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wedding invitation wording and etiquette

General Wedding Invitation Wording Etiquette

With the use of email and text messaging it is so easy to fall into the pattern of writing the way we speak but some things do call for formality and wedding stationery happens to be one of those things. Here are our etiquette suggestions for keeping your wedding invitation wording formal, respectful and proper.

Use the first person or the third person but not both. For example:

Doctor and Mrs. Aaron James
request the honour of your presence


Lisa James and Vincent Petrillo
invite you to join us

Periods and commas are not used on wedding invitation wording unless they are part of the title.

Use full names with middle names spelt out or you can omit the middle name. It is not acceptable to use nick names.

It is perfectly acceptable to include the reception information on the invitation if it is being held after the ceremony at the same location. This can be written on the last line as follows:

Reception immediately following the ceremony

Attire requests should be placed with the reception wording. If you are including a reception card then the attire request such as “Black Tie” or “White Tie” should be placed on the reception card, at the bottom right or bottom center. If you are not including a reception card, because the ceremony and the reception are at the same location, the attire request should be placed after the reception wording, on the bottom right corner or the bottom center of the wedding invitation.

Communicating that children are not invited to your wedding can be tricky because there really isn’t a nice way to say that to a parent. Many brides write “Adult Reception” on the reception card. Another way this can be handled is to order a wedding invitation that comes with inner and outer envelopes and write just the names of the adults on the envelopes. You can also follow up with a phone call or note to explain.

It has become popular to include a separate respond card with an addressed, stamped return envelope but it is also fine to simply add a line in the bottom left corner of your invitation with the words “Please reply” or “R.s.v.p.” along with a phone number or email address.

It is not appropriate to include gift registry information on your wedding invitation or on any other enclosure. Guests who need this information will simply ask for it!

Wedding Invitation Envelope Addressing Etiquette

It is not correct to apply address labels on the wedding invitation envelopes. We recommend that you ask a close friend or family member who was blessed with nice penmanship to assist you with the addressing, or, order our envelope calligraphy service along with your wedding stationery, or hire a calligrapher to do them for you. After all, your wedding is a once in a lifetime event, you deserve the very best!

We recommend including your return address on the wedding invitation envelope. This will let you know which of your intended guests did not receive your invitation when the undeliverable ones are returned by the post office. The return address should be placed on the back flap of the outer envelope. The return address should not be placed on the upper left hand corner on the face of the envelope. The return address on an invitation envelope includes the address only, no names. The same lettering style that was used on the invitation or a complimentary style should be used on the envelopes. Avoid very fancy lettering styles that are hard to read for the return address. The postman may not be able to read the address.

Outer Envelopes:

The outer envelope is slightly larger than the inner envelope and the flap is gummed on the inside for easy sealing.

Use full names and formal titles. Do not abbreviate. Ex.: Mr. and Mrs. Steven Johnson

Do not use symbols. Spell out the word "and".

Do not use initials. Spell out all names.

Do not write "and family" if children are to be included in the invitation. The names of the children should be placed on the inner envelope, only the names of the parents should be placed on the outer envelope. See Inner Envelopes section below.

Use figures only when writing house numbers and zip codes.
Ex.: 1747 Second Avenue South instead of 1747 2nd Ave S

Write out the words "Street", "Boulevard", "Avenue", etc.
Do not abbreviate state names. For example, write out “California” instead of “CA”.

Sample addressing for an outer envelope:

Mr. and Mrs. Steven Johnson
90 Central Park West
New York, New York 10023

Inner Envelopes:

Inner envelopes have ungummed flaps because they are not meant to be sealed. Address the inner envelope with names only, do not include the address on the inner envelope.

Use full names and formal titles. Do not abbreviate. Ex.: Mr. and Mrs. Johnson

First names should only be used by themselves when children are being invited along with their parents. Write the first names of children to be invited below the parents' in order of age. Ex.:

Mr. and Mrs. Johnson
Lisa, Adam and Julia

Omit children's names if you are planning an adult-only celebration.

If an invitation to a single guest extends to an unknown escort, address the inner envelope with your guest's name followed by "and Guest". Ex.: Miss Andrews and Guest

Single Outer Envelopes:

If you have selected an invitation that does not include an inner envelope or choose not to use your inner envelope, you may follow traditional addressing rules for outer envelopes or create a new way that works best for you.

Write “and guest” as it would have appeared on an inner envelope.

For a traditional single outer envelope address, include the names of the children to be invited below the parents’ names as on a standard inner envelope.

Sample addressing for a single outer envelope:

Mr. and Mrs. Steven Johnson
Lisa, Adam and Julia
18 Milan Way
Denver, Colorado 80202


>>Click here to go to wedding invitation wording samples<<