A Guide To Wedding Invitation Wording

So you’ve picked your stationery, now it’s time to decide your wedding invitation wording. Your invites need to communicate the vital details of your day as well as give a sense of your theme and relationship. Wedding invitation etiquette can seem complicated but the rules are much simpler and straightforward than you might think. Formal or informal, evening-only or full-day, parents hosting or just you two, whatever your wedding, we’ve got the invitation wording templates to help you get it right. To help guide you, I’ve broken down what to include and some wording examples to get you started.

What to include on your wedding invitation

Whilst the below may seem obvious, it’s important to make sure your wedding invitations include the following elements:

  • Who’s hosting the wedding (aka who is paying for it: you or the parents?)
  • The request to come to the wedding
  • The names of the happy couple
  • The location
  • The date and time
  • Reception information
  • RSVP contact details and deadline (this can be included on a separate rsvp if preferred)
  • Dress code (optional)
  • Wedding website address (optional)

You may wish to add your guest's names to make it clear whether partners and children are invited. This can be done by hand, add a space for the names to your wedding invitations or even a dotted line. Alternatively, most wedding stationery suppliers will add names to printed invites for a fee. 

Invitation Wording Templates

  1. Traditional Church Ceremony
  2. Couple as Hosts
  3. Civil Ceremony
  4. Both Families included
  5. Divorced, Remarried and Step-parents
  6. Widowed parents
  7. Same-sex marriage
  8. Evening only invite
  9. Adults only invite


1. Traditional Church Wedding

Tradition dictates that the parents of the bride are the host of the day and foot the bill, therefore the wedding invitation would traditionally come from them. As the bride’s parents would be hosting, the RSVPs would go back to them and you would add a separate RSVP card.


2. Couples as Host

More and more couples these days are hosting their own weddings, do so together with their parents or if you just feel like you’d like the invitations to come directly from you, then you don’t need to include their names on your wedding invitations. Traditionally the name of the bride always precedes the groom’s name. 


3). Civil ceremony

Many couples now have a civil ceremony at the same venue as their reception. Civil ceremony wedding invitation wording doesn’t differ all that much. The main difference being that only one venue needs to be listed on the invitation, however, it is still best to include ‘followed by reception’ so the guest knows they are invited to the ceremony as well as the celebrations after. Again, if the bride’s parents are hosting, just use their names, otherwise, you may choose to name both sets of parents or the couples. 

Formal example

Informal Example


4. Both families 

It is becoming increasingly popular for both sets of parents to contribute towards the wedding or perhaps you would just like to include both sets of parents on your invitations. For formal invitations from both sets of parents you would include both their names, however, if you feel like having both sets of parents’ names is a bit wordy, you can word it slightly more informally such as ‘Together with their parents’ or ‘Together with their families’ if parents are remarried or widowed. 


5. Divorced, Remarried and Step-Parents

Divorced parents

If the bride or couples parents are divorced and you want to include both as hosts, you can include them all, just keep each parent on a separate line. This etiquette goes for if your mother has kept the same surname or if she has changed her surname back to her maiden name.


Remarried parents

If your parents have remarried but are still hosting the wedding together, you would name them separately and include your mother’s new married name.

Including step-parents

If both parents are hosting along with your step-parents, it’s always best to start with together with their families. Alternatively, if the invitations are coming from one parent who has remarried and your step-parent is a part of hosting the wedding instead of one of your biological parents, you would just include both names on the invitation as normal.


6). Widowed Parents

Addressing a wedding invitation from a widowed parent can be sensitive. If you want to include the name of a deceased parent, you’ll need to rearrange things a little, as someone who has passed can’t actually serve as a host. 


7). Same-sex marriages

The rules are pretty much the same for same-sex couples. The main difference being which name goes first. If one set of parents are paying for the wedding then etiquette dictates their names will go first, but otherwise, it is your choice how you list your names. Whether it’s “Emily and Louise” or “Louise and Emily”, it’s going to be lovely either way. Alternatively, you could choose to do it alphabetically or simply with what sounds better.


8). Evening- only invitation

Sometimes there just isn’t enough room on the guest list to invite everyone to the day. If you need to invite someone to the evening reception only, make sure you word it clearly so your guests aren’t confused.


9). Adults-only ceremony 

Some couples may prefer to have an adult-only celebration, if so, it's worth specifying this on your invitation as some people may presume their children are invited, even if they haven’t been named. Address your invitations as normal with just the names of the adults you would like to invite then add a line at the bottom to express that children aren’t invited. Please see some polite options below:

  • We have chosen to have a child-free wedding. We hope you are still able to celebrate with us. 
  • As much as we would like to invite all the children of our friend, it is only possible to accommodate children of close family. 
  • Our wedding will be a child-free occasion. We hope you can still come and enjoy a night off. 
  • Due to venue capacity regulations, we hope you can understand that unfortunately children are not invited. 

Dress Code

Traditionally wedding invitation etiquette dictates that the dress code (if you are including it on the invitation) is on the lower right-hand corner of the invitation. If you don’t wish to include a note, you can always include this on a detail or information page or let the invitation indicate the dress code. For example, if the invitation is very fancy, guests will likely be anticipating formal, black-tie affair, or if the invitation is on the simpler side this may indicate a more casual dress code. 

Separate RSVP Card

Most couples choose to include a separate RSVP card for guests to fill out and return in the mail. Wedding websites are becoming increasingly popular which allows people to RSVP and find out more details of the day online. If you choose to create a wedding website, make sure to include the address on the invitation or a separate card as you would with an RSVP. 

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