Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wedding Invitation Wording Etiquette

There is a lot of power in words. Romantic poems, resignation letters, acceptance speeches - they all contain words which have the capability of bringing out feelings of love, melancholy, and jubilation, as well as sadness, fear, and remorse. But when you're getting married, you'd be surprised at the emotions the simple words on your wedding invitation can evoke. Whether you believe in following the "rules" or prefer to break them, there are a few basics of invitation etiquette that every bride should at least be aware of.

Below you'll find just some of our most frequently asked questions at Earthly Affair, but feel free to leave a comment asking your own wording questions.

1. What times are considered afternoon and what times are considered evening?
This is a rule that is broken quite often and in some cases I can understand why. A bride who is having a six o'clock summer wedding, when it doesn't usually get dark until about nine at night, may not feel comfortable calling six o'clock "evening." However, etiquette dictates that afternoon starts at 12 p.m. and evening begins at 6 p.m. To get around this, it's perfectly acceptable to leave off "in the evening" or "in the afternoon," as long as it's obvious what time of day your wedding occurs. For instance, a wedding at eight or nine, could potentially be considered a morning or evening wedding, so it's best to be specify when those weddings take place.

2. How do I let guests know the reception is adult only.
If you've read the story about the pepper spray kid, it may be tempting to put "adult reception" on the invitation or reception card, but this is considered poor taste. The best way to let guests know this is to address the envelope with only those who are invited. Unfortunately, you may find that certain guests will bring their children regardless of what the invitation or envelope says. Short of having your wedding at a 21 and up club, this is one of those instances where you may just have to grin and bear it or risk committing a major invitation etiquette faux pas.

3. How are the parent's names handled?
Typically, whoever is hosting the wedding (i.e. paying for it) is mentioned on the request line. For instance, if the bride's parents are hosting, the invitation might say:

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Smith
request the honor of your presence

at the marriage of their daughter

If you wish to also mention the groom's family, especially if they are contributing financially, you may follow the groom's name with his parent's names. It might look like this:

son of Mr. and Mrs. Alan Roberts

If both parents and the bride and groom are hosting, you may say:

Together with their parents
Together with their families

Remember, these are just some of the invitation wording questions we receive. If you have any specific questions, please feel free to leave a comment or contact us at Earthly Affair and we'll be happy to help!


Kristin @ bridal buzz said...

Great suggestions! You'd be surprised at how many brides don't know these kind of tips. Thanks for sharing.

TheBlogsmaid said...

Awesome advice!! Thanks for sharing!

Sherrlyn Borkgren Photography said...

Sherrlyn of says...As a photographer I am often one of the first people a bride and groom meet with when planning their wedding. I love to help anyway that I can and give little tips like this to them.

Arr said...

Our son was fifteen months old when his father and I finally got married. The running joke was that the wedding was paid for out of his college fund. When we sent the invitations they read "Ess fondly invites you to wedding of his parents".

This not only announced that our son would be part of the wedding, it also eased both parents. After all, grandparents are rarely jealous of their grandson.

Twisted Limb said...

Great advice! As for the awkward "no kids" thing, if you can't rely on traditional etiquette and don't want to be stuck with kids, you could try to call the parents or write a personal note explaining the situation. Another thought is to arrange for babysitting or a kids' room near the reception site (if it's in the budget it's a very nice gesture), and informing the parents of those arrangements will also inform them that the event is kids-free!

Wedding Invitation Ideas said...

Awesome read, thanks for the share.

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