This Is How You Word A Wedding Invitation

You’ve got the ring. You’ve got the guy. Now you have to spend the next year (or whatever) of your life planning the perfect wedding day. From the dress to the food to the band, each detail counts, and you’ll want to ensure they’re all perfectly aligned with your vision.

One of the biggest parts (if not THE biggest part) of this vision is making sure your guest show up and know wtf is going on. How does that happen? Your invitations need to be spot-f*cking-on, that’s how. It doesn’t matter if you’re getting married at a courthouse or having a black tie affair at the Met (can you even do that?); your wedding won’t count for sh*t if nobody knows how to get there, what to wear, or wtf is happening at any given time.

We reached out to the experts at Shine Wedding Invitations to give their best advice on wedding invitation wording and general etiquette, so there’s no excuse for you to have anything but an amazing invitation ramping up your big day.

Choose A Style That Fits You (And Your Wedding)

Omg, your wedding—the biggest day of your life. Literally, everything’s been leading up to this. And, even though everyone knows it’s all about you, the wedding should reflect both your and your fiancé’s style. So, how do you select a luxe and classy wedding invite that can encompass your styles AND provide the super important info that your guests, like, need?

Time to ask yourself the tough stuff: are you adventurous? Just hungry? Mean-spirited? Bold? Modern?

“Understanding who you are and what style you would like to encapsulate is essential in choosing the perfect invitation design for your big day,” says Jessica Terrell at Shine. There are tons of fonts, scripts, serifs (those are fonts with the little line thingies underneath the letters) and sans serifs (fonts without those lines). Terrell advises, “When looking at invitation designs, focus on the structure—the body copy is the foundation of your stationery. For those of you who are clean and simple with a modern twist, a thin sans serif will work the best. If you’re more traditional, we highly recommend a serif for its timeless look and feel.”

From there, choose the color, background, and feel of your invites based on your wedding itself. If you’re going for a more Art Deco look and feel, opt for geometric designs. Having your reception at an art gallery? Go for sleek and modern. Wanna get married in a barn? Just skip the whole thing and send invitations in Mason jars, you animal. (Just kidding, not really.) You get the idea.

Get The Wording Right

Once you’ve got your font and overall designed picked out, it’s time to put all those Hooked On Phonics lessons to good use and communicate the actual purpose of said invitation. Most wedding invitation design sites will have the correct “guide” in place to go along with traditional wedding etiquette, so you won’t be shooting in the dark as far as setting up the wording. And thank God, honestly, cause watching some of you try to spell is truly painful.

The Host Line

No, a host line isn’t a creepy phone sex app (brb, I have an idea for a new invention that’s going to make me a millionaire). It’s actually the first line listed on the wedding invitation. Traditionally, it’s meant to announce the parents or family of the bride, since they’re usually the ones paying for the whole thing (thanks Mommy and Daddy—love you). However, the host line can vary based on the couple’s situation, i.e., if the bride’s parents are all, “hey, we’re not paying for jack sh*t” or the groom’s parents are all “here’s $100k and a house, enjoy”. Other host lines may include the groom’s parents, both sets of parents on the bride and groom’s side, neither sets of parents, or other loved ones hosting the event. Here are a few common examples etiquette-approps provided by Shine:

Bride’s Parents Hosting:
Mr. and Mrs. William Arthur Jones
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter

Bride and Groom Hosting:
The honor of your presence is requested
at the marriage celebration of

Both Sets of Parents Hosting:
Mr. and Mrs. William Arthur Jones
along with Mr. and Mrs. John Quincy Adams
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of their children

Bride’s Divorced Parents Hosting:
Ms. Jennifer (Maiden Name) (Married Name)
Mr. William Arthur Jones
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter

Obviously, there are tons of different situations since all family dynamics are super special and unique (yay). From divorced parents with remarriages to special parental titles, such as military, medical, or religious, digging around online or dealing with an easy-to-navigate wedding invitation design site will make your life easier. You can find more details and specific wording examples here, at Shine Wording Guide.

The Request Line

Again, this sounds more complicated than it actually is. The request line directly follows the host line with wording that invites your guest to your big, super special party. A few examples include:
Request Line—Option 1:
Mr. and Mrs. William Arthur Jones
request the pleasure of your company
at the marriage of their daughter
Request Line—Option 2:
Mr. and Mrs. William Arthur Jones
cordially invite you to attend
the wedding of their daughter

The Bride

Time to move on to you and your almost-hubs. Traditionally, the bride’s name is always presented first, because we’re better and cooler. Really, though, it’s because the father is giving his daughter away to a v nice boy, i.e., she doesn’t have to ask dad for money anymore (extrapolating from my own experience here). It’s proper wedding etiquette to include the first, middle, and last name of the bride unless her parents (of the same last name) are also listed on the invitation. In that case, the bride doesn’t need to include her last name, because space issues.

Bride’s Parents Not Listed:
Together with their families/parents
Poppy Jane Jones
Landon Parker Adams
request the honor of your presence
at their marriage celebration

Bride’s Parents Listed:
Mr. and Mrs. William Arthur Jones
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Poppy Jane
Landon Parker Adams

However, in the case that the groom’s parents are hosting the wedding (which can happen if the bride’s parents are deceased, live in a foreign country, or are just being lame and not part of the wedding), their relation to the groom can be mentioned on the joining line, between the bride and groom’s name:

Groom’s Parents Hosting:
Mr. and Mrs. John Quincy Adams
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of
Poppy Jane Jones
to their son
Landon Parker

The Groom

Because he totally f*cking gets it already, the groom is usually listed under the bride’s name. And, just like the bride’s name, the groom doesn’t need to include his last name if his parents (of the same last name) are also mentioned on the invite.

Date And Time

The day and time are probably the most important parts of your entire invitation. Like, how else will people know when to show up with gifts? The phrasing of the day and time is based on the desired style of the wedding invitation. According to traditional wedding etiquette, spelling out the month, day, year and time is required, so don’t try to get fancy with weirdo number situations, you guys.

Option 1:
Saturday, the second of August
two thousand twenty-one
at three o’clock in the afternoon

Option 2:
Saturday, August second
two thousand twenty-one
half after/past three in the afternoon

Ceremony Location

Obv, you’ll need to solidify where tf guests are going for like, the actual wedding. The invite should include the venue name and location for where the wedding ceremony will take place. Don’t assume people know where literally anything is cause, newsflash, they won’t.


Time for the party line. The info about your reception should be last on your invite and shouldn’t be more than a single line with a few words telling your guests that yes, there will be booze if they sit through your f*cking wedding ceremony. By the way, if the reception is located at the same venue and immediately follows the ceremony, you’d go with Option 1. However, if your reception takes place at a different time and either at the same venue or at another location, you’d go with Option 2.

Option 1:
Reception immediately following

Option 2:
Reception to follow

If you need to give more details about your reception, whether it be the time or the place, a separate small enclosure or stationery piece should be included in your wedding invitation suite. That card can provide all the extra info that your guests would otherwise be tempted to text you about during your actual wedding. Although not traditionally proper, if you want to opt out of the small enclosure, you can list the time and address directly beneath the reception line on the invitation. As each invitation will consist of different wording, the additional reception information will need to remain brief. Does that sparkle with everyone? Good.

Drown Them In Information

OK so not, like literally, but when your guests get their invitations in the mail, you’ll want to ensure they have every bit of information they could possibly need. They know which hotels to stay in. They have directions to the venue in hand. They know that the reception will not include children and will include a 6-hour open bar (maybe not that last bit, but whatever).

There are a lot of details that go into planning a wedding. Whether it be a tricky location for the venue or accommodation block, your guests need to be informed of f*cking everything so they can plan their lives accordingly. Enclosures are a great way to allow your invitation to remain simple and clean. Depending on the type of information and how much of it you have, different sized enclosures are available nine times out of ten (and if you’re using a good wedding invite design site).

The Large Enclosure

Jessica says, “there are two enclosures we typically recommend for brides to include in their wedding invitation suites. For the larger of the two, there are a few different ways it can be utilized. Typically, this enclosure is used for accommodations. However, it can be used for travel details, directions, transportation information, special activities, rehearsal dinner invitations, and much more.” For example, Shine’s large enclosure can hold about 18-20 lines of text:

A block of rooms has been reserved for your convenience at
Big Tree Inn
46 Main Street—Geneseo, New York—(585) 243-5220
Please mention the Grimes-Fox wedding when making reservations
Shuttle transportation to the reception will be available
For additional information, visit our website at

The Small Enclosure

Shine has a small option, too, so don’t worry if you’re not into the idea of sending a small FedEx package to your guests. “In addition to the reception details, if it’s hosted at a different location than the ceremony, this enclosure size is perfect for your wedding website, registry information, a new address, or a small morning-after brunch announcement.” The small enclosure would hold about 8-10 lines of text. For example:

Please join us for
a reception amongst the trees at
The Wadsworth Homestead
4 South Street
Geneseo, New York
Half after/past seven in the evening

Response Cards With Meal Options Vs. Without Meal Options

Hey, get ready for everyone to bitch about your food regardless of how many options you give them! But if you’re planning on a seated meal, the response card helps you and your wedding planner confirm the attendees and figure out exactly how many steaks you’ll need. If you’re having a buffet dinner, you obviously don’t need a meal inquiry card, since your guests, like animals, can let loose on piles of food. Meal inquiry cards are also a great way to figure out exactly how many gluten haters and vegans you need to un-invite.


Kindly reply on or before

the twenty-fourth of November


_____ Accepts

_____ Regrets

Please initial your choice of entree

_____ Chicken

_____ Beef

_____ Vegetarian

List any dietary restrictions below:


And just like that, your guests will know exactly who, what, when, and where, without (hopefully) having to ask you too many questions. You won’t get every RSVP card back (so know that going in), but you will have a super spectacular day with limited confusion if you follow these steps to a communicatory powerhouse of an invite.

Images: Shine Wedding Invitations 

Sarah Nowicki
Sarah Nowicki
Sarah Nowicki aka Betchy Crocker writes about food, fashion, and whatever else she's in the mood to complain about for Betches and like, some other people. She resides in Asheville, NC, where she spends her time judging hipsters and holding on to her Jersey heritage and superiority. Yell at her on Instagram @sarahnowicholson