The Dos and Don’ts of Wedding Invitation Wording

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Zola paper wedding invitations with coordinating response cards and envelopes in sage green, black, and purple floral motif

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, organized by the different wording components such as names, dates, and times, along with examples to steer you in the right direction. Use the below links to skip to the exact wording guidance that you need: 

The Dos and Don’ts of General Language on Wedding Invitations
The Dos and Don’ts of Names & Titles on Wedding Invitations
The Dos and Don’ts of Dates on Wedding Invitations
The Dos and Don’ts of Times on Wedding Invitations
The Dos and Don’ts of Locations on Wedding Invitations

Zola paper wedding invitations in multiple designs with matching response cards

A few of Zola’s printed invitation designs, clockwise from top left: Tillage Corner, Riverside Brush, Clemson Frame, and Morrison Rise.

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 prefer a more graphic or modern approach to your invitation design, then take the below with a grain of salt.

Zola paper wedding invitation in Morrison Rise

Customize Zola’s paper invitations with rounded corners and your own choice of wording.

The Dos and Don’ts of General Language

  • 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 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…

  • 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 symbols, unless it’s for a specific design reason—though an ampersand between the names of the couple is fine, if the font allows.
  • 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.
Zola paper wedding invitations on a black tray with black ribbon and blue macarons

A brushstroke-meets-calligraphy invitation design with matching RSVP card from Zola

The Dos and Don’ts of Names & Titles

  • 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 include a nickname in addition to a legal first name if it is the only name that guests will recognize you by.
  • 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 host line at the top of the invitation that indicates who is doing the inviting. This generally correlates with who is funding the wedding, but can vary based on preference. Some examples:
    • Mr. and Mrs. Parents invite you to the marriage celebration of their son/daughter Partner 1 to Partner 2…
    • Mr. and Mrs. Parents and Mr. and Mrs. Other Parents invite you to the marriage celebration of their children Partner 1 and Partner 2…
    • Together with their families, Partner 1 & Partner 2 invite you to…
    • Partner 1 & Partner 2 invite you to…
  • DO include the names of the non-hosting parents as a courtesy below their child’s name:
    • Mr. and Mrs. Parents Invite you to the marriage celebration of their son/daughter Partner 1 to Partner 2, the son/daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Other Parents

  • DON’T use abbreviations. In general, spell everything out except courtesy titles.
  • DON’T use punctuation, except after courtesy titles:
    • Mrs.
    • Mr.
  • DON’T spell out courtesy titles, except for Doctor.
Zola paper wedding invitation with formal writing and green leafy vine motif in style Eastwick Wreath

The Eastwick Wreath invitation design on Zola

The Dos and Don’ts of Dates

  • 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: 
    • The day of the week, comma, the day of the month, commaBegin 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.
Zola paper wedding invitation and matching response card with envelopes next to two slices of wedding cake on plates with forks and nearby wedding bands

The Galata Vine matching invitation and RSVP card on Zola

 

The Dos and Don’ts of Times

  • 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.

  • 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.
Zola paper wedding invitations and matching response card with gold foil-lined envelopes in a white and black urban cityscape design

Zola’s Blake Frame invitation design is as classic as it gets.

The Dos and Don’ts of Locations

  • 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


  • 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 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.
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