Wedding Invitation Wording 101

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Your wedding invitations are the only thing your guests see before the big day arrives, so crafting thoughtful invites is a great way to get your guests pumped for the upcoming celebration and share a hint of what’s to come. So it’s essential that your wedding invitation wording be on point—you don’t want any blunders here. Here are the four jobs your wedding invitation wording has to do: 

  1. Convey all the critical information about who’s getting married, when, where;
  2. Recognize the hosts of the wedding and/or the parents of the couple, if desired;
  3. Convey the tone and formality of the wedding;
  4. Indicate how guests should RSVP (if no response card is included).

Read on for a line-by-line breakdown of what language should appear, and in what order, on a standard wedding invitation. Once you understand the various components of wedding invitation wording, you can then see how they’re put to use through our wedding invitation wording examples. Trust us: we won’t let you mess this up.

paper wedding invitations designed by Zola

Zola save the date, invitation, and RSVP card in Heaven Fade design

Anatomy of an Invitation

Although the order of these components may vary, below are the handful of elements that compose basic wedding invitation format. Think of it this way: if you want people to show up to your wedding at the right place and time, make sure it’s on the invitation.

Zola paper invitation in Eastwick Wreath design, with invitation wording elements highlighted

Zola invitation in Eastwick Wreath design

Host line:

Hopefully you haven’t forgotten who’s responsible for making your big day happen. Located at the very top of the invitation, the host line is where the name(s) of the event hosts appear. The hosts are typically the people who are paying for the wedding. Depending on who’s hosting, the wording will vary slightly: it could be one set of parents, both sets of parents, the couple and their parents together, or just the couple. Read our Dos and Don’ts of Wedding Invitation Wording for more specific guidance on how to format names, and then jump below for wording examples. 

Couple’s names:

That’s you! Depending on your message, your names may fall higher or lower on the card—but no matter where they’re placed, make sure they stand out. For heterosexual couples, the bride’s name traditionally comes before the groom’s. For same-sex couples, the wording of the host line may dictate who’s name comes first (i.e., if one set of parents is hosting, their names will come first and their child’s should follow). If you are hosting it yourselves, then it’s up to you which name comes first. One, two, three, four, I declare a thumb war… 

Information:

The real meat of the invitation, the information section follows the couple’s names. It states the date of the wedding, where the wedding ceremony and reception are taking place, and the event’s start time. Include the address of the venue(s), unless your invitation design doesn’t allow room. You can also include information on guest attire and how guests should RSVP (an email and/or phone number and a deadline) if you forego a response card.

Party line:

Wrap up with a party line, which comes at the end of the invitation and notifies guests of what’s scheduled to follow “I do.” Whether that’s cocktails and hors d’oeuvres or dinner and dancing, let your guests know what to expect.

Zola paper wedding invitations in Morrison design being put into a gold-lined envelope by a woman's hands

Zola paper invitations in Morrison Rise design

Invitation Wording Examples

Formal, Bride’s Parents Hosting, One Deceased Parent

Mrs. and Mr. Michael Francis Middleton
request the honour of your company
at the marriage of their daughter

Catherine Elizabeth Middleton
to Prince William, Duke of Cambridge

Son of Charles, Prince of Wales and the late Diana, Princess of Wales

Friday, the twenty-ninth of April
two thousand and eleven
at eleven o’clock in the morning
at Westminster Abbey – 20, Deans Yard
London, England

Reception to follow

Formal, Couple Hosting

Amal Alamuddin and George Timothy Clooney
request the pleasure of your company
at the celebration of their marriage

Saturday, 27 September 2014
at noon
Aman Canal Grande Hotel in Venice, Italy

Festivities to follow

Formal, Groom’s Parents Hosting, Bride’s Parents Deceased

Mr. Angiolo Guiseppe and Mrs. Elettra Rossellini
invite you to share in the joy
of marriage uniting their son
Roberto Rossellini

to
Ingrid Bergman
Daughter of the late Mr. Justis and Mrs. Friedel Bergman

Saturday, the twenty-fourth of May
nineteen fifty
at noon
Hotel Boca Chica, Acapulco, Mexico

Dinner and merriment to follow

Two different wedding invitation suites designed and sold by Zola

Zola invitation suites in Woads Corner and Franklin Ring designs

Traditional, Couple & Families Hosting

Together with their families
Gisele Bundchen and Thomas Brady
invite you to their marriage celebration

February twenty-six, two thousand and nine
at noon
Santa Monica Catholic Church
701 California Avenue
Santa Monica,
California

Reception to follow

Traditional, Couple Hosting

Neil Patrick Harris and David Michael Burtka
cordially invite you to their wedding celebration

Saturday the sixth of September
two thousand and fourteen
at one o’clock in the afternoon

An anonymous castle in Perugia, Italy

Reception to follow

Traditional, Couple & Families Hosting, One Deceased Parent

Together with their families,
Malaak Compton,
daughter of Gerald and Louisa Compton,
and
Christopher Rock,
son of the late Julius Rock and Rosalie Rock,
invite you to share in their wedding festivities

November twenty-third, nineteen ninety six
at eight o’clock in the evening
The Estate at Florentine Gardens
97 Rivervale Road
River Vale, New Jersey

Dinner reception to follow

Zola wedding invitation suites in Peak Zoom and Peak Portrait designs

Zola wedding invitation suite in Peak Zoom and Peak Portrait designs

Casual, No Specified Host

Miss Beyonce Knowles
and
Shawn “Jay Z” Carter
are getting married

Friday, the fourth of April
Two thousand and eight
at four o’clock in the afternoon
Jay Z’s crib
New York, New York

Dinner and dancing to follow

Casual, Both Sets of Parents Hosting

With great pleasure
Kimberly and Jonathan Biel
and Lynn Bomar Harless and Randall Timberlake

invite you to celebrate the marriage of their children
Jessica and Justin

October 19, 2012
at four o’clock in the afternoon

Borgo Egnazia Resort
72015 Savelletri di Fasano BR, Italy
RSVP by August 31
(555) 555-5555

Dress as you wish, dine as you like, dance as you please

Zola paper wedding invitations in Woads design

Zola wedding invitations in Woads Corner design

Whimsical, Couple Hosting

Ellen DeGeneres and Portia De Rossi
invite you to share in their wedding festivities

Saturday, August 16 2008
At the residence of
Beverly Hills, California

Dinner, dancing, and merriment to follow


Whimsical, No Specified Host

Please join us
as Will and Jada tie the knot

December 31, 1997
Cloisters Mansion
10440 Falls Road
Lutherville-Timonium, Maryland

Ceremony followed by dinner, drinks,
and awkward but enthusiastic dancing

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