Wedding invitations have existed for hundreds of years. Although couples have changed quite a bit over these centuries, the practice of sending formal wedding invitations has continued to withstand the test of time.
When it comes to writing your wedding invitations, figuring out what to say can be a little tricky. This problem may be elevated for LGBT+ couples, particularly due to gendered language, heteronormative traditions, and outdated wedding etiquette.
Here at Zola, it’s our mission to make wedding planning easy for every couple. That’s why we’ve created this guide to help LGBT+ couples create the perfect invitations for their special day. From inclusive wording to stylish designs, we’ll be covering everything you need to know about this part of the wedding planning process, including:
The wording is the first crucial step when crafting your wedding invitations. While there are no real rules when it comes to this message, most couples prefer to take a formal approach with their invitation wording. This will lend to the overall tone of the event and prepare guests for an upscale, black-tie affair.
With this in mind, it’s also important to recognize some of the outdated practices used in wedding invitation wording, especially those that are heteronormative and non-inclusive.
Let’s take a look at some simple adjustments that couples can make for more LGBT+-friendly wedding invitations.
Twenty years ago, it wouldn’t be uncommon for “traditional” weddings to be paid for by the bride’s parents. But, modern-day and LGBT+ couples are shaking up this standard. Whether you have two brides or no bride at all, the way we host weddings in 2021 is much more diverse than in years past.
Although guests don’t need to know who is paying for the wedding, including this on your invitations is often done as a sign of respect.
Some couples choose to pay for their weddings themselves, while others may have one set of parents paying. In some instances, couples will actually split the bill with their parents or accept some form of contribution toward the grand total.
These differences can affect the wording of your invitation. Of course, couples are also welcome to skip this formality altogether. Whatever wording you choose is ultimately up to you and your partner.
Fortunately, adding your own message is easy when you use one of Zola’s customizable invitation designs. Couples can choose from dozens of stylish fonts, colors, and paper types to get a final product that’s truly unique.
Another heteronormative tradition that’s popular for wedding invitations is listing the bride’s name first. For many LGBT+ couples, this guideline is one that’s best forgotten, and that’s totally fine.
There are plenty of other ways to determine whose name is listed first on your invitations. For example, if one person’s parents are taking on a large portion of the bill, his or her name can be listed first.
For couples financing their own wedding, the order of the names is entirely up to you. An easy way to make this decision is by going in alphabetical order, or simply reading the names aloud and choosing the one that sounds best.
The bottom line? Don’t stress about this. Wedding planning resources can often make LGBT feel excluded by insisting on these traditions. At the end of the day, a wedding should be about the love that the couple has for one another—not the minor details.
For couples that have one or more non-binary individuals, the gendered language of wedding invitations will need to be modified. The most common way to use gender-neutral language is by incorporating they/them pronouns into your message, and many wedding invitations already do this, anyway.
To get a better idea of what this looks like, we’ve included some samples of non-binary invitation wording:
“Taylor and Ash invite you to share in a celebration of their love. June 23rd, 2021.”
“Anne, child of Ted and Marie, and Alex, child of Jen and Nick, request the honor of your presence on their wedding day: Friday, the fourteenth of May, 2021.”
“Dillon would like to formally invite you to share in a celebration of love with their partner, Rami. 5 July, 2021.”
As you can see, they/them pronouns can be used for both plural and singular references. Depending on the complexity of your chosen message, these are just some of the ways you can easily incorporate gender-neutral language into your invitation wording.
Another element to consider when drafting your invitations is the titles that you’ll be using. With more formal invitations, prefixes are often put before a person’s first or last name. Gendered prefixes typically include Mr., Ms., and Mrs., but many non-binary individuals are not comfortable with the use of these terms.
Rather than forgoing prefixes all together, there are a number of gender-neutral options to choose from. Some of the most common titles that non-binary people prefer to use include:
Mx. – Gender-neutral alternative to Mr. and Mrs., typically pronounced em-ex.
Ind. – Short for individual.
Pr. – Short for person.
Misc. – Short for miscellus, the latin word for “mixed”. Pronounced like misk.
Whatever titles you feel most comfortable with, don’t be afraid to put them on your invitations. This is your wedding, and it’s vital that you stick to language that makes you feel like your truest self. Other gender-neutral terms that may be used in the context of a wedding include marrier and celebrant, in place of the traditional bride or groom.
No matter what wording you choose, all wedding invitations need to have certain information that guests should know. In this portion, we’ll be breaking down everything you should include when crafting your wedding invitations:
Names – As previously mentioned, names are a big part of your wedding invitations. The couple’s names should be included, typically in large or bold font. Parents’ names, or whoever is hosting the wedding, may also be included. Some couples choose to include their parents’ names even if they are not financing the wedding, too. Both first and last names are almost always included in this portion, but middle names and prefixes are optional.
Date and time – The date of your wedding should be the second most prominent line on the invitations. This information is typically placed below the names and may be formatted in a number of ways. Some couples choose to spell out the date, month, and year, while others opt for a combination of letters and numbers. Including the day of the week can also be helpful for guests when planning out their schedules. After the date, you’ll need to specify the time at which the ceremony starts.
Reception information – Simpler weddings will have a note at the bottom that says reception follows, but others may include a separate invitation for this portion of the event. Including a separate card is a good idea if you’re planning on using a different venue for the reception, or if this part of the wedding takes place at a later time. Some couples also choose to invite a larger number of guests to their reception, while keeping the actual ceremony on the smaller side. In any of these cases, you’ll need to include names, dates, and locations on this card, too.
Dress code – Although not mandatory, most couples include a line regarding dress code in the bottom right-hand corner of the invitation. This is generally a good rule of thumb to follow, as it helps guests fully prepare for the tone of the event. Attending a wedding with improper attire is embarrassing, and your guests will thank you for being thorough here.
RSVP card – Couples need to know how many people can actually attend their wedding. This means that you’ll want to include a separate RSVP card for guests to fill out and mail back. If you don’t want to rely on snail mail when crafting your guest list, you can streamline everything through your wedding website. Zola offers free wedding websites that are fully customizable—no website building experience necessary. From there, you can link our guest list services, which track RSVPs, meal orders, and more, all in one place.
In addition to your actual invitation, an invitation suite may be included to provide guests with more information.
An invitation suite is a collection of other documents that are mailed alongside your invitations. This includes your RSVP cards, as well as:
An invitation suite isn’t always necessary, but it can be helpful if you’re hosting a big celebration. Traditional invitation etiquette is pretty limiting for what you can include on the actual card, not to mention that you may run out of space if you’re writing too much.
Your invitation suite is also an opportunity to make some fun, creative choices. Couples may develop a theme or color palette when designing this package. Stylish elements you can add to your suite include:
Building an invitation suite is an opportunity for couples to show off their personal style before the big day. Your invitations should also coincide with the overall theme of your wedding, for a truly seamless experience.
Now it’s time for the fun part: selecting your wedding invitations. There are plenty of stylistic elements that couples can utilize in order to create their perfect card design, from the color to the typography, and even the paper type.
Let’s take a look at some popular options for LGBT+ wedding invitations:
Color – Your wedding invitations should be as vibrant as the love you share, and what better way to portray these feelings than with color? Traditional invitations will typically stick to muted, pastel, or neutral colors, but modern couples may opt for brighter shades that really pop.
Foil – Foil is a great way to add a touch of elegance to your invitations. Metallic elements in gold, silver, or rose gold can be added to the card’s details. Foil will look best along the lettering or edges of your invitation.
Photos – For a truly personalized invitation design, consider using a photo of you and your soon-to-be as the backdrop. Custom photos allow your guests to feel more connected to your invitation, and this is also a great way to use any engagement photos that you may have taken previously.
Letterpress – Letterpress refers to a high-quality printing style where text is slightly indented into the paper. Invitations that utilize letterpress offer an elegant feel that’s absolutely timeless. Color can also be incorporated into your letterpress message for a look that’s even more unique.
Paper type – The type of paper you choose can greatly influence the overall feel of your invitations. Smooth or pearlescent paper will provide a modern, glossy finish, while eggshell and recycled paper can lend to a more bohemian look. Linen invitations are an interesting choice that’s soft, lightweight, and perfect for intricate designs. Remember that your guests will be holding these cards, so it’s important to choose a material that feels nice in your hands.
Style – The style you choose for your invitations is going to help prepare guests for the actual wedding day. This is why it’s crucial that you match the vibe of the wedding with these card designs. Examples of popular wedding styles include:
Bohemian – Boho weddings have become particularly popular in recent years. Elements of old and new come together to create an ethereal, rustic feel. Pair your bohemian-style wedding with the perfect invitations by using muted pastels and floral details.
Romantic – Romantic weddings are all about the colors. Deep, velvety red and creamy ivory are some of the most common shades for romantic wedding invitations. Thick paper with a delicate overlay will add the perfect amount of romance to your wedding stationery.
Beach – Beach and destination weddings typically warrant a matching invitation style. Palm leaf or seashell details will make a fun addition to your card designs, along with aqua hues reminiscent of the ocean waves.
Modern – A modern couple calls for a modern invitation design, and the options are anything but ordinary. Modern invitations employ crisp lines, striking colors, and bold typography for a look that really jumps off the page.
Vintage – For a more retro look, vintage invitations are a fun option with plenty of sophistication. These designs will pair perfectly with a glamorous, old Hollywood-style wedding. Flowing typography, warm colors, and distinctive artwork are some of the highlights that you’ll get with this invitation style.
Orientation – Wedding invitations come in all shapes and sizes. When browsing for your invitation design, consider whether you want a card that folds or not, as well as landscape vs. portrait orientation. The size and shape of your card will also affect the amount of information that you can include, so be careful of smaller designs if you’re not planning on using an invitation suite.
With so many options at your fingertips, it can feel a little overwhelming at first. That’s why Zola makes it easy to find the wedding invitation of your dreams. Couples can search for pre-made templates based on color, style, paper type, and more. If you’re torn between a few different options, you can order up to five free samples at a time. This allows you to see and feel the design in person to ensure that there are no regrets after you’ve made a final decision.
Couples should be proud of their love, and the right wedding invitations can help empower their message to all of their friends and family. While many aspects of the wedding planning process are heteronormative, there are creative ways to change the messaging and festivities to match the shape of your unique love.
Here at Zola, we can’t get enough when it comes to love. That’s why we’ve made wedding planning easy for all couples, so you can spend more time with your spouse-to-be. From free wedding websites to custom card designs, we offer everything you need to plan your special day. Looking for LGBTQ+ wedding vendors? All it takes is a few clicks of a button.
Stop stressing and start planning the easy way, at Zola!