The Dos and Don’ts of Wedding Invitation Wording

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formal wedding invitation with gold calligraphy script and white stone dangling earrings laid on top

Incorrectly wording a wedding invitation isn’t the worst thing you can do, but commit a simple spell check error and you might as well wave your wedding dress or tuxedo shirt like a surrender flag and head for the hills. Sorry, did we make you nervous? Don’t be. Here are a few wedding invitation dos and don’ts to keep in mind, along with wording examples to steer you in the right direction. We won’t let you commit a wedding invitation faux-pas, but hitting spell check? That’s all you.

NOTE: While the terms “do” and “don’t” sound like universal mandates, we realize that every wedding is unique. You will have to decide as a couple what type of language feels right for your invitations. These “rules” are really more suggestions for the most traditional and formal way to format your invitation wording. If you want to impart a sense of, well, formality to your wedding invitation wording, then these guidelines are for you. If you are having a more casual wedding, and/or don’t give a flying fig about propriety when it comes to your invitation wording, then take the below with a grain of salt. Then again, if you fall into this latter camp, a dos and don’ts article probably isn’t for you in the first place…

wedding invitation suite in kelly green and white with formal wording

Photo Credit || Alison Dunn Photography

I(nvitation) Dos:

  • DO capitalize proper names and titles.
  • DO spell out the title Doctor (but don’t spell out Mr.).
  • DO use both partner’s full legal names on the invitations. If you prefer to go by a nickname, use it on the save the date or other, less formal pieces of the invitation suite.
  • DO drop the bride’s and/or groom’s middle name(s) if it becomes too long to fit on one line.
  • DO include a nickname in addition to a legal first name if it is the only name that guests will recognize you by. Include the nickname following the legal first name:
    • Margaret Rita Anne McAllister
  • DO spell out the date for formal invitations. Numbers are easy to transpose, so spelling out the date ensures guests have zero confusion. 
  • DO spell out the date in this format: 
    • Begin with the day of the week, followed by a comma: 
      • Friday, 
      • the twenty-ninth
    • Then add the month, preceded by the word “of:”
      • of April
    • Your date line should look like this when finished:
      • Friday, the twenty-ninth of April
  • DO spell out the year if you decide to include it:
    • Two thousand and eighteen 
  • DO remember that while not necessary for casual invitations, spelling out dates is acceptable regardless of formality.
  • DO spell out time for formal invitations, and write it as the placement of hands on a clock:
    • half past four
  • DO refer to 12:00pm as “noon.” 
  • DO spell out the time of day rather than using a.m. or p.m. 
    • in the morning: all hours before 11:00 a.m.
    • in the afternoon: hours from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
    • in the evening: all hours after 5:00 p.m. 
  • DO use upper-case letters for the proper names of days and months, but lower-case letters for numbers.
  • DO write formal invitations in the third person:
    • Mrs. and Mr. Parents of the Bride/Groom invite you…
  • DO include the location of the ceremony. Include the full address for out of town guests:
    • First Methodist Church
      260 East Market Street
      OurTown, State
  • DO include the name of the homeowners if the wedding location is a private residence:
    • at the residence of
      Mr. and Mrs. Charles Darwin
      260 East Market Street
      OurTown, State
  • DO include the location of the reception, if different than the ceremony, on a separate card for formal invitations. If going less formal, include it on the invitation after the ceremony location:
    • Reception immediately following the ceremony
      The Common House 
      285 East Market Street
      OurTown, State
  • DO proofread like your life depends on it. Don’t only run this by your partner and your parents, but your best friend, your English major college roommate, your co-worker…
nautical wedding invitation with navy formal script on a white card with a navy anchor motif

Photo Credit || Shoreshotz Photography

I(nvitation) Don’ts:

  • DON’T use punctuation except after courtesy titles:
    • Mrs.
    • Mr.
  • DON’T spell out courtesy titles, except for Doctor.
  • DON’T use capital letters at the beginning of each line. Instead, use them as you would at the beginning of a sentence.
  • DON’T use a.m. or p.m.—indicate the time of day using “in the morning” or “in the evening” (see above).
  • DON’T write “twelve o’clock.”
  • DON”T write “four thirty” when spelling out the time.
  • DON’T use abbreviations. In general, spell everything out except courtesy titles (see above).
  • DON’T use nicknames for the bride and/or the groom on the actual invitation. Use the full spelling of each person’s legal names.
  • DON’T include the address of the wedding location if it is redundant or obvious, such as a well-known institution with only one location:
    • Brooklyn Museum of Art
      Brooklyn, NY
  • DON’T use symbols—though you can use an ampersand between the names of the couple if the font allows.
  • DON’T make your guests guess. Include full addresses for locations, and all other pertinent information so they can show up at the right place at the right time.
  • DON’T crowd the card. We know you have lots of exciting things to say, but refrain from adding extraneous information or designs that would make your invitation look busy and therefore hard to read.
formal wedding invitation with gold script on a cream colored card

Photo Credit || Dominique Attaway Photography

Featured Photo Credit || Luke and Ashley Photography

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