Anatomy of an Invitation by Martha (Stewart that is!)
We have brides ask us all the time to help them with the wording of their invites and of course WE DO! However, this article published in 2008 by Martha Stewart Magazine really goes over the basics and the what ifs of invitation wording. With so many family tree branches and directions, it's difficult to stick to a "classic" or traditional approach, and these days - you really don't have to!
Brides are often intimidated by the etiquette of invitation wording; in fact, the rules are fairly straightforward, and these days they are often made to be broken.
In most cases, there's more than one option, although your choice of language as well as typeface, layout, and color palette provide subtle clues about what your wedding will be like -- and who you are as a couple.
Host Lines Historically, the bride's parents had top billing, and they still should for formal affairs, but naming both sets of parents as hosts is a gracious option no matter who foots the bill. Some couples issue their own invitations, or do so together with their parents. Some examples follow.
Bride's Parents Hosting Mr. and Mrs. Richard Bradshaw
Divorced Parents Hosting, Mother Has Remarried Mr. and Mrs. John Carruthers Mr. Richard Bradshaw ... at the marriage of their daughter Elizabeth Anne Bradshaw (note that mother's name appears first; father's name appears first only if mother will not be contributing to the costs of the wedding)
Divorced Parents Hosting, Father Has Remarried but Mother Has Not Mrs. Catherine Bradshaw Mr. and Mrs. Richard Bradshaw ... at the marriage of their daughter Elizabeth Anne Bradshaw
Divorced Parents Hosting, Both Parents Have Remarried Mr. and Mrs. John Carruthers Mr. and Mrs. Richard Bradshaw
Bride's Divorced Mother Is Hosting Mrs. Catherine Bradshaw
Bride's Divorced Parents, Not Remarried, Hosting Mrs. Catherine Bradshaw Mr. Richard Bradshaw request the honour...
Bride's Mother and Stepfather Hosting (Father Has No Part in Bride's Life) Mr. and Mrs. John Carruthers request the pleasure of your company at the marriage of their daughter Elizabeth Anne Bradshaw
Bride's Mother and Stepfather Hosting Mr. and Mrs. John Carruthers request the pleasure of your company at the marriage of her daughter [or, Mrs. Carruthers's daughter] Elizabeth Anne Bradshaw
Both Bride's and Groom's Parents Hosting Mr. and Mrs. Richard Bradshaw and Mr. and Mrs. Roderick Clarke (follow similar naming conventions as above if the groom's parents have divorced and/or remarried)
Bride's Parents Hosting, Honoring Groom's Parents Mr. and Mrs. Richard Bradshaw request the honor of your presence at the marriage of their daughter Elizabeth Anne Bradshaw to Angus Piers Clarke, son of Mr. and Mrs. Roderick Clarke (follow similar naming conventions as above if the groom's parents have divorced and/or remarried; see below for naming convention if one of his parents is deceased)
Bride and Groom Hosting Elizabeth Anne Bradshaw and Angus Piers Clarke or, more formally Miss Elizabeth Anne Bradshaw and Mr. Angus Piers Clarke
Bride's Living Parent Is Hosting Mr. [Mrs.] Richard Bradshaw
Honoring Deceased Parents -- Bride The honour of your presence is requested at the marriage of Elizabeth Anne Bradshaw, daughter of Richard Bradshaw and the late Catherine Bradshaw, to Angus Piers Clarke. Or: The honour of your presence is requested at the marriage of Elizabeth Anne Bradshaw, daughter of Richard and the late Catherine Bradshaw. Or: The honour of your presence is requested at the marriage of Elizabeth Anne Bradshaw, daughter of Catherine Bradshaw and her late husband, Richard. Or: The honour of your presence is requested at the marriage of Elizabeth Anne Bradshaw, daughter of the late Mr. Richard Bradshaw and his wife, Catherine.
If Both Parents Are Deceased The honour of your presence is requested at the marriage of Elizabeth Anne Bradshaw, daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Richard Bradshaw. Or: The honour of your presence is requested at the marriage of Elizabeth Anne Bradshaw, daughter of the late Richard and Catherine Bradshaw.
All Parties Hosting Together with their parents, Elizabeth Anne Bradshaw and Angus Piers Clarke
Father Is a Doctor Doctor and Mrs. Richard Bradshaw
Mother Is a Doctor Doctor Catherine Bradshaw and Mr. Richard Bradshaw
Both Parents Are Doctors The Doctors Bradshaw, or Doctor Richard Bradshaw and Doctor Catherine Bradshaw (doctor may be abbreviated for space).
Groom's Parents Are Hosting Mr. and Mrs. Roderick Clarke request the honour of your presence at the marriage of Miss Elizabeth Anne Bradshaw to their son Angus Piers Clarke.
Bride's Parents Are Hosting (Mother Uses Maiden Name) Mr. Richard Bradshaw and Ms. Catherine Keys (note that their names are on a single line)
Request Lines Honour of your presence: Honour spelled British-style with a U indicates a ceremony in a house of worship.
The pleasure of your company: indicates the ceremony is taking place outside a place of worship.
When both sets of the couple's parents are hosting, this line would specify "at the marriage of their children."
Bride and Groom Lines The name of the bride always precedes the groom's name. Formal invitations issued by the bride's parents refer to her by her first and middle names, the groom by his full name and title; if the couple is hosting by themselves, their titles are optional.
Date and Time Lines For formal events, everything is written out in full (no numerals). The year is optional (the assumption being your wedding is on the nearest such date). Time of day is spelled out using "o'clock" or "half after ___ o'clock." The use of a.m. or p.m. is optional. For casual weddings, numerals are fine.
Location Lines The street address is not usually needed unless omitting it would lead to confusion or your wedding is taking place at the host's home. The city and state are written out in full.
Reception Lines Very formal invitations include this information on a separate card. Otherwise, it can be printed on the invitation if there is room; if the ceremony and reception will take place at the same location, you may print "and afterward at the reception" or "reception immediately following." When the reception is elsewhere, the location goes on a different line. Include the time if not immediately following the ceremony.
RSVP Lines Many couples choose to include a separate response card for guests to fill out and return in the mail. Traditionally, the request appears in the lower left-hand corner of the invitation with an address, implying guests should send a reply on their personal stationery.
If you are still having trouble - ask your invitation specialist, printer, or wedding planner :)
here are a few of my fav invitations:
Loving the pale yellow this season, this one by Minted
Super elegant invites by Monique Luhuillier found at Jean M invites
Panache Weddings & Events is a planning, design, and coordination boutique offering full service coordination, day of coordination, design concept consultations, and planning for all types of weddings and events. Located in Vero Beach, FL, and available for travel to....well, anywhere!