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:
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.
Customize Zola’s paper invitations with rounded corners and your own choice of wording.
The Dos and Don’ts of General Invitation 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.
A brushstroke-meets-calligraphy invitation design with matching RSVP card from Zola
The Dos and Don’ts of Names and 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:
- DON’T spell out courtesy titles, except for Doctor.
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.
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’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
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
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
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
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.