Merle Dress > Women's Fashion Blog > How To Write A Formal Wedding Invitation?
28 Apr
2012
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How To Write A Formal Wedding Invitation?

Wedding Invitation

A wedding invitation is a letter asking the recipient to attend a wedding. It is typically written in formal, third-person language and mailed five to eight weeks before the wedding date.

Like any other invitation, it is the privilege and duty of the host – historically, for younger brides in Western culture, the mother of the bride, on behalf of the bride’s family – to issue invitations, either by sending them herself or causing them to be sent, either by enlisting the help of relatives, friends, or her social secretary to select the guest list and address envelopes, or by hiring a service. With computer technology, some are able to print directly on envelopes from a guest list using a mail merge with word processing and spreadsheet software.

Today we will teach you how a modern couple writes a formal wedding invitation? Follow these simple steps for writing your own ones:

Step 1: Who is Hosting?
The first names your guests will see on your wedding invitation are those of the people who are paying for the event. Traditionally, this has been the bride’s parents, and so it reads:

Mr. and Mrs. Donnie Terry
or
Yanie and Donnie Terry

If the bride and groom are hosting, then the line reads

Ms. Merle Fann and Mr. Pan Green
or,
Together with their families,
Merle Fann and Pan Green

Step 2: The Request
The next line in a wedding invitation is the one that requests that your guests attend.
If your ceremony is at a place of worship, then the line should read:

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

Note the formal British spelling of the word “honor.” The word daughter is used as an example and should be the gender of the person whose parents are hosting. If, on the other hand your ceremony is at home or other secular location, then the line should read:

request the pleasure of your company
at the marriage of their daughter
or
would be delighted for you to attend
the marriage of their daughter

If the couple is hosting:
invite you to join us at the celebration of our marriage

Step 3: The Happy Couple
Etiquette says that the bride should be listed first, using first and middle names only. Then the groom should be listed, using both title and middle name.

So for example:

Yanie Fan
to
Mr. Donnie Lonte Terry

A more modern alternative is simply,

Yanie Fan
to Donnie Terry

Some couples, especially Jewish couples, may choose to use and instead of to.

Step 4: Date and Time
Traditionally, these are spelled out:

Saturday, the tenth of June
two thousand and twelve
at four o’clock in the afternoon

note that the month and day are capitalized. If it were a 4:30 ceremony, the time would read at half after four o’clock in the afternoon.

but for a less formal ceremony, you can also write

Saturday, June 10, 2012
at 4 p.m.

Step 5: The Location
If the ceremony is at a well known location, you needn’t include the address:

The Museum of Fine Arts
Los Angeles, California

but for smaller locations, or your home, you’d want to write out the address.

The Art Club
888 Happiness Road
Los Angeles, California

Step 6: Time for the Reception
Let your guests know there is going to be a party afterward . This can either be included on the wedding invitation or on a separate reply card.
On the wedding invitation, it would read

Reception to follow at the Briar Hills Country Club

If you’re not serving a full meal, it is nice to let guests know. You might write:

And afterwards for cocktails and cake in the Rose Room.
Or
Dessert and dancing to follow

A separate reception card is often good to use if the ceremony and reception are in different places, or the reception doesn’t immediately follow the ceremony. It might read something like

Reception
8 o’clock

Parker Grand Hotel
999 Happiness Road
Los Angeles, California

Step 7: Get Them to RSVP
Traditionally, R.S.V.P. was written on the invitation, and guests knew to reply on their own stationary. Now, most couples find that they get responses more promptly if they include a separate reply card.

This can be mostly blank, allowing guests to write a note, with a line such as:

The favor of a reply is requested before the first of June

Or it can be more detailed, such as

Please reply before the first of June

M___________________________
_________Will attend
_________Will not attend

You might also write:

Number of people in party_____

Step 8: Optional details
Optional details include telling your guests what to wear. Strictest etiquette tells you not to include information about attire on your invitation, but I think this is an outdated opinion. Guests appreciate clues about how to dress, and are not as instinctively knowledgeable as they used to be. To avoid someone showing up in blue jeans, include a line such as:

Black Tie

Other options: Semi-formal, cocktail attire, festive attire, creative black tie, white tie, black tie optional, dressy casual, informal.

Some couples who wish not to have children at the reception may write:

Adult reception

Which is more polite than writing No Children

Do NOT include information about gifts, your registry, or cash in lieu of gifts. This is an invitation, not a request for presents.

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