a 5pm wedding. Etiquette says that you write "afternoon," but most people choose to say "evening" because, well, it is. Feel free to go with whatever word best describes the vibe you're after.  
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