Wedding Invitation Wording: The Breakdown

Although every wedding invitation includes the same basic information, they can be worded and arranged in countless ways to reflect the style of the occasion and today’s modern bride and groom. The trend today is to inject a bit of your own personality into the invitation’s wording, while including some standard, customary elements, and staying socially correct and comfortable.

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So what needs to be there, and how should it be worded? Here’s the wedding invitation wording breakdown!

The Host Line

Start off with the names of those hosting the wedding. Traditionally this is the bride’s parents, but changing family structures and financial dynamics often make this the trickiest part of the process. Here are some guidelines:

The Bride’s Parents (married) Are Hosting:

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Sawyer

If they are married but have different last names, insert “and” between their two names:

Ms. Leanne Rothschild and Mr. Robert Sawyer

The Groom’s Parents:

The groom’s parents are usually placed after the groom’s name.

Mr. Ben Sawyer
the son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Sawyer

However, if they are co-hosting the wedding, add them after the bride’s parents’ names.

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Sawyer


Dr. and Mrs. Patrick Bates

The Couple Is Hosting

Here is a good option for those delicate situations where parents are not involved in the wedding planning:

Together with their families
Miss Mary Bates
Mr. Ben Sawyer

If the couple is hosting on their own, omit the first line.

Divorced Parents:

Names are listed on separate lines without an “and” between them. Ladies first!

Ms. Leanne Rothschild

Mr. Robert Sawyer

If mom is remarried, use her married name. You can add stepparents if you like. If a remarried parent has a different surname from his or her spouse, put the birth parent first. If you must break the line, do it before the “and.”

Parent Has Passed Away:

Although it’s not traditional to include a deceased parent, many people feel strongly about including them.

The pleasure of your company is requested
at the marriage of

Mary Bates

daughter of Martha Bates and the late Dr. Patrick Bates


Ben Sawyer

Request Line

The following phrases are the most traditional, but informal wording is becoming very common. Just be sure that whatever phrasing you choose indicates that guests are being invited to a wedding ceremony or the reception only.

Ceremony at a Place of Worship

request the honor of your presence

Ceremony at a Secular Location

request the pleasure of your company

Informal Ceremony

would be delighted by your presence
at the marriage of their children

Informal Reception Only

invite you to join them
at the wedding reception of

Bride & Groom’s Names

The bride and groom are the stars of the show, so their names are set off, on separate lines. The preposition linking them goes on its own line: traditional American formatting uses the word “to”; some Jewish formats use the word “and.”

to the wedding of

Mary Bates
Ben Sawyer

If the bride’s last name is the same as her parents’ above, it is not repeated. No courtesy title (such as Miss or Ms.) is used.

If the couple or both sets of parents are to host, treat the names equally.

Date and Time

Don’t worry about using a.m. or p.m., or a phrase such as “in the evening,” unless you think it will be confusing for guests. The year is traditionally omitted as well, but it is sometimes included for the invitation’s keepsake value.

Spell out numbers and capitalize proper nouns only; you can begin the line with the preposition “on” if you’d like.

Monday, the twenty-fifth of March

Use numerals or write out the time. Using numerals is more modern, but not necessarily more casual.

at six-thirty in the evening


It’s traditional not to include street addresses of houses of worship or well-known locations, but this is less common lately. Commas are not used at the ends of lines, and the state is always spelled out.

Traditional, Religious

Beth Jacob Synagogue
Brownsville, New York

If you are using a street address, numerals are acceptable but no ZIP code is needed; this is not for mailing.

Beth Jacob Synagogue
1223 Main Street
Brownsville, New York

Reception Line or Card

If the ceremony and reception are in the same space, you can keep them on a single invitation. If the reception is held somewhere else, a separate card might be helpful. In some circles is no longer considered acceptable to invite some people only to the ceremony.

R.S.V.P. Line or Reply Card

On a Separate Card: The couple include a return card with a stamped envelope to encourage guests to respond to their invitation promptly.  A traditional fill-in-the-blank version provides the first letter of Mr. or Mrs.; or try a single line, such as “Please let us know whether you will join us,” with space for writing.


Alternative R.S.V.P. You can also provide a mailing address, phone number, email address, or website.

Please respond by January 10th

to maryandbengethitched@maryandben. com

Special Details

Meal: If your event won’t include a full meal, it’s courteous to inform your guests.

Please join us for cocktails following the ceremony.

If you want to stress the importance of the style of dress — black tie, for instance, or casual attire — place that information in the lower right corner, or on the reception card.

Black tie optional

The only thing that should not be included anywhere on your invitation, even as an insert, is your registry information.

For more wedding etiquette, visit Martha Stewart Weddings


  1. What an ideas. I will suggest it for my sister wedding card 😀 Thank you