Q&A: Invitation Wording: How to State the Time?

Q:

I will be getting married at 5:30 p.m. How do I word the time on the invitations? I've heard "half after five" is appropriate, but I think it sounds stuffy. If "five thirty" is okay, should I hyphenate or not? Also, should I say "in the afternoon" or "in the evening?" I don't want my guests to think I'm having a formal, black-tie wedding -- plus it's summer and the sun will still be up, so I'm leaning toward "afternoon."

A:

"Half after five o'clock" is the traditional wording, but if you feel that sounds too formal, you can certainly use "five-thirty in the afternoon" or "in the evening." Also, "afternoon" is fine, for the reasons you've given, even though five-thirty is technically evening.