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The Inviting Invitation

The right wording for your wedding invitation means everything. Not only does it convey much more than practical information, it also expresses your desire to share this special celebration with the recipients. Upon opening your invitation, your guests will know whether the occasion is formal or informal, religious or secular, same-sex or hetero-sexual, local or far away. In addition, the size, material (usually paper), stationery technique (engraving, letterhead printing, thermographic printing, embossing, laser print, calligraphy), font, design and color, and information given—all combine to reveal the nature and character of your upcoming celebration. You can look online to design and print out your own invitations.

Invitations, Paper and Thread Studio

Here are some common forms with appropriate wedding wording etiquette.

  • Save the Date Cards: These can be especially helpful for guests when you are planning a destination wedding or a wedding around a holiday when advanced travel planning may be needed.
  • Traditional Formal Invitations: Names of invitees are usually handwritten within the invitation itself. This may include a separate reception card, ceremony card (seldom), and/or RSVP card.
  • Semi-formal/Informal Invitations: Same information in a less formal, more intimate manner. Paper, colors, and design are usually selected to reflect the couple’s personal style. For an intimate wedding of family and close friends, handwritten  invitations are suitable and often written by the couple or their family members.
  • Non-traditional Invitations: The increasing popularity of non-traditional celebrations of love, unions, and commitment ceremonies has generated interest in more creative invitations. Original wedding themes from culinary to vintage are first evident in the invitations. Same sex invitations also frequently include two brides or two grooms as well as symbolic decoration.
  • Wedding Announcements: The announcement is not an invitation to the ceremony or festivities; it is sent to persons–business, school, friends, family– who for whatever reason were not invited or were unable to attend the event. It includes the same names and date as the invitation and sometimes also the names of parents. The announcement is most often used when a wedding is far away, very small or after an elopement. It is not sent until after the wedding, and frequently includes a wedding photo.

WORDING THE INVITATION

All invitations are traditionally sent by the host/hosts of the wedding and reception, whether parents, step parents, other relatives, friends, or the couple themselves. Although stationers and suppliers will have numerous examples of typical wording for most situations, an understanding of traditional wording as well as guidelines for more individual circumstances can be helpful. Military titles are used when the person is a member of the armed forces or serving on active duty with the reserve; all military titles are written in full–no abbreviations.

Green Seeded Garden Herb Wedding Invitation, Forever Fiances

Traditional and Formal Wording

Traditional and formal wording is written in the third person style and printed in black or dark gray ink; “honour” and “favour” usually written in British style; names on invitations are written in full with no initials. The invitation to the ceremony usually does not include an RSVP; numbers in the date of the wedding are spelled out; request RSVP at least two weeks prior to ceremony; all type is centered on the page.

Eco-Friendly Wedding Invitations and Envelopes, Paper and Thread Studio

Informal Wording

Printed informal invitations are written in the first person and reflect the mood of the occasion, whether written by parents or other family members.  Phrases such as “We invite you” and “Please join us” are commonly used.

Informal Invite, Dolce Press

Handwritten Notes

This wording is from parents or from the bride and groom and conveys necessary information in an original, warm, personal style.

Handwritten Invite, Imgspark

Individual Circumstances

Whatever the complications of your family situation, make certain to include all involved parents, and discuss inclusion of new spouses with your families.  If you do include them, name the parents first, then use the phrase “together with” to include the new spouses. If a bride or groom wishes to include the name of a deceased parent, use “the late” in front of the deceased’s name on the invitation. If your professional name is different from your real “formal” name, you may print your professional name in parentheses below your real name. On joint invitations issued by both bride and groom’s families, the bride’s parents are listed first.

Wooden invite made from sustainably harvested trees, Wanart

Cultural Awareness

If you are marrying someone of a different religion or culture, learn as much as you can about his or her heritage and expectations. It is especially important to respect those traditions which are significant to the family and/or are religious in nature. And, yes, some of these practices are reflected even in the invitations–from the appropriate colors of stock and ink to the wording itself. The double invitation–an old European custom with the bride’s family on the left side of the page and the groom’s on the right–is becoming increasingly popular in this country.

Most important: Only you and your partner know the perfect way to celebrate your wedding and respectfully share your happiness with family and friends.  Always trust your instincts!

DIY Invites, Sheknows

Dawn Bryan is the founder and President of The Qualipedia and an authority on gifting, protocol, quality, and conscious choice. She wrote the best-selling book “The Art and Etiquette of Gift Giving” and has taught etiquette and protocol to many celebrities and corporations around the globe, including P. Diddy’s Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment Group.

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One response

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    May 7, 2014 at 4:40 pm

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