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Wording Wedding Invitations – a basic guide

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Wording a wedding invitation correctly sets the tone for your wedding. Learn how with helpful samples and basic guidelines.

One of the most common questions I get asked is “how do I write my wedding invites?”. Something so simple can be quite deceiving… and getting your wording (and invitation) right really does set the stage for what your wedding guests will think and feel about your wedding in the coming months. 

So today I’m going to share some of the basic “rules” surrounding wedding invite wording etiquette and give a couple of pointers.

The first thing that is usually written on a wedding invitation is the host’s name. This is usually the parents of the couple if they are hosting and paying for the wedding, or the couple themselves. 

Wedding Invitation Wording If Parents are Hosting 

  • Start with the host’s names. Traditionally, that’s the bride’s parents. For same-sex couple’s, you could write the names in alphabetical order. 
  • Follow this with “request the honour of your presence at the marriage of their son/daughter” 
  • Then include the first names of the bride and the groom
  • If you want to include the groom’s parents, include them next (however, if they are helping to pay for the wedding, they should be up above the couple’s names, with the bride’s parents)
  • Follow this with the date and time of the wedding
  • Location goes last

Start with the first and last name of the parents who are hosting. If the parents have the same last name as their child, you don’t write out the last name for the bride or groom of whom the parents are hosting, just write their first and middle name (if any).

Below are examples of formal wedding invitation wording. 

Keep in mind that the below list is very traditional wording – many brides and grooms have moved away from this strict format and instead use more modern and/or casual options.


Formal Wedding Invite Wording – One set of parents

Jeffrey Roads and Lara Roads 

request the honour of your presence 

at the marriage of their son

James Michael

to 

Sarah Michelle Jenkins

Saturday the sixteenth of January 

two thousand twenty-two 

at two o’clock in the afternoon

Saint Andrews Church

Johnsonville, Wellington

Formal Wedding Invite Wording – Two sets of parents 

Jeffrey Roads and Lara Roads &

Maxwell Jenkins and Tamara Jenkins

request the honour of your presence 

at the marriage of their children 

James Michael

to 

Sarah Michelle 

Saturday the sixteenth of January 

two thousand twenty-two 

at two o’clock in the afternoon

Saint Andrews Church

Johnsonville, Wellington

Including deceased parents in wedding invitations 

This can be a sensitive subject. If a parent is no longer alive they aren’t able to host your wedding but you might still want their name on the invitation.

Adding the word late in front of their name is a way to show that they are no longer here in the world but you still honour them on the invite.

Wedding invite with the name of a deceased parent

James Michael, son of Lara Roads and the late Jeffrey Roads 

& Sarah Michelle, daughter of Maxwell Jenkins and Tamara Jenkins

request the honour of your presence 

at their marriage 

Saturday the sixteenth of January 

two thousand twenty-two 

at two o’clock in the afternoon

Wording Wedding Invitations for Modern Families

Part of the reason so many couples have moved towards more modern and casual wording options is that family life is a whole lot more complex than 80-odd years ago.

We’ve got to consider that many couples pay their own way, their parents could be divorced, or even not in the picture.

So if you aren’t sure, apply these overarching principles:

  • the people paying for the wedding should be listed first.
  • It comes down to giving proper respect to the individuals that are hosting (i.e. paying for) the wedding, first and foremost. If you as the couple are paying for the wedding – great! You can skip mentioning your parents if you want to.

Modern wedding invitations don’t need to include the full names of the couple either. 

Wedding invitation wording when the couple hosts with their parents

Together with their parents,

Sally and Edward 

Invite

Maddy and Charlie 

To celebrate their wedding 

11 November 2023

Ceremony at 4:00 pm

Botanical Rose Gardens, Wellington

Reception to follow 

Wording when the couple hosts without their parents 

Sally and Edward 

Invite

Maddy and Charlie 

To celebrate their big day 

11 November 2023

Ceremony at 4:00 pm

Botanical Rose Gardens, Wellington

Reception to follow 

Wording ceremony-only only invites 

Sometimes there are guests that you choose to only invite to the ceremony. In this case, it’s best to print your wedding invitation details on one card, and your wedding reception details on the other card.

That way you can simply just sent the wedding ceremony invitation to those that aren’t coming to the reception. 

Reception only invites

In other cases, there are guests that are only invited to the reception and not the ceremony. This is often the case for wedding ceremonies that happen in small and intimate spaces or overseas destinations, or for couples that have eloped.

In these cases, you might still want a party with your loved ones afterwards and so you can send out wedding reception-only invitations. 

Reception only invite sample – wording for wedding invitations if already married

We got hitched!

Please join us in celebration 

with dinner and dancing!

November 11th, 6:00 pm

The Bistro, 12 Topor St

Wellington

Love, Sally and Edward Nichols 

Using these basic guidelines makes the wording of your wedding invites a lot less stressful!

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