What to Write on Your Wedding Invitations, Line by Line

Follow these casual and formal wedding invitation wording examples.
The Knot Invitations blue color palette wedding invitations with informal wedding invitation wording examples
Laura Metzler Photography
Naoimh O'Hare - The Knot Associate Commerce Editor
by
Naoimh O'Hare
Naoimh O'Hare - The Knot Associate Commerce Editor
Naoimh O'Hare
Associate Commerce Editor
  • Naoimh writes articles for The Knot Worldwide, specializing in shoppable roundups from gift guides to wedding fashion
  • Before working on editorial content, Naoimh wrote storefront descriptions for some of The Knot Worldwide's many wedding vendors
  • Naoimh studied creative writing at the National University of Ireland, Galway
Updated May 20, 2022

Wedding invitation wording might not be as creative of a process to think about as paper designs, calligraphy and color schemes, but when it comes down to it, even the most unique wedding invitations need to be informative.

The text on your wedding invitations should give guests the details of your big day, all while offering a sneak peek of your wedding aesthetic and style as a couple. It should spell out all the essential wedding info—who's getting married, who's hosting, and where and when the ceremony and reception will take place. (Psst, everything else—like your registry and wedding party info—goes on your wedding website.)

With all that in mind, you should still feel empowered to put your own spin on things, especially if your wedding style is more modern, relaxed or nontraditional. Ultimately, it's up to you to do whatever you want with your invitations. (Read more about stationery traditions you can leave behind to see what we mean.) We've included both formal and informal wedding invitation wording samples below to suit all types of celebrations. Plus, read up on traditional etiquette, what to write on your wedding invitations line by line and the biggest wedding invitation wording FAQs.

In this article:

      Wedding Invitation Wording Etiquette

      So you've picked your stationery design (if you haven't, be sure to check out The Knot Invitations for over 300 stunning options)—next comes figuring out how to write a wedding invitation. Before you get started, consider these important etiquette tips.

      • Be concise. It's important that your guests have all the necessary information to attend your wedding, but overloading your invites with text can actually result in them missing something important. Clarity is key, so just give the essential details and leave the rest for your insert cards or wedding website.

      • Consider who's hosting. Traditionally, wedding reception invitation wording includes the name of the person hosting (i.e. paying for) the wedding. Nowadays, this could be the couple themselves, loved ones (such as parents) or a combination of the two. It's respectful to list anyone contributing to your big day on your invites, either by name or in the form of a short line, such as, "Together with their families."

      • Reflect your wedding's formality. How you word your wedding invitations is an indication of the overall formality of the occasion. If you want guests to wear black tie attire, opt for traditional wording. Or if you'd prefer to keep it casual on your wedding day, feel free to explore modern and playful wording examples. Choosing the appropriate type of wording is especially important if you don't plan to explicitly state the dress code.

      • Include an insert card. There are certain pieces of information that don't belong in a wedding invitation suite—most notably, your registry details. Instead, provide guests with a link to your wedding website on a separate insert card. (Psst, The Knot has matching wedding websites and invitations for a cohesive design experience.) You can also use an insert card for anything that doesn't fit on your wedding invites, such as dress code advice or details of a backup venue in case of bad weather.

      What to Put on Your Wedding Invitations

      So what are wedding invitations supposed to say, exactly? Of course, you'll want to include the date, time and location, but how do you word it? There's a lot to consider when deciding on a wedding invitation format. To make things as easy as possible, we've broken it down for you into a few simple steps.

      • The host line. The opening line on a wedding invitation typically refers to the hosts of the event. As mentioned above, if multiple parties are hosting, it's only necessary to include names if you want formal invitations. If the couple is hosting the wedding themselves, this line can be omitted.

      • The request to attend. An explicit request to attend lets guests know exactly what they are being invited to (cue the squeals of excitement). There are many different ways to word this request depending on the level of formality required. See our examples below for inspiration.

      • The couple's names. Next comes the most important information of all: the names of the couple. These are usually printed in a larger font than the rest of the wedding invitation text. Feel free to play around with fancy typefaces here too.

      • The date and time. When stating the wedding date and time, there are two things to keep in mind: formality and clarity. Traditional wedding invitation wording requires the date and time format to be spelled out in full, while figures are often used on modern invites. If you're using figures, make sure the font you choose is clearly legible—a "2" that's easily mistaken for a "5" could cause a lot of confusion.

      • The venue location. Be as specific as possible when writing the name and full street address of your wedding venue, including the state and zip code. If your wedding is taking place abroad, include the country as well. It's important that guests know exactly where they are expected to be so they don't get lost and can organize travel and nearby accommodations if necessary.

      • The reception details. Finally, you need to let guests know whether or not the reception is taking place at the same location as the ceremony. If that's the case, you can simply state, "Reception to follow." If it's in a different location, you can include that information on your invites or on a separate details card.

      • The dress code. Including dress code information isn't compulsory, but it can be very helpful for guests (especially if your stationery doesn't give an indication of the event's formality already). You can state the dress code in the lower corner or centered at the bottom of the invite. Alternatively, use a details card or your wedding website.

      Wedding Invitation Examples and Templates

      Ready to dig into wedding invitation verbiage? A few basic wording tips before we get started: If one person's parents are hosting, it's customary to leave off that person's last name. However, if the person getting married has a different last name than their parents, write their full name (including their middle name for formal invites). The person's last name should also be included if their partner's parents are involved in hosting.

      Wedding Invitation Wording If One Set of Parents Is Hosting

      In this case, the invitation includes one person's parents' names, so you can omit that person's last name (unless they have a different last name than their parents). On the following line, write out the other person's entire name. Same-sex couples or gender non-conforming folks should follow similar guidelines. The host of the wedding celebration (read: the people footing the bill) is listed first, followed by their child's name, followed by their child's partner's name.

      Formal Wedding Invitation Wording Sample:

      Sample 1:

      Mr. and Mrs. John L. Smith

      request the pleasure of your company

      at the marriage of their son

      Jack Alexander

      to

      Mason Jacob Kim

      Saturday, the seventeenth of May

      two thousand twenty-three

      at half after four

      Sample 2:

      Kenzie M. Smith and Jennifer L. Smith

      request the pleasure of your company

      at the marriage of their daughter

      Olivia Rose

      to

      John Michael Reyes

      Saturday, the seventeenth of May

      two thousand twenty-three

      at half after four

      Casual Wedding Invitation Wording Sample:

      Sample 1:

      John and Eliza Smith

      invite you to share in their joy at the marriage of their son

      Jack Alexander

      to Mason Jacob Kim

      Saturday, May 17, 2023

      at 4:30 in the afternoon

      Sample 2:

      Kenzie and Jennifer Smith

      invite you to share in their joy at the marriage of their daughter

      Olivia Rose

      to John Michael Reyes

      Saturday, May 17, 2023

      at 4:30 in the afternoon

      Wedding Invitation Wording If Both Sets of Parents Are Hosting

      If you have both parents hosting, their names should each be listed on separate lines. Since both last names are included in the greeting, there's no need to use last names for the to-be-weds—unless, again, if either of them has a different last name than their parents. In that case, list out their full name, in addition to the full names of their parents.

      Formal Wedding Invitation Wording Sample:

      Sample 1:

      Mr. and Mrs. John L. Smith &

      Mr. and Mrs. Mark Franklin Kim

      request the honor of your presence

      at the marriage of their children

      Jack Alexander

      to

      Mason Jacob

      Saturday, the seventeenth of May

      two thousand twenty-three

      at half after four in the afternoon

      Sample 2:

      Kenzie M. Smith and Jennifer L. Smith

      Mark Franklin and Mary Elizabeth Reyes

      request the honor of your presence

      at the marriage of their children

      Olivia Rose

      and

      John Michael

      Saturday, the seventeenth of May

      two thousand twenty-three

      at half after four in the afternoon

      Casual Wedding Invitation Wording Sample:

      Sample 1:

      John and Eliza Smith

      along with Mark and Sally Kim

      invite you to share and celebrate the marriage of their children

      Jack Alexander

      and Mason Jacob

      Saturday, May 17, 2023

      at 4:30 in the afternoon

      Sample 2:

      Kenzie and Jennifer Smith

      along with Mark and Sally Reyes

      invite you to share and celebrate the marriage of their children

      Olivia Rose

      and John Michael

      Saturday, May 17, 2023

      at 4:30 in the afternoon

      Wedding Invitation Wording If the Couple Is Hosting

      If you're paying for the wedding yourselves, the wedding invitation format will look slightly different. Essentially, the greeting will skip the host line and begin with the request line—here's an example.

      Formal Wedding Invitation Wording Sample:

      The honor of your presence

      is requested at the marriage of

      Jack Alexander Smith

      to Mason Jacob Kim

      Saturday, the seventeenth of May

      two thousand twenty-two

      at half after four

      Casual Wedding Invitation Wording Sample:

      Jack Alexander Smith &

      Mason Jacob Kim

      invite you to share in their joy at their wedding

      Saturday, May 17, 2022

      at 4:30 in the afternoon

      Wedding Invitation Wording If Everyone Is Hosting

      If multiple parties are chipping in for the wedding, the invitation begins with the bride's name, followed by the groom's name, and finally the parents' names, starting with the bride's parents. Or go ahead and list the couple's names in alphabetical order, followed by their parents' names in corresponding order.

      Formal Wedding Invitation Wording Sample:

      Sample 1:

      Mr. Jack Alexander Smith

      and

      Mr. Mason Jacob Kim

      together with their parents

      Mr. and Mrs. John L. Smith &

      Mr. and Mrs. Mark Franklin Kim

      request the honor of your presence

      at their wedding

      Saturday, the seventeenth of May

      two thousand twenty-two

      at half after four in the afternoon

      Sample 2:

      Olivia Rose Smith

      and

      John Michael Reyes

      together with their parents

      Kenzie M. Smith and Jennifer L. Smith

      and Mark Franklin and Mary Elizabeth Reyes

      request the honor of your presence

      at their wedding

      Saturday, the seventeenth of May

      two thousand twenty-two

      at half after four in the afternoon

      Casual Wedding Invitation Wording Sample:

      Jack Alexander Smith &

      Mason Jacob Kim

      together with their parents

      invite you to their wedding

      Saturday, May 17, 2022

      at 4:30 in the afternoon

      Wedding Invitation Wording to Include a Deceased Parent

      You can absolutely switch up your wedding invitation script to include the name of a deceased loved one. One tactful and meaningful way to do this is to change the format slightly to accommodate the word "late" in front of your family member's name. (Beyond your wedding invitation message, you have plenty of ways to honor a deceased parent during your wedding ceremony and reception.)

      Together with their families,

      Mr. Jack Alexander Smith,

      son of John Smith and the late Eliza Smith,

      and Mason Jacob Kim,

      son of Mr. and Mrs. Mark Franklin Kim,

      request the honor of your presence at their marriage

      Saturday, the seventeenth of May

      two thousand twenty-three

      At six o'clock in the evening

      Plaza Hotel

      New York, New York

      Reception to follow

      Wedding Invitation Wording If Another Family Member Is Hosting

      We understand that every family situation is different. If you were raised by someone other than your parents and they are hosting the wedding, you can absolutely print that on the invites. Here, we show an example of what that may look like, but feel free to make it authentically yours.

      Formal Wedding Invitation Wording:

      Bo and Patti Smith

      Request the honor of your presence

      At the wedding of

      Jack Alexander

      to

      Mason Jacob Kim

      Casual Wedding Invitation Wording:

      Bo and Patti Smith

      Invite you to join in the celebration of the wedding of

      Jack Alexander

      to

      Mason Jacob Kim

      Wedding Invitation Wording FAQs

      Still have some questions about what your wedding invitations should say? We've covered the most common wedding invitation wording FAQs below, including protocol for whose name goes first and the proper language to use for dress code details.

      Whose name goes first on wedding invitations?

      If you're following traditional etiquette, the bride's name always goes first on wedding invitations. That said, it's really up to you to decide whether or not this tradition is something you want to follow. For couples that don't identify as a bride and groom, or if there are two brides, names are typically listed in alphabetical order. But again, it's your choice if you want to embrace tradition or forge your own unique path.

      How do you word a reception-only invitation?

      It's important to use the proper wedding invitation wording when requesting guests' attendance at a reception-only celebration. Make some small tweaks to the wedding invitation copy, such as replacing "request the honor of your presence at the wedding of" with "request the honor of your presence to celebrate the wedding of." If the couple has already held the ceremony, the invites can double as wedding announcements. Feel free to add a line at the top stating that they've tied the knot, followed by a request to attend the reception.

      How do you word dress code information?

      Stuck on wedding invitation verbiage etiquette for requesting a specific dress code? As we mentioned earlier, this should be stated at the bottom of your invitations or on a separate insert card or your wedding website. There are a few different ways to phrase this information. Try using one of these simple wedding invitation wording ideas:

      Black tie optional.

      Cocktail attire

      Dress casual.

      Can you list multiple venues on your wedding invitation?

      Whether you're holding additional events (think: an after-party) or the ceremony and reception are in separate locations, sometimes it's necessary to include more than one address on your wedding stationery. If the event is taking place on the same day as the ceremony and there's space for more copy on your wedding invitations, feel free to add the details beneath the reception information. If the event is taking place the following day or throughout a wedding weekend, the easiest way to inform your guests without overloading your invites is by including a separate details card outlining the timeline of events.

      Maddy Sims contributed to the reporting of this article.

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