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Wording: Formal Wedding Invitations

In accordance with long-standing traditions, the following etiquette guidelines apply to the wording of formal wedding invitations.

Names and Spelling

  • Meadow-WOA wedding invitation is issued by the host(s). The hosts' name(s) are spelled out and include middle names and titles.
  • Titles such as Mr. and Mrs. are not spelled out. Doctor should be spelled out, unless the name would be too long to fit on one line.
  • The phrase "the honour of your presence" is used when the ceremony will take place in a house of worship. Honour is spelled with a "u" in the British fashion. For other venues "the pleasure of your company" is the traditional wording.
  • 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. Stephen Eugene Hall. 
Time and Date
  • The date is also spelled out, as is the year. Note that there is no "and": two thousand twenty-three.
  • The day of the week and the month are capitalized; the year is not.
  • Use the phrase "half after" when indicating time, rather than "half past" or "four-thirty."
  • The phrases "in the afternoon" and "in the evening" are not necessary.
  • Provide the city and state of the wedding location. The state is spelled in full, but may be omitted if all guests are local.

RSVP

  • "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 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: 
RSVP4010 Oak Lane
Essex Falls, New Jersey
07021

or,

973-555-1234

  • RSVP isn't necessary if you're including stamped addressed reply cards unless you'd like to give your guests another way to respond, such as an email address or a phone number.
Details and Differences
  • The wording for a Jewish wedding invitation differs only in that "and" is used instead of "to" between the bride and groom's names.
  • When a Roman Catholic mass is part of the ceremony, invitations may include "and your participation in the offering of a Nuptial Mass" beneath the groom's name.
  • Do not mention gifts or attire on the wedding invitation. If necessary, "Black tie" may be written in the lower right on a reception invitation.