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Chapter 3: Wedding Invitations Wording & Etiquette

Wedding invitations can be the most mind-boggling part of the wedding planning process. Inner envelopes, outer envelopes, response cards, oh my!

First take a deep breath and remember that wedding planning is supposed to be a joyful time. And recruit reinforcements – your wedding party and parents can help you narrow down your guest list, format, and address your invitations. Make it fun and throw an "invitation celebration" – a Sunday afternoon where your wedding party gathers to assemble and address your invitations. (Serve food once everyone is done addressing the invitations - you don't want coffee stains on your wedding invites).

Orange Red Floral Wedding Invitations

What to Include in a Wedding Invitation

Here are the components you'll need to begin constructing your invitations.

Wedding invitation components

  • Inner Envelope
  • Outer Envelope
  • Wedding Seal
  • Postage (for outer envelope)
  • Postage (for response card)
  • Insertions
    • Tissue Paper
    • Reception Card
    • Map or Directions Card
    • Response Return Envelope
    • Response Card

Etiquette for Acknowledging Guests

Your wedding invitations will reflect your wedding, be it a casual barefoot-on-the-beach bash or a traditional church ceremony. While etiquette can be flexible when acknowledging guests depending on how formal the ceremony is, following traditional conventions mean you will avoid any faux pas no matter the theme.

Acknowledging a couple with different last names

On the outer envelope, list the recipients in alphabetical order. Include titles, first names, middle initials and last name.

Mrs. Jane B. Keening
Mr. Paul D. Simon
2350 Wicker Lane
Dallas, Texas 75201


Storkie Tip: If you wish to invite a
couple who do not live together, it
is acceptable to send one
invitation to the person the
marrying couple is closest to,
following these same conventions.

Sending two separate invitations is
also acceptable.

On the inner envelope you can either list in alphabetical order Mrs. Keening and Mr. Simon or Jane and Paul depending on the level of formality you desire.

Acknowledging a single woman, a divorcée or a widow

Single women should always be referred to with the title "Ms." on the outer envelope.

Divorced and/or widowed women who have kept their husband's last name can be addressed as either "Mrs." or "Ms.," but it is polite to find out which title they prefer before you send your invitations.

On the inner envelope, the same title with her last name can be used, or just her first and last name sans title.

Acknowledging doctors

Doctors are indicated with the prefix "Dr." If two people in a couple are doctors and share the same last name, the outer envelope can read:

Drs. Roberts
55 Main Street
Boston, MA 02210


Storkie Tip: Addressing a wedding
invitation to only one person will
indicate that you only expect that
one person will attend the wedding.

For this reason, it is helpful to
discern the names of any significant
others or children and include them
on the invitation and/or its inner
envelope if you wish them to
attend.

If the doctors do not share the same last name, list both guests in alphabetical order with the prefix "Dr." leading both names.

The inner envelope can read either The Roberts or Dr. Meyers and Dr. Steven accordingly.

Acknowledging children

Young children do not need to be included on the outer envelope, especially in the case of a very formal wedding. To ensure your guests know their children are invited, include the children's names on the inner envelope, following the names of any adults.

Acknowledging a guest's guest

Particularly in the scenario of a very formal wedding, it can be considered gauche to include "and Guest" anywhere on the wedding invitation. It is encouraged to find out the name of any significant other that may be attending your wedding, and write their full name on the wedding invitation.


Storkie Tip: No matter what the
theme, you should always address
your invitations in a neat, legible
script and use black ink. Many
couples choose to have their
envelopes professionally addressed
by a calligrapher. Calligraphy is the
art of elegantly curved handwriting
and adds a stylish, sophisticated
touch to formal invitations.
Printed calligraphy is also a great option.

Ruby Pocket with Photo Wedding Invitations

When to Order Wedding Invitations

Wedding invitations should be ordered as soon as the date of the ceremony is set and the guest list has been confirmed. This generally should occur three to fourth months prior to the wedding date. Take a look at our Wedding Invitations at Storkie.com when it’s time to order!

When to Send Wedding Invitations

Wedding invitations should be mailed six weeks prior to the wedding date and in the case of destination weddings, a few months prior to the wedding. Request to receive guests' response cards no later than three weeks prior to the wedding date.

Tri-Fold Chocolate Shimmer Wedding Invitations

Popular Wedding Invitation Wording

Now that you understand the wedding invitation assembly process, make every word count! Even the most seasoned grammar girl can feel intimidated when it comes to writing wedding invitations, but all you need to do is follow these simple steps.

1. Write the invitation through the voice of the host

Normally, the first two names that appear on a wedding invitation are those paying for the event. Traditionally, this is the parents of the bride, so it would read:

Mrs. Sarah and Mr. James Buckley

Otherwise, if the bride and groom host the event, the invitation would read:

Ms. Jane Beth Smith and Mr. Samuel Lawrence Michaels

or

Together with their families,
Jane Smith and Sam Michaels


Storkie Tip: It's common for wedding
invitations to a Jewish ceremony to
favor the word "and" instead of "to".

2. Request that your guests attend your wedding

Common etiquette dictates the wedding ceremony venue determines the "request line" in your invitation. If your wedding takes place in a house of worship, your invitation should read:

Request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter

If the ceremony takes place in a secular location, the wording should read:

Request the pleasure of your company
at the marriage of their daughter

or

Would be elated for you to attend
the marriage of their daughter


Storkie Tip: Women always go first
when using the first name. For a
more formal feel, add the middle
name of the bride and groom to the
introduction.

If the ceremony is informal and hosted by the parents:

Would be delighted by your presence
at the wedding of their children

If the bride and groom are hosting the event:

Invite you to attend the celebration of their marriage

3. Tell your guests who's getting married

If the parents of the bride are hosting, write out the first and middle name of the bride, followed by the groom's title, his first and middle name.

Jane Beth
to
Mr. Samuel Lawrence

4. When will you be getting married?

When writing a date and time in an invitation, it is more formal to spell out each element:

Saturday, the twenty-fourth of July, two thousand and ten
at five o'clock in the afternoon

Always remember to capitalize both the day and the month. If you plan a wedding at 3:30 pm, the invitation should read:

Half past three o'clock in the afternoon

5. Where are you getting married?

For small locations, or if the wedding takes place at a residence, write out the full address:

The Golf Club Inn
7654 Thompson Road
San Francisco, California

If the wedding takes place at a well-known location, you can choose not to include the address:

The Space Needle
Seattle, Washington

6. When is it time to party?

Whether you choose to include your reception information on the wedding invitation, or on a separate reception card, the text should notify the guests where the reception will take place, and if you will be serving a full meal.

If the reception takes place at the same venue as the ceremony:

Reception to follow in the Rose Room

If you are not serving a full meal at the reception, the invitation will read:

Dessert and dancing to follow

Or

And afterwards for cocktails and cake in the Rose Room

If the reception takes place at a separate location, or if the reception doesn't immediately follow the ceremony, the invitation would read:

Reception
Seven o'clock

Seasons Grand Hotel
123 Alpine Road
Rogers, Montana

Diamond Pocket with Photo Wedding Invitations

Popular Wedding Invitation Wording

Formal wedding invitation

Mrs. Sarah and Mr. James Buckley

Request the honour of your presence at the marriage of their daughter

Jane Beth
to
Mr. Samuel Lawrence

On Saturday, the twenty-fourth of July,
two thousand and ten
at five o'clock in the afternoon

The Golf Club Inn
7654 Thompson Road
San Francisco, California

Reception to follow in the Rose Room

Casual wedding invitation

Together with their families,
Jane Smith and Sam Michaels

Invite you to attend the celebration
of their marriage

On Saturday, the twenty-fourth of July,
two thousand and ten
at half past three o'clock in the afternoon

The Space Needle
Seattle, WA

Reception
Seven o'clock

Seasons Grand Hotel
123 Alpine Road
Seattle, Washington

Response Cards

Response cards are included with the wedding invitation so guests have an easy way to inform their hosts if they will be attending.

Popular wedding invitation response card formats

Postcards or small cards are the most popular formats for response cards. Both should come pre-stamped and pre-addressed, and in the case of a card, with its own envelope. The return address on a response card can be printed, rather than hand-written.


Storkie Tip: In the instance of a very
formal wedding, response cards can
be considered inappropriate.
Include
The favour of a reply is requested by
June 16, 2006

on the invitation, and guests will be
responsible to respond in their
own way.

Popular wedding invitation response card wording

Fill-in-the-blank response cards are the most convenient way for the wedding host to confirm who will be attending the ceremony.

Details to include

  • Space for guests to write guests' names
  • Space to indicate whether guests will be attending or declining
  • Date by when guests should reply
  • Space for guests to include a personal note

Popular wording examples


Storkie Tip: Number your guest list
and pencil a tiny, corresponding
number on your response cards.
That way, if someone sends in a
blank response card, you can easily
cross reference it with your guest list.

Formal response card wording

The favour of a reply is requested
by June 16, 2010.
M__________________________
____Accepts with pleasure
____Declines with regrets

Casual response card wording

___________________________

____is/are looking forward to dining, dancing,
and celebrating
____has/have to miss the fun

Kindly reply before June 16, 2010

Destination Wedding Reception Cards


Storkie Tip: If you're suffering from
envelope overload, consider our
convenient Inventations Wedding
Invitation Pockets and Wraps.

Invitation Assembly

Get organized before you begin addressing, stamping and sealing envelopes. Clear off a table and place your insertions in the order in which they go. No more than two people should be working on your invitations at any time because it creates confusion.

Create piles of your insertions and make sure that each pile has the same count – if you have a stack of 150 invitations, make sure you have a stack of 150 of everything else.

Inserts (in order from top to bottom)

  • Tissue Paper
  • Reception Card
  • Map or Directions Card
  • Response Return Envelope
  • Response Card

Wedding invitations have two envelopes - both an inner and an outer. All of your insertions are enclosed inside the inner envelope with the printed side facing the flap.

If your invitations are single fold (that is, one single card) with the wording on the outside, your insertions are placed on top. If your invitations are multi-fold with the wording inside the first fold, then your insertions are tucked under the first fold.

The inner envelope

All family members who are invited should be included on the inside envelope. The inner envelope contains the wedding invitation, reception card, response card, and/or direction cards.

The outer envelope

The outer envelope encloses the inner envelope and the entire wedding invitation package.

Reception cards

Reception cards, printed with the reception venue and time, are inserted with the wedding invitation into the inner envelope.

Directions and map cards

In the age of GPS and online maps, sending out directions to your wedding is no longer a necessity, but it is a courtesy. If you choose to send out directions or map cards, enclose them with the invitations – no extra envelopes needed.

Do not seal the outer envelopes until you make sure all your counts are even. That way, if your insertion piles don't have the same count, you could go back and see which invitation is missing an insert.


Storkie Tip: When you mail your
invitations, request that they be
hand canceled with a rubber stamp.
Your envelopes will look more
attractive and won't have any of
those unsightly, machine-made
black marks.

Response Card/Printed Return Address Envelope

Response cards, if you choose to have them, are enclosed with the invitation, tucked under the flap of the response envelope. Postage is included on the response envelope and the response envelope is printed with the address of the person(s) organizing the guest list. It does not have to be the same address as on the invitation envelope. This way, your guests can easily drop their responses off at the nearest mailbox.

Wedding Seals

Wedding seals add an elegant finishing touch to your invitations and help define the personality of your big day. Affix your wedding seals to the back of the outer envelopes – when all the assembling is complete. You can also put wedding seals on your thank you notes, programs, and wedding favor boxes.

Postage

Your postage will depend on the number of enclosures and the weight of your invitation. You may need extra postage. When you first purchase your invitations, bring a fully assembled invitation to your post office where they will weigh it and tell you precisely how much postage is required. Peruse their decorative stamps and see if you could tie in the stamps with your wedding theme. We also have customized wedding stamps ready-for-order that add a fun finishing touch to your wedding invites.

Also, don't forget to purchase the stamps you'll need for your response envelopes!

Custom Wedding Photo Postage Stamps


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