A guide to wedding invitation wording etiquette
So you have got engaged, started planning the big day, so now you need to send out your wedding invitations. Mitchell Bowling the Grand Hotel’s Restaurant Management is an authority on all things to do with etiquette, so this week Mitchell is on hand to help with how to send the perfect wedding invitation. Formal wedding invitations can be tricky and hard to organise, were here to help!
What you’re about to read are friendly tips and guidelines. There is no order of importance but be sure to have what I’ve listed below.
- For a wedding invitation, if the bride shares her parents’ last name, only her first and middle name are used. The groom’s name is spelled out, and is preceded by a title. For example: Mr. Walter David Smyth
- The phrase “the honour of your presence” is used when the ceremony/event will take place in a house of worship. For other venues “the pleasure of your company” is the traditional wording.
- The invitation is issued by the hosts. The hosts’ names are spelled out and include middle names and titles.
- Titles such as Mr. and Mrs. are not spelled out. Doctor, Lord, Lady, etc. should be spelled out, unless the name would be too long to fit on one line.
Time and date
- The date is spelled out, as is the year. There is no “and”: two thousand fourteen.
- The day of the week and the month are capitalized; the year is not.
- The phrases “in the afternoon” and “in the evening” are not necessary.
- Use the phrase “half after” when indicating time, rather than “half past” or “four-thirty.”
- Provide the city and county of the wedding location. The county is spelled in full, but may be omitted if all guests are local.
- “RSVP,” which is an abbreviation of the French repondez s’il vous plait, means “please respond.” Each of the following usages is correct: RSVP, R.S.V.P., r.s.v.p., R.s.v.p. and “The favour of a reply is requested.”
- RSVP is only used on reception invitations or combination wedding/reception invitations; it’s not used on wedding-only invitations. When used, it goes on the lower left.
- RSVP isn’t necessary if you’re including stamped addressed reply cards.
- RSVP date should be two to three weeks before your wedding date. This allows enough time for you to get a final head count (one week before) and to finalize your seating chart. If some guests still haven’t responded by your deadline, give them a quick call and ask for their RSVPs (still via mail, email, etc.) so you have all their information.
- RSVP on its own indicates that replies should be sent to the return address on the outer envelope of the invitation. If you want replies sent to a different postal address, or to include an email address or phone number as alternative methods for sending replies, add this information below the RSVP:
St. Mary’s Lodge
Torquay, Devon TQ2 3FR
01803 555 555
- Traditionally, invitations go out six to eight weeks before the wedding/event. That gives guests plenty of time to clear their schedules and make travel arrangements. Especially if they don’t live in town.
- If it’s a destination wedding, give guests more time and send them out three months ahead of time.
- Most couples also send out save-the-date cards. They go out six to eight months ahead of time.
I hope this has given you a clear understanding of formal wedding invitations. These tips also hold true for formal dinner invitations, christinings etc.
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