How to Write the Date and Time on Your Wedding Invitation

Is it half after five o'clock or five-thirty? We have all the answers.
kim forrest the knot
Kim Forrest
kim forrest the knot
Kim Forrest
Senior Editor
  • Kim writes and edits articles for The Knot Worldwide, specializing in etiquette and planning advice
  • Kim manages freelance writers for The Knot Worldwide
  • Prior to The Knot Worldwide, Kim was Associate Bridal Editor at Washingtonian magazine and Associate Fashion Editor at Conde Nast’s Brides Local magazines
Updated Nov 16, 2022

When it comes to wedding invitation wording, you should have one goal in mind: To provide your guests with enough information so that they know when and where your big day will take place (and show up on time!). A big part of this is clearly printing the date and time of your wedding day, but there are many different ways you can spell out this info. For example, do you print numerals or write out the numbers?

While wedding invitation etiquette does come into play here, you do have options when it comes to the exact wording. When figuring out how to write the date and time on your wedding invitation, you'll need to take the formality of your wedding (and invitation) into account. More formal invitations for black-tie weddings include more traditional language, while casual invites can be more relaxed and informal. While we're providing suggestions here, we recommend working with a stationer to help figure out the best wording for your invites. Let's get started.

How do we write the date on a wedding invitation?

The traditional way to write the date on your wedding invitations is to spell it out completely, rather than use numerals. So, if your wedding will take place on Saturday, October 26th, 2024, you would write:

Saturday, the twenty-sixth of October
two thousand twenty-four

Let's break it down:

Day of the Week

The day of the week should be capitalized (unless your wedding invitation's font is all uppercase or lowercase), and there should be a comma between the day of the week and the date.


If your wedding takes place on the 21st through the 31st of a month, there is a hyphen between the tens and the ones place in the date. The month is capitalized and written out fully, without any abbreviations.


The year is usually on a separate line from the day of the week and the month, though your invitation style may require a different format. There is no comma between the month and the year. There is no hyphen between "two thousand" but there is a hyphen between the tens and the ones numbers in the year.

Note that you're not required to include the day of the week or the year at all, but we do recommend it.

However, if you're hosting a more casual wedding, you can write out your wedding date more informally. For example, if your wedding will take place on Sunday, May 17th, 2025, you could say:

Saturday, May 17th, 2025

You may also wish to just use numerals as a design choice on your invitation or save-the-date card. So Saturday, August 15th, 2026 would be simply:


Try to be consistent with the date formatting on any enclosures in your wedding invitation suite, including the response card. For example, if you're using the traditional wording and your RSVP deadline is April 17th, you would write:

Kindly respond by the seventeenth of April

You could also be more informal on the RSVP card, using language such as:

Please reply by April 17th

How do we write the time on our wedding invitation?

As with the date, there are several different ways to write the time of day on your invitations. For more traditional wedding invitations, you would write out the time fully, with no numerals. So if your wedding begins at 3:30 p.m., you would write:

at half after three o'clock

If the time is on the hour, you would write:

three o'clock

It's also worth noting that formal wedding invitations traditionally say "half after" (not "half past") for times on the half-hour. The time should be written in all lowercase letters.

You do not have to write "in the morning," "in the afternoon," or "in the evening", unless the wedding is scheduled for 8, 9 or 10 (where there could be some confusion over whether it's morning or evening!). If you'd like to include these phrases, note that any time after 5 p.m. is considered evening, and between noon and 4:30 p.m. is the afternoon. And if your wedding will take place at 12 p.m., just write "noon".

There are other ways to write the time on your wedding invitations, particularly if you're hosting a more casual event. If you're writing the date more informally (Saturday, June 21st, 2025), you can also write the time as "4pm" or "5:30pm". Just remember that the date and time should match in formality—don't write out the date fully and then use numerals for the time. You may also make decisions based on the layout of your invitations—again, working with a stationer can help you figure out what looks and sounds best.

Should we write out separate start times for the ceremony and the reception?

Typically, the main wedding invitation only includes the date and time of the ceremony. If your reception is immediately following your reception in the same location, you can just write "reception to follow" or "dinner and dancing to follow" on the bottom of the invitation. However, if the reception comes several hours after the wedding ceremony and/or in a different location, it's best to include a separate reception card as part of your invitation suite to share all of the details. Here's an example of reception card wording:

Please join us for a reception at six o'clock in the evening.
JW Marriott Houston Downtown
806 Main Street
Houston, Texas


Please join us after the ceremony for dinner and dancing.
Cocktails and hors d'oeuvres will be served at 6 p.m.
followed by dinner at 7 p.m.
The Foundry at Herban Feast
4136 First Avenue South

Do we need to write the wedding's end time on the invitation?

Traditionally, the ceremony and reception's end times are not included on the wedding stationery. However, if you feel that it is important for guests to know when the wedding ends, you can include this information on your wedding website.

Should we put an earlier start time on the wedding invitations so guests don't arrive late?

To help avoid too many wedding guests arriving late to the ceremony, many couples opt to print an earlier start time on their invitations (for example, saying the ceremony starts at 5:00 p.m., when it actually begins at 5:15 p.m). You can certainly do this, but we don't recommend padding the time by more than 15 minutes, or else your on-time guests may start to get bored and think you're the ones running late!

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