How to Write a Wedding Invitation

a rose and an invitation on the table

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With weddings that range from formal affairs in front of hundreds of guests to casual, backyard ceremonies, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to writing a wedding invitation. However, regardless of the nature of your ceremony, your invitations should hold true to several universal rules -- they should recognize the hosts, include all the appropriate information about the wedding and have an RSVP element.

The Hosts' Names

Wedding invitations typically begin by listing the occasion's hosts. Write the hosts' names and their corresponding titles, followed by a line such as "request the pleasure of your company" or "request the honor of your presence," depending on whether the ceremony is in a house of worship, followed by the names of the two people getting married. The information customarily appears on different lines.

If the bride's parents are hosting the wedding, the start of the invitation could read: Mr. and Mrs. Michael Smith request the pleasure of your company at the marriage of their daughter Lisa Marie to David Robert Edwards

If the soon-to-be married couple is hosting the wedding, their names appear at the start of the invitation. Always place the hosts' names at the top, whether they're a divorced couple or a parent and a step-parent.

Wedding Specifics

The next lines of the wedding invitation should provide specific details about the wedding's date, time and location on separate lines. For a traditional invitation, list the weekday, date and month, time of day, venue, city and state and reception information on separate lines.

For example, write: Friday, the first of August at seven o'clock in the evening Greensmere Golf Club Anywhere, CA Reception to follow

Informal Wording

If you're planning an informal wedding, a traditionally worded invitation can feel a little stiff. Instead, use everyday language to convey the same information -- informal invitations should still list the hosts and the particulars of the wedding. An informal wedding invitation could use wording such as:

You're invited to the wedding of Michelle Marie Adams and Douglas Robert Smith

Please celebrate with us on Saturday, the second of October at noon St. Andrews United Church Anywhere, CA Reception to follow

RSVP Cards

The RSVP card is an important element of the wedding invitation, as it allows you to track who plans to attend the event. This card is typically simple in nature, with a line for the guest to write his name and the name of his date and check boxes to identify whether he will attend or not attend. Always include the date by which you wish to receive the RSVP.

A sample card could appear as: M****_ [ ] will attend [ ] will not attend

The guest uses the "M" as the foundation for "Mr.," "Mrs." or "Ms.," or a combination thereof, such as "Mr. and Mrs.," and then places a check in the appropriate box.

For informal weddings, many couples ask prospective guests to confirm or decline their attendance by email.