What Are Wedding Invitations Supposed to Say?

Write an invitation message that suits your special day

By Suzie Faloon

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Choosing a wedding invitation builds the excitement as you prepare for your wedding day. You want to shout out the news that the two of you are getting married as you invite your family and friends to celebrate this day with you. However, you should follow proper etiquette and craft a message that is consistent with the overall style of your wedding.


The wedding invitation is worded to invite guests to the ceremony of the couple who is being married. The opening words tell your potential guest who is hosting your wedding: the parents of the bride, both sets of parents, a combination of family members or the two of you.


The formal invitation is written in the third person; for example, "Mr. and Mrs. Bradley Smythe request the honor of your presence at the wedding of their daughter, Ashley Lee, to Mr. Keith Andrew Phillips." You can start a more modern invitation with more poetic or creative wording, but it should still include the hosts' names, as well as the bride and groom's.

Date and Time

In a formal invitation, you should spell out the date and time of the wedding. For example, "Saturday, the twenty-second of June at one o'clock in the afternoon" is more proper than "Saturday, June 22 at 1:00 p.m." You can also choose to add the year. You would spell out, for example, "Two thousand and ten."


Add the name of the church, synagogue, or other venue where your wedding ceremony is to take place. Include the name of the building and the correct address of your wedding venue.


Following the ceremony details, your invitation can include language that welcomes guests to the reception or other wedding day festivities. If the reception is at the same location as the ceremony, say so. If not, then note the reception venue name and full address.

Dress Code

Contrary to what you may have seen, it is not acceptable to include information about the dress code on any invitation that mentions the wedding ceremony. If, however, you have separate invitations for the reception and ceremony, the reception invitation may specify if the event is formal. If you choose to alert of a dress code, make it clear. "Black tie" is a clearer direction than "black tie optional" or "black tie preferred."

About the Author

Suzie Faloon is a floral designer and a freelance writer.

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Wedding Glossary


A type of paper commonly used for wedding invitations. Thicker than normal printing paper and comes in varying colors and textures.

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