wedding invitation wording & etiquette

Anatomy of a Wedding Invitation Learn more about wedding websites
  1. Monogram
    This element symbolizes the union and uses the initials of the couples’ first names.
  2. Hostline
    Whoever is hosting the celebration is mentioned first.
  3. Couples’ Names
    The bride’s typically comes before the groom’s.
  4. The Details
    Spelling out the date in words helps to avoid confusion.
  5. Reception
    Set the tone for after the ceremony.

Crafting your wedding invitation wording can be a little tricky due to the etiquette rules to navigate and maybe a couple of sticky situations to figure out. But in a nutshell, the wording should reflect the overall vibe of your wedding day. We’ve compiled several wedding invitation wording examples, tips and etiquette to help and inspire you.

what to include


Host line

A wedding invitation wording starts with a host line. This is where you list who’s hosting the wedding (a.k.a. who is paying for the wedding). Since traditionally, the bride’s parents pay for the celebration, listing their names on the host line is a way of acknowledging their generosity.

If the couples are either paying for the wedding themselves (in this case, you can omit the host line entirely) or receiving financial contributions from parents on both sides—in this case, you can list all parents’ names or opt for something simpler like, “Together with their parents” or “Together with their families.”

Tip: It is important to word the host line so that it feels comfortable to you and your spouse-to-be as a couple. Here are a few rules to help you figure out the best host-line wording for your family dynamics:

  • The word “and” in between two names traditionally implies that those people are married.
  • Hosts who are not married should be on separate lines.
  • If the parents are divorced and you want to include both as hosts, keep each parent on a separate line.
  • If you’re going to include the name of stepparent, keep it on the same line.
  • Names should not be listed in order of who paid more.
  • If you want to include the name of a deceased parent, you’ll need to rearrange things a bit, as someone who has passed can’t actually serve as a host. A common way to honor a deceased parent is alongside one of the couple’s names as “Lauren Martinez, daughter of Marta Martinez,” or “Lauren Martinez, daughter of Robert Martinez and the late Marta Martinez.”

See Host line wording examples

One Set of Parents Hosting (Married)
Include the parents’ full names, with middle names (for very formal weddings), and never their initials. If they have different last names, write “and” to join the two names.

  • Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Timothy Williams (very formal; middle name is included)
  • Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Williams (formal)
  • Mr. and Mrs. Christopher and Sarah Williams (formal; includes both first names)
  • Christopher and Sarah Williams (less formal)

One Set of Parents Hosting (Divorced)
Include the mother’s name first, followed by the father’s name. Do not use “and” to connect the two names; rather, each name should get their own separate line.

  • Mrs. Rachel Arroyo
  • Mr. Michael Nguyen

Both Sets of Parents Hosting
For different-sex couples, list the bride’s parents’ names at the top of the invite, then the groom’s parents’ names. For same-sex couples, list the names according to preference or in the order that looks best with the invitation design.

  • Mr. and Mrs. Aaron Wong and Mr. and Mrs. Adam Hollis (formal)
  • Aaron and Alisha Wong together with Adam and Beatrice Hollis (less formal)

Couple is hosting with their families
When the couple and both of their families are contributing to the cost of the wedding, many choose to add a line such as “Together with their families” as the host line.

  • Together with their families
  • Together with our families
  • Together with their parents

Couple Is Hosting
If the couple is hosting the wedding themselves, you can skip the host line altogether or start the invitation wording with a warm and welcoming introduction, such as:

  • With open hearts
  • Together with full hearts
  • With great joy
  • With hearts full of love and joy

See Less


Request line

The request line is the "please come" line. This is where you extend the invitation to attend your wedding. Use this section to set the tone for your celebration. If the wedding is formal, use a more formal language to reflect the occasion (e.g., “request the honor of your presence…”); if the wedding is casual, you can use a less formal language (e.g., “Would love for you to join them...” or “Want you to come party with us…”). Here are a few more things to keep in mind:

  • “The honor of your presence” is traditionally used to denote a religious service. Some couples opt to spell “honour” using the British spelling to evoke a more formal and traditional feel. (Note: If you’re using “honour” on the invitation, we recommend matching it with “favour” as in “favour of your reply” on the RSVP card.)
  • “The pleasure of your company” (or variations on this) is used to denote a non-religious ceremony locale.

See Request line wording examples

  • request the honor of your presence
  • request the honour of your presence (for formal, religious ceremonies)
  • request the pleasure of your company
  • cordially invite you to attend
  • would love for you to join them
  • would be delighted by your presence
  • invite you to celebrate with them
  • invite you to their wedding
  • joyfully request the pleasure of your company
  • invite you to celebrate their marriage
  • invite you to join them
  • invite you to the celebration of
  • invite you to share in the festivities
  • invite you to share in their joy
  • would love your presence
  • extend this invitation to celebrate
  • invite you to witness their love story

See Less


Action line

Here, you’re outlining what you are inviting people to share in. Some examples:

  • Traditionally, with the bride’s parent’s hosting, this line is usually something like, “At the marriage of their daughter.”
  • If both parents are hosting, the line might read “At the marriage of their children.”
  • If you’re hosting yourselves, the line could be something like “At the celebration of their union” or “As they tie the knot.”

See Action line wording examples

  • at the marriage of their daughter (if the bride’s parents are hosting)
  • at the marriage of their children (if both sets of parents are hosting)
  • at the celebration of their union
  • as they tie the knot
  • as they say “I do!”
  • in celebration of their marriage
  • to celebrate their wedding

See Less

Empire by Jennifer Postorino

Empire by Jennifer Postorino

Shop Wedding Invitations


Couples’ Names

This one might seem easy—that is, until you start thinking about the nitty-gritty details. Whose name goes first? Do you have to include last names? What about middle names? There really are no right or wrong answers, so do whatever feels most comfortable to you both, but here are a few suggestions:

  • For different-sex couples, the bride’s name typically goes first, followed by the groom’s name. If the bride’s parents’ names are listed at the top, the bride’s name can just be her first and middle name (without last name), while the groom’s name is listed in full, or his first and middle names are listed, followed by the line “Son of Mr. & Mrs. Stephen Wong.”
  • For same-sex couples, you can list the names in alphabetical order by last name, or in the order you choose (or perhaps in the order that looks best with the invitation design).
  • For a less formal feel, you may opt to list first names only.


Date & Time

  • Traditionally, the date and time should be spelled out in full. For example, if your ceremony is on September 15, 2024, at 4:30 p.m., the wording should read, “Saturday, the fifteenth of September, two thousand twenty-one, at half after four in the afternoon.”
  • The day of the week and the month should be capitalized. The year should be lowercase.
  • There is no “and” when spelling out the year.
  • Time of day should be spelled out as “four o’clock” or “half after four o’clock.” Note that “half after” is the most traditional way to indicate time. However, less formal invitations can use “half past four o’clock” or “four-thirty.”
  • Traditionally, there is no need to add phrases such as “in the afternoon” or “in the evening” unless the event takes place at times like 8, 9 or 10. You should then designate “in the morning” or “in the evening” for clarity. However, some stationery designers add these phrases to fill out a line to improve the overall look of the invite design. This is totally up to you and your designer.
  • Evening begins at five o’clock, otherwise it is considered afternoon from noon until four o’clock.
  • It is important to note that these formal date and time rules are frequently broken in more modern invitation designs, where the date and time are listed using numerals; using numerals is also preferred for more informal weddings. Be consistent with the level of formality you want your wedding to be from the invitation wording to the attire, ceremony, venue, and party.

See Date & time wording examples

  • 4:00 p.m. can be spelled out as:
    • four o’clock (traditional)
    • four o’clock in the afternoon (also acceptable)
    • 4:00 p.m. (informal)
    • 4:00 p.m. in the afternoon (informal)
  • 4:30 p.m. can be spelled out as:
    • half after four o’clock (traditional)
    • half past four o’clock (also acceptable)
    • four-thirty in the afternoon (also acceptable)
    • 4:30 p.m. (informal)
    • 4:30 p.m. in the afternoon (informal)
  • 5:30 p.m. can be spelled out as:
    • half after five o’clock (traditional)
    • half past five o’clock (also acceptable)
    • five-thirty in the evening (also acceptable)
    • 5:30 p.m. (informal)
    • 5:30 p.m. in the evening (informal)

See Less



  • List the ceremony venue as follows: “Venue Name” on one line with “City, State” on the following line; for formal weddings, the state name is usually spelled out (instead of abbreviations).
  • The venue’s street address is traditionally not included (although you may decide to list it), unless it is a private residence.
  • Zip codes are not usually included.


Reception line

  • If the reception will be at the same location as the ceremony, you can simply say, “Reception to follow” or “Dinner and dancing to follow.”
  • If the reception is at a different location, you can list the venue on the following line, or you may decide to include a separate insert card (called a reception card) inviting guests to the reception, with the venue’s full address.
  • If you’re not serving a full meal, this would be a great place to let guests know by saying something like, “Cake, punch, and merriment to follow” or "Join us after the ceremony for cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, and dancing."
  • You can also use this line to get creative and set the tone for the reception with something like, “Join us for an intimate dinner following…” or "Drinks, dancing, and shenanigans to follow."

See Reception line wording examples

  • Reception to follow
  • Reception immediately following the ceremony
  • Dinner and dancing to follow
  • Cake, punch, and merriment to follow (if you’re not serving a full meal)
  • Join us after the ceremony for cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and dancing. (if you’re not serving a full meal)
  • A dessert reception following the ceremony (if you’re not serving a full meal)
  • The celebration continues with a reception
  • Join them for the reception celebration
  • An evening of celebrating to follow
  • A celebration with dinner, drinks, and dancing will follow
  • Join us for dinner, dancing, and celebrating
  • Fabulous food, fun, and festivities to follow
  • Dine, dance, celebrate…
  • Some dinner, some dancing, and all eternity to follow
  • Feasting and merriment to follow
  • Feasting and fun to follow
  • Dining, dancing, and happily ever after to follow
  • To share in our happiness, kindly join us for a dinner reception
  • Dinner and dancing under the stars
  • Shake, rattle and roll with us
  • Bring your dancing shoes! Dinner and music immediately following the ceremony.

See Less

Other Considerations

Dress code
This is optional but can be helpful for guests. However, if your wedding is black tie, you must include that on the invitation. If you don’t include dress code information on the invitation, then guests will infer attire details based on the formality of the wedding invitation itself (i.e., if the invitation is very fancy, guests will likely anticipate a formal affair). The dress code line should be listed on a line following the reception location.

Wedding website
Typically you don’t print your wedding website on the main invitation card; rather, you should list it on one of the accompanying cards (like a reception card or additional information card). It’s also a good idea to have your wedding website URL (or the QR code) on your wedding save the date card.

wording examples

Use these sample wedding invitation templates to figure out how to word your own. (Pro tip: Minted Design Associates can also help craft your copy so that the wedding invitation wording perfectly reflects your big day.)

Who is hosting the wedding?

Both Parents

Traditional Religious

Held in a religious venue,
hosted by both sets of parents

Mr and Mrs Charles Hoffman
and Mr and Mrs Lucas Harrison
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of their children
Alexandra Quentin
Brian Forsyth
Saturday, the Ninth of June
Two thousand twenty-four
half past five o’clock in the evening
Cathedral of Christ the King
Atlanta, Georgia
celebration following

Classy Type
by Hooray Creative

Traditional Secular

Held in a secular location,
hosted by both sets of parents

Mr. and Mrs. Donald Anderson
together with
Mr. and Mrs. Liam Smith
request the pleasure of your company
at the marriage of their children
Elizabeth May
Charles Smith
the twenty-second of August
at half past three in the afternoon
two thousand twenty five
The Mayflower Grace
Washington, Connecticut
dinner and dancing to follow at
Piedmont Hotel

by Susan Moyal

Casual Informal

Held in a casual location,
hosted by both sets of parents

Mr. and Mrs. Harold Hunter
And Mr. and Mrs. George Temple
request the pleasure of your company
at the marriage of their children
Estella and
April 24th, 2025
at 4 O’Clock
The Gardens Edge Inn
Seattle, Washington
formal reception to follow

Chic Monogram
by Mansi Verma

Bride’s Parents

Traditional Religious

Held in a religious venue,
hosted by the bride’s parents

Mr. and Mrs. Yuri Smith
joyously invite you to attend
the wedding of
Rebecca Leigh
Phillip Austin
October 20th, 2024
3:00 in the afternoon
Second Presbyterian Church
Richmond, Virginia
merriment to follow

by Creo Study

Traditional Secular

Held in a secular location,
hosted by the bride’s parents

Mr. and Mrs. Geoffrey Walker
cordially invite you to attend
the wedding of
Laura June
Emerson Fournier
August 5th, 2024
Saturday evening at 5:30pm
Hotel Sorrento
90 Madison Street
reception to follow

by chocomocacino

Casual Informal

Held in a casual location,
hosted by the bride’s parents

Eli and Cristina Mullins
request the pleasure of your company
at the wedding of
saturday, october 18th, 2024
6 o’clock in the evening
king plow arts center
atlanta, ga
reception to follow

by Creo Study

Groom’s Parents

Traditional Religious

Held in a religious venue,
hosted by the groom’s parents

Mr. and Mrs. John Kowalski
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of
Allegra Rose Harrington
to their son
Harris Nolan Kowalski
Saturday, August 26th, 2024
3pm at Ashton Gardens
89 Peachtree Industrial Boulevard
Sugar Hill, Georgia
reception to follow

Love Story
by Liz Conley

Traditional Secular

Held in a secular location,
hosted by the groom’s parents

Jean & Frederick Coppola
joyfully invite you to
the marriage of
and their son
August 11, 2025
at 6 PM
Calistoga Ranch
Calistoga, California
reception to follow

by Kimberly FitzSimons

Casual Informal

Held in a casual location,
hosted by the groom’s parents

Mallory & Kenneth Harper
request the pleasure of your company
at the marriage of
Sophia Renee Enriquez
to their son
Jackson Douglass
Saturday, Sepember 21, 2024
at four thirty in the afternoon
Studio 817
817 Sixteenth Street
Sacramento, California
dinner and dancing to follow

by Stardust Design Studio

The Couple

Traditional Religious

Held in a religious venue,
hosted by the couple

Ava Edwards
Nicholas Eckerd
request the honor of your presence
at the celebration of their union
Saturday, the Fifth of August
Two Thousand Twenty-Four
at five o’clock in the evening
Mosaic Church
Austin, Texas
reception to follow

Gilded Tapestry
by Simona Camp

Traditional Secular

Held in a secular location,
hosted by the couple

Sophia Anderson and
Jaden Harper
invite you to their wedding
September 14, 2024
Saturday at four o’clock
in the afternoon
Willow Creek Vineyard
Seattle, Washington
reception to follow

Framed Monogram
by Kelly Schmidt

Casual Informal

Held in a casual location,
hosted by the couple

Olivia Chandler
Solomon Miller
invite you to their wedding
October 6, 2025 | 4pm
Foundry Park Conservatory
Seattle, Washington
reception to follow

Modern Aligned
by Carolyn MacLaren

Both Families & Couple

Traditional Religious

Held in a religious venue,
hosted by both families and the couple

Together with Mr. and Mrs. Nelson Han
and Mr. and Mrs. George Thompson
Amanda Marie Han
Louis Jeremy Thompson
request the honor of your presence
at the celebration of their union
Saturday, the twenty-sixth of May
Two thousand twenty-four
at six o’clock in the evening
Saints Peter and Paul
San Francisco, California

by Jessica Williams

Traditional Secular

Held in a secular location,
hosted by both families and the couple

Amelia & James Riley
Jane & Thomas Evans along with
joyfully invite you
to their wedding
October 14th, 2024
at five o’clock in the afternoon
The Cloister at Sea Island
Sea Island, Georgia
black tie reception to follow

by Jennifer Postorino

Casual Informal

Held in a casual location,
hosted by both families and the couple

Please join us
in the joy of celebrating
the wedding of
Emma Finch
Alvin Morris
Saturday, May Fourth
Twenty twenty-four
at six o’clock in the evening
The Drake Hotel
Chicago, Illinois

by Paper Sun Studio

Special Cases

Divorced Parents

Both parents’ names
on separate lines

Ms. Elaine Robbins
Mr. Bradley Hunter
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
May 15th, 2025
at six in the evening
The Frick Collection
New York, NY
dinner and dancing to follow

watercolor azulejo
by Anastasia Makarova

Remarried Parents

You can use a similar format when
one parent has remarried

Ms. Noelle Miller
Mr. and Mrs. Sean Cartwright
request the pleasure of your company
at the marriage of their daughter
The twentieth of June
two thousand twenty five
at six o’clock in the evening
Midtown Loft & Terrace
267 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY
reception to follow

by Pixel and Hank

complete your suite

Wondering what else to send with your wedding invitation? Our guide below outlines exactly what you'll need to include, along with wording suggestions for each card.

Sense and Sensibility” invitation suite by Design Lotus
Photo: Anna Delores Photography

RSVP Cards

Good news! Wording the RSVP card (also called the reply card or response card) is a simpler task than the invitation. Here’s what you’ll need to include:

RSVP date: The first piece of information on the card is the reply-by date, which is typically three to four weeks before the wedding. This will give you enough time to get a final head count to the caterer (one week before) and to finalize your seating chart.

  • Remember to keep the wording consistent with the invitation: For example, “the favor of a reply” typically matches the invitation wording “the honor of your presence.” For less formal wedding invitation wording, such as “request the pleasure of your company,” the RSVP wording would typically be “Kindly reply by” or “Kindly respond by.”

Guest(s) names: Next is a line for guests to write their names, along with checkboxes for accepting or declining the invitation.

  • The M line: The “M” line on the RSVP card is the place where guests will write in their names. The “M” itself is meant to designate the first letter of the formal salutation (Mr., Mrs., Miss or Ms.), which the guest would write along with their name(s). The most traditional weddings might use the “M” line; for less formal celebrations, we suggest the more straightforward “Name(s)” instead.

Additional information you can include:

  • Meal choices may also be included on the reply card, along with checkboxes or illustrated icons.
  • It’s becoming more popular to include a song request line, something along the lines of, “We promise to dance if you play __________.”
Formal RSVP

Royal by Petra Kern

Example: Formal

A reply is requested by the tenth of July

 [Insert Name(s)] 
  accepts with pleasure
  declines with regret

Conventional RSVP 1

Fleur by Everett Paper Goods

Example: Casual

Please respond by the thirteenth of June

 [Insert Name(s)] 
  happily accepts
  regretfully declines

Conventional RSVP 2

Empire by Jennifer Postorino

Example: with Meals

Please reply by March 27

M [Insert Name(s)] 
  will attend
  will not attend

Meal choices:

Reception Cards

If the ceremony and reception are held at the same venue, include the line “Reception to follow” at the bottom of the invitation. However, if the reception is held at a different location, it should be treated as a separate event—include a separate reception card with the event details as part of the invitation suite.

Reception Cards

Regal by Nicole Walsh

Example: Reception Card

Please join us for an
dinner and dancing
immediately following
the ceremony in the
Allegro Ballroom

Activity Card

Activity cards can be very helpful if your wedding has multiple events taking place during the wedding weekend. List all of the festivities guests open to guests in chronological order. This way, you wedding invitation suite gives clear information of what the guests should expect. If you choose not to include the activity card inyour invitation suite, make sure you list out this information on your wedding website.

Activities Cards

Sedona by AK Graphics

Example: Activity Card

A wedded weekend

Meadowood Winery Tour | 1:00 pm | Please meet in the hotel lobby
Rehearsal Dinner | 7:00 pm | Meritage Resort | 875 Bordeaux Way

Ladies Tea | 11:00 am | Churchill Tea Room | Please meet in the hotel lobby

Farewell Brunch | 11:00 am | Bouchon Bistro | 6534 Washington Street

Information Card

An information card can be enclosed with your wedding invitation if you’d like to provide any additional wedding details to guests: directions, transportation information, lodging suggestions, etc. Make sure to check out our guide on how to assemble your wedding invitation suite, especially if multiple enclosure cards are involved.

Information Cards

Eternal by Kaydi Bishop

Example: Information Card (directions)

More details

If you would like to book a room at the hotel, please call The Ivy Reservations 0712 334 4444, quote ‘Stewart-Long wedding accommodation June 17th’ to receive the discounted rates available for a one or two night stay at our hotel.

For more info, visit our website:
or call Jane on 0403 333 444

etiquette FAQ

As you can see, there are plenty of things to consider when it comes to writing and finalizing your wedding invitations. We've got the answers to all of your pressing wedding invitation etiquette questions below.

How do we let guests know we’re having an adults-only wedding?

Two best practices are to include only the adult names on the envelopes and to mention "adult-only event" on your wedding website.

Here are more details on how to let your guests know (without hurting their feelings):

  • Address your wedding invitations carefully. If you’re doing formal invitations with both an outer mailing envelope and an inner envelope, list only the names of the invited adult guests on both the inner and outer envelopes. If you’re sending outer envelopes only, only list the names of the invited adult guests. Do not write “The Smith Family,” since that would indicate that all family members, including children, are invited. You can also write the names of each invited guest on the response card. This technique makes it very clear who is invited to the wedding and all your guests would need to do is check "will attend" or "will not attend."
  • Do not put "adults only" on the wedding invitation. Resist the urge to have this phrase printed on your invites because it might be a little jarring for some guests who might be sensitive to this. The more tactful, gentler way to spread the word is to encourage family members, wedding-party members, and friends to spread the word to other guests by mouth.
  • Do include it on your wedding website. Your wedding website is the perfect place to convey additional wedding details, such as keeping your wedding an adults-only event, links to your wedding registry, travel and transportation details, dress code, and recommended local babysitting services.

See Less

Where do you include information such as your wedding website and wedding registry?

It is not advised to include your wedding website URL and wedding registry information on the main invitation card itself. Include an additional insert card in your invitation suite. This will be the best place to put a QR code to your wedding website and/or your website URL (and password if you have one). If you’re already including an insert card with travel information or additional wedding details, you can print the URL on the bottom of that card. Registry details are not typically included in the invitations. You can keep that information on your wedding website, with links to each online store, if possible, for added convenience.

See Less

Do you write guests' full names on the wedding invitations?

If following proper wedding invitation etiquette, yes. When you are addressing your invitation envelopes, you should spell their names out in full (title, first name, middle name (optional), and last name). Avoid using nicknames or initials. Be sure to use appropriate social titles as well, addressing married couples as "Mr. and Mrs." or "Mr. and Mr." For more on addressing your invitation envelopes, please see our in-depth guide to wedding envelopes and addressing.

See Less

When should our wedding invitations be sent out?

In order to send your wedding invitations in a timely fashion, aim to stick to the following timeline:

  • 4–5 months before the wedding: Order wedding invitations
  • 6–8 weeks before the wedding: Mail wedding invitations

If you’re hosting a destination wedding or are tying the knot over a holiday weekend, you’ll need to factor in more time so guests can make any necessary travel arrangements. Mail your wedding invitations three months ahead of time.

See Less

How much time should we give guests to RSVP for the wedding?

Set your RSVP deadline for three to four weeks before the wedding date. This timeframe will give you enough time to provide your caterer with a final head count, which is usually needed one week before the wedding. An accurate headcount will also allow you to finalize your wedding seating chart.

If some guests still have not responded by your RSVP deadline, give them a quick phone call to follow up.

See Less

Who should get a plus-one and who doesn’t?

This is a tricky question, so be sure to tread carefully as you and your partner determine what makes the most sense for your wedding guest dynamics. Here are our general wedding etiquette rules on plus-ones and whether or not you should give guests the opportunity to bring a date to the wedding:

  • Married, engaged, and cohabitating guests should get a plus-one.
  • Wedding-party members (bridesmaids, groomsmen, etc.) should get a plus-one.
  • Guests who have been with their partner for a lengthy amount of time should get a plus-one. This, of course, is tricky. What constitutes a long enough period of time? While this varies for everyone, in general, our rule of thumb is that anyone who has been coupled up with their partner for so long that it would be awkward not to invite them should get a plus-one.
  • For everyone else, make a blanket rule, such as “only immediate family members can bring a date” and stick to it.

See Less