Cordially Invited: Wedding Invitation Tips

Expert tips on choosing, ordering, addressing, and mailing wedding invitations.
What to Say

With satin ribbons tied gently, elegant papers matched perfectly, and graceful swirls of letters cascading across the page, a wedding invitation is the announcement of a dream-fulfilling day. It speaks of promises to be made and the gathering of family and friends. It is a guest's first glimpse into a milestone event.

The wording of a formal wedding invitation follows a specific style that celebrates all parties involved while stating the details of the day.

The first line announces the hosts. Traditionally, these are the bride's parents, but now it is fairly common for the bride and groom or others to serve as hosts. A conventional line stating "request the honour of your presence" is appropriate for formal weddings, and "request the pleasure of your company" is acceptable for more casual ceremonies.

The next few lines vary, depending upon who is hosting the event. Often these lines indicate the hosts' relationship to the bride, followed by the bride's full name. The word "to" has a line of its own and precedes the groom's full name.

On the next lines, the day, month, and year are spelled out: "May 5, 2007" becomes "Saturday, the fifth of May, Two thousand seven." The time, on a separate line, also is written out (e.g., "five o'clock in the afternoon"). 

The wedding location gets its own line, and the city and state are next. Finally, if all wedding guests are invited to the reception, the last line gives information about the location and time; for example, "Reception begins at six o'clock at the Westover Golf and Country Club."

Check a wedding planning book or stationery store for resources for the wording of an invitation to match your needs.

Continued on page 2:  What to Send