You thought that you had it all covered. After all, how difficult would it be to come up with a few lines of formal wording? But never in your most far-off dreams had you fathomed about all the conundrum that would ensue when you set out to put those words on paper.
We are talking about formal wedding invitation wording. A seemingly simple task that often leaves people wired and clueless. A lot of individuals take the easier but pricier way out and hire a professional, who then, comes up with an impressive concoction of words that seems to reach out to everyone in a perfect way. It covers all the bases.
And then there are others who turn to the ever-so-wise internet for help and as a last resort, rip-off something that has been used a billion times already.
Picture this. How interested would you be in reading a wedding invite that says, ‘Join us as we celebrate the marriage of our son Mr. Groom to Ms. Bride blah blah blah!’
I certainly wouldn’t be too impressed reading that. The fact is that despite being a formal wedding, the wedding invite can be personalized, without making it seem like an event where you’d have to ask for permission to breathe.
Here’s our small guide on formal wedding invitation wording that takes the guesswork out of it and helps you understand the etiquettes, the do’s and the don’ts.
The basics of formal wedding invitation wording
The traditional rules of a formal wedding invite can be divided into lines that simplify the whole process and helps you understand it better.
The Host Line: Undoubtedly, this is the most important but also the trickiest of all lines to the word. The Host line is the lead to the invitation and it sets the tone for the remainder of it. And there are etiquettes to be followed here. Traditionally, weddings used to be hosted by the bride’s parents. So, there was a rule to write their names before anyone else, right on top of the invitation.
Mr. and Mrs. William Moore request the honor of your esteemed presence at the marriage of their daughter, Jessica Moore to Richard White, on Sunday, the 19th of October at (address).
However, it looks a lot more gracious if you include the names of the parents of the groom too, irrespective of who’s hosting the wedding or paying the bills.
Mr. and Mrs. William Moore request the honor of your esteemed presence at the marriage of their daughter, Jessica Moore to Richard White, son of Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Edward White, on Sunday, the 19th of October at (address).
A lot of couples these days host their weddings with their parents. The above-mentioned example also works perfectly in such a scenario. The wording can be altered slightly to make it sound like a combined affair.
Mr. and Mrs. William Moore and Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Edward White request the honor of your esteemed presence at the marriage of their children, Jessica Moore and Richard White on Sunday, the 19th of October at (address)
These, of course, are just a couple of possible situations. There may be other situations that demand the wording to be altered. For example, if the parents are divorced and the bride’s mother is hosting the wedding, the parents are divorced, but both need to be mentioned in the invite or the couple hosting the wedding with their friends only.
Irrespective of the many possibilities, the host line, is reserved for the names of the hosts of the wedding.
The Request Line: As the name suggests, this is the line where you request the guests to attend the wedding. A lot of people make the mistake of using the most commonly used sentence ‘request the honor of your presence’. However, the use of the word ‘Honor’ (Honour in British English), implies that the wedding will be held in a place of worship. For example, a church, a synagogue, a temple or a mosque. The word ‘Honor’ is used as respect to God. So, if you are hosting the wedding at a beachfront, then using the word ‘honor’ in the formal wedding invitation wording is considered to be disrespectful. There are many other ways of inviting the guests without going out of line traditionally. Some examples are: ‘Invite you to join us in the celebration’, ‘request the pleasure of your company’ and ‘join us as we celebrate.’
The Bride and Groom line: The rules get simpler as we progress in the invitation. When it comes to writing the names of the bride and groom, there is only one rule that has been followed traditionally informal wedding invitation wordings. The name of the bride is written before that of the groom. While writing the names, the bride is usually referred by her first and middle names. On the other hand, the full name and the title of the groom are mentioned.
Date and Time Lines: One of the common mistakes often made in wedding invitations is to write the dates in numerals. This is completely acceptable if it’s a casual do. However, if it’s a formal event, everything should be written in full. For example, Twenty-Fifth of October at 5’ o Clock. Writing the date is not mandatory because it is assumed that you will not send out an invite for an event a year ahead. If the time if Five Thirty instead, then you must write it as ‘Half past Five.’
Address: Thankfully, there are no rules to be followed here. All you need to do is write the address to the location precisely to ensure that your guests are not confused. The city must be explicitly mentioned. If you are planning on hosting the wedding in a foreign country, which is in trend these days, then it becomes all the more necessary to ensure that the address is correctly written without any typos.
Reception: Formal invites often have a separate card for the reception. However, if you are not crunched for space on the invite, you can print it on the same card. If the venue for the wedding and the reception are the same, then you can write ‘and afterward for the reception.’ If the reception is at a different venue, then you will have to mention the address following this line.
RSVP: You can either include a separate response card along with the invite which the guests fill up and reply via mail, or you can create a wedding website where the guests can respond.
The Gift Line: This is a recent but important addition to the list of etiquettes to be followed while creating a formal wedding invitation. But it is a subject of debate and is best left to the people to decide themselves. The question is, do you want to be left with 15 pieces of fancy plates that you will most probably give away or will occupy valuable space in your home? Or would you rather get cash that you can use towards your honeymoon or for something more important, as a down payment towards a new house?
Let’s face it. Unless you are a millionaire who made it big with an internet startup, you are probably starting your married life penniless with the support of friends and family and there is absolutely nothing inappropriate in requesting that the gifts be monetary.
However, there is a way to mention it politely without sounding crude and making your guests turn up their noses in disgust.
Here’s an example.
‘The most valuable present that you can give us is your presence. But if you would like to mark the occasion with a gift, then monetary contributions will be greatly appreciated.’
‘We have been sharing a home for a while now. So rather than a traditional gift registry, we have decided to ask for monetary contributions which will help towards our honeymoon/new home/ new car.’
The very words ‘Formal Wedding Invitation wording’ makes people think that the rules are written in stone without any leeway. The fact is that it is entirely possible to conform to all the traditional rules without being boring.
Writing down the wedding invitation words can be a fun and rewarding task. Here are some ideas to make it an exciting process.
Hold a contest for friends: Find yourself twiddling your thumbs at the lack of ideas? Let your friends do the thinking. Hold a contest and let them brainstorm to come up with some wording choices for your wedding invitation. The winner gets a special gift on your wedding day. You can expect some magnificent ideas and some downright quirky ones.
Make it an informal one: After all, it’s your day. Who better to decide what words to use in your formal wedding invitation than you? As we said before, all the rules as mentioned above are the ones that have been followed traditionally. There is no reason to stick to the same. You can experiment with simple words while following the same traditional rules. You don’t need to be a wordsmith to come up with a decent personalized invite.
That’s just about it. We hope you enjoy coming up with the wording for your formal wedding invitation.
P.S. Don’t forget to send us an invite.