ETIQUETTE FOR WEDDING INVITATIONS               

This wording guide is intended to clarify the etiquette behind the wording options that you choose. While we’ve tried to present many different options for your consideration, this is not an exhaustive effort of every wording option ever used. Over our many years of invitation design, we’ve educated ourselves on etiquette from those we consider experts – whose advise we’ll share with you here. So use this guide to educate yourself, but feel free to suggest different options/combinations that may suite your situation. We are happy to accommodate.
Hey, who knows… maybe your wording will end up in our wording guide!

THE HOSTS


WHO'S NAME SHOULD BE PRINTED AT THE TOP?

This is an important question that couples need to consider when selecting wording. the wedding are typically listed first on an invitation. Thisis a formal etiquette indication of whom is shouldering the majority of the financial burden of the wedding. Some etiquette experts also say that the person(s) listedfirst on the invitation is/was tied to whom was “giving” thebride to the groom. (think… father of the bride walking thebride down the aisle to give the bride away) The role of “hosts” has typically fallen to the bride’sparents, but now it is not uncommon for multiple sets of parents or the bride and groom themselves to be the “hosts” of the wedding and therefore listed first on the invitation. It can get tricky when parents and the bride and groom are participating in the finances and even trickier when multiple sets of parents are involved. Use your best judgement on what suites your situation and talk to your family about their preferences. In any situation, we recommend that the engaged couple be as considerate as possible to those who are helping in the nuptial plans and err on the side of being gracious and appreciate the love and support of your family and friends.

NAMES


NICKNAMES AND ABBREVIATED NAMES

Using a nickname in your wording is discouraged. (i.e. William “Bill” Michaels). In this situation, if you go by Bill and feel very uncomfortable printing William on the invitations, consider a casual invitation and simply use Bill Michaels. Or, use Bill on one of your enclosure cards to personalize the set, but use William on the main card to avoid using a nickname. Spelling out each name is preferable to using an initial. The exception to this rule is in the parents, as many parents choose to use an initial instead of the full middle name of the father. “Senior” and “Junior” may be abbreviated. (Sr. & Jr.), but Doctor and other professional titles and military ranks are written in full.

PARENTS

In formal invitation etiquette, the parents are listed with the titles Mr. and Mrs. and first, middle and last names of the father are spelled out.

Formal:
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Wayne Adamson
or
Doctor and Mrs. Thomas Wayne Adamson

However, you’ll see lots of adaptations including these:

Casual:
Thomas and Cynthia Adamson

Casual:
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas W. Adamson
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas and Cynthia Adamson

Divorced Parents: With divorced parents, the mother’s name is listed first, so a divorced set of parents would look like this:

Cynthia Adamson along with Thomas Adamson

If either parent has remarried, the mother’s name is still listed first, but the spouses can be included if preferred:

Mr. and Mrs. Roger Inman
and
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Wayne Adamson

You can use whichever version of the Mr. and Mrs. formats that you prefer with the divorced parents scenarios. Deceased Parent(s): If the bride (or groom) very much wishes to include the name of the deceased parent, It’s important not to use wording that implies that the deceased is issuing the invitation. The special wording of this type of invitation overrides the issue of who is hosting the wedding, as in the following example:*

Doreen Louise Michaels daughter of Mrs. Marvin Gadsden Michaels and the late Mr. Michaels and Roger Leonard Simpkins son of Mr. and Mrs. Horace Simpkins request the honour of your presence…

*Excerpt directly from Emily Post Etiquette 17th edition.Copyright © 2004 by The Emily Post Institute, Inc.

THE BRIDE

In formal invitation etiquette the bride’s last name is always omitted. (except in the case of deceased parents) This is due to the fact that in
a formal wedding, following formal etiquette, the bride’s parents would be “hosting” and therefore listed on the invitation first and so the maiden name of the bride was implied.

Additionally, the wedding is the traditional time when a woman changes her last name, so the omission of the bride’s last name is/was part of the tradition of the parents giving the bride away to the groom. Currently, most brides still follow these guidelines unless one or more of the following circumstances apply:

• The bride and groom are announcing the wedding themselves. (as opposed to the bride’s parents announcing)
• The bride’s parents do not have the same last name as the bride. Or- the bride’s last name would be unclear if multiple parents are listed.
• The bride does not intend to take the last name of the groom. Or- the bride intends to hyphenate her last name.
• A casual invitation style is desired where both the bride and groom use first and last names, omitting their middle names.

THE GROOM

In formal invitation etiquette, Mr. is/was used as the title for the groom. (i.e. Mr. William James Michaels) and the groom’s parents are not listed on the invitation. Currently, this format is rare because most families choose to add in the names of the groom’s parents – in which case the “Mr” is omitted for the groom.

Using the first, middle and last name of the groom is suggested.

The exception is when a casual invitation is desired where both the bride and groom use first and last names, omitting their middle names.

RSVP


CEREMONY AND RECEPTION

Ceremony and Reception: A reply card is recommended for all receptions. If you have decided not to include an rsvp, we urge you to consider the cost of food, seating, decor, flowers, centerpieces etc. that you are “ballparking” for your reception. The cost of an rsvp card is pretty minimal compared to needing to overestimate in all other aspects of your wedding to compensate for not having a head count. In addition, having a head count will make your day run smoother, make your caterer happy and will keep you oh-so organized.

CEREMONY ONLY

If the bride and groom reside at the same residence prior to the wedding, It is discouraged to have the rsvp envelope addressed back to both individuals because it is considered a “no-no” to announce that the bride and groom are living at the same residence (yes, this may seem old fashioned). In this situation, our suggestion is to use the brides name and the return address where she resides. However, personal preference plays a fairly major role in this kind of decision. Decide what combination of name and return address you’re most comfortable with for the RSVP envelopes. The same guidelines apply to the return address on the outer mailing envelopes.

ENVELOPE RETURN ADDRESS


MAILING ENVELOPES

Mailing envelopes: For a formal invitation style, only the two lines of address are used without a name above the address. However, this is one rule that we break quite often. We find that the mailing envelope is a great opportunity to reinforce a motif and invitation style. You will often see us add a name above the return address (often decoratively so that we can pull script lettering into the layout) as well as add a hint of the motif used on the invitation the envelope contains. It is discouraged for the return address printed on the mailing envelopes to be different from that of “the hosts” of the wedding. If the parents are announcing the wedding, the return address should be the parents unless circumstances prevent this. The bride’s portion of the invitations and the groom’s portion of the invitations should all be issued from the same return address. (i.e. do not print 2 different return addresses depending on whether the guests will be on the brides side or the grooms side.)

RSVP ENVELOPES

If the bride and groom reside at the same residence prior to the wedding, It is discouraged to have the rsvp envelope addressed back to both individuals because it is considered a “no-no” to announce that the bride and groom are living at the same residence (yes, this may seem old fashioned). In this situation, our suggestion is to use the brides name and the return address where she resides. However, personal preference plays a fairly major role in this kind of decision. Decide what combination of name and return address you’re most comfortable with for the RSVP envelopes. The same guidelines apply to the return address on the outer mailing envelopes.

GUIDELINES


NUMBER & GRAMMER RULES

• Numbers in the date of the wedding are spelled out: “…the sixteenth of January”
• Numbers in street addresses are written in numerals: “3737 West End Avenue” But when there’s just one number, it’s spelled out: “Thirty West End Avenue”
• “Two thousand and eleven” is the correct format for the year.
• Half hours are written as “half after” in formal wording. It is also becoming more acceptable to use “half past”. It is discouraged to use “seven-thirty”
• “in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening” are used instead of a.m. or p.m.
• There is no punctuation except periods after abbreviations (Mr., Mrs., Ms.) and where phrases requiring commas appear in one line “on Saturday, the sixteenth of January”
• “Request the honour of your presence” is correct for an invitation to a ceremony held in a house of worship. It may also be used for weddings in other locations.
• For invitations to a reception only, the wording is “request the pleasure of your company”
• When a Roman Catholic Mass is part of the ceremony, invitations may include “Nuptial Mass”

HONOR VS. HONOUR


THE DIFFERENCE

The difference between the words honor and honour is most often attributed to the difference between “American” and “British” spelling but that is not the only factor to consider. While it is true that the British spell honor as honour, there are also grammatical differences between the two words when used in “American” invitation etiquette. Because of the differences in the usage of the two words it is not uncommon for both usages to be present in one invitation ensemble. However, we understand that this is bothersome to some individuals to use both spellings and so we suggest that you read and understand the different meanings below and then decide if you want to follow the guidelines or if you’d prefer to just use one version of the spelling. Below are some examples of the words used correctly.

Honor: Honor is used in situations where you are referring to an individual (or couple). So the party/ reception/open house/etc. is in their honor.
Mr. and Mrs. Robert E. Brown are pleased to invite you to a reception in honor of Katie and Brian

Honour: Honour is used in situations when you are referring to a group of guest you are inviting, none of which are named individually.
Mr. and Mrs. Robert E. Brown request the honour of your presence at the marriage of their daughter…