As an art element, the font -- or typeface -- you select for a formal invitation expresses your style and demonstrates your taste. Combined with other elements of the invitation, such as paper color and texture, the font will help set the mood for your event and provide your guests with a hint of the style of affair they might expect. Hundreds of appropriate fonts are available, whether you choose to design and print your own invitations or have them professionally engraved.
For a timeless look, use a serif font or a classic script. Cason, Bodoni and Baskerville are elegant fonts that contain serifs -- those small flourishes or extra strokes on the ends of the main strokes of a letter. Snell Roundhand is a longtime favorite script of typographers that is also easy to read, making it ideal for a formal invitation. For the look of hand calligraphy, Lucida Calligraphy makes an excellent choice.
Chic and Modern
Although the name of Bank Gothic does not imply that it would have a modern look, its use of large and small capitals instead of capitals and lowercase lends a modern flare to an invitation. Gill Sans is a san serif type providing clean, simple lines that complement contemporary invitation designs and colors. Palatino is an elegant serif font that is still simple enough to look chic and modern.
Casual and Relaxed
Savoya is a casual script that maintains an elegant quality. Lucida Handwriting is a more playful script that imparts a feeling of fun. Georgia Italic and Perpetua Italic are relaxed but casually elegant serif fonts.
Antique and Old World
Copperplate, one of the fonts employing large and small capital letters, is reminiscent of an old engraving. Bell is a lovely font with aristocratic appeal that is ideal for an invitation to a formal gathering. Century looks like its name implies -- a font from many decades past.