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The content of a formal wedding invitation is fairly straightforward, albeit slightly more complicated these days due to changes in social attitudes and family structures. Regardless of your particular situation, the lines of your invitation should be in the following order:

The Hosts’ Names

Formal invitations begin with the person or people involved with the hosting, using formal names and titles. For example:

Mr. and Mrs. Richard Johnson
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter

If the bride and groom are hosting their own wedding the first lines would read:

Isabelle Marie Johnson &  Jack Hamden Robert
Request the honour of your presence at their marriage.

Invite Your Guests

“requests the honour of your presence”
(use honour when the wedding is taking place in a house of worship; honor when the location is a hotel, club, etc.)
Casual: “requests the pleasure of your company”

State The Affair And Relationship To The Bride

“at the wedding of our daughter”

The Bride’s First And Second Name

“Isabelle Marie”
If the bride’s last name is different from the host’s, it should also be included on this line, e.g.: “Isabelle Marie Johnson”

The Connecting, “To”

This always goes on its own line in a formal invitation.

The Groom’s Full Name

If the bride is using a professional title, such as “Doctor Marie Ann Consalves,” you should then also include the groom’s personal title, “Mr.,” “Dr.,” or whatever the case may be.

The Day And Month

In a formal invitation, spell out completely the date, time, and location of your wedding. Thus, the date would be:
“Saturday, the twentieth of June”

The Year

“Nineteen hundred and ninety-eight”

The Time

“at two o’clock in the afternoon”

The Location

“The Waybridge Country Club”

City  &  State

“Waybridge, New Hampshire”

Reception Line

If you are planning to have your reception at the same location as the wedding, the line “and afterward at the reception” or “reception immediately following ceremony” should follow the city and state.


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Other printed stationery that is both useful and appropriate:

The Ceremony Card

If you are planning an intimate wedding with a small group of family and friends, but are then going to have a bash to celebrate, enclose a ceremony card along with the reception card.

Wedding Announcements

Send these out the day of your wedding to friends who you did not invite to your wedding, but to whom you would like to announce your marriage! The traditional announcement would look like your invitation, in ecru or white paper with black ink – engraved or thermographed in the style of your wedding invitations. Mail in double envelopes.

Gift Received Cards

A gift received card is a helpful and tactful way of acknowledging the gift of your guest without delay, especially if you are having a large wedding or an extended honeymoon. The card acknowledges a gift and notes that a personal thank-you will soon follow.

Personalized Stationery

Traditionally, the bride took on the role of thanking the couple’s guests for wedding gifts. Nowadays, however, the groom is more likely to lend a hand or shoulder the burden. When he does, his monogram should be on cards he is writing, hers on the notes she will write.

Notecards with the married couple’s name, e.g., “Mr. and Mrs. Johnson,” are used by husband and wife for replying to formal invitations, sending thank-you’s, personal notes, or an invitation.


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