Essential and Optional Information for Wedding Invitation Text

The idea of this article is to provide a check list for what needs to be mentioned on a wedding or any other type of invitation. This includes the essentials and some of the more common extras which are really down to the particular wedding or event.
Who the invitation is coming from
Traditionally the invitation comes from the Bride’s parents. This is normally the case when the Bride’s parents are paying for most of the wedding or where there is a strong wish to use more traditional text and they are involved in the planning. Examples of this text include:
Mr and Mrs John (Bride’s Father Firstname) Smith (Bride’s Parents Surname)
request the pleasure of the company of

Guest(s) Name(s)
at the marriage of their daughter…..
Mr and Mrs John (Bride’s Father Firstname) Smith (Bride’s Parents Surname)
would be delighted if
Guest(s) Name(s)
would join them at the marriage of their daughter…..
Mr and Mrs John (Bride’s Father Firstname) Smith (Bride’s Parents Surname)
would be delighted if
Guest(s) Name(s)
would join them in celebrating the marriage of their daughter……
It may come from the Bride and Groom. This is normally the case when the Bride and Groom are paying for most of the wedding or when family politics means mentioning the parents is best avoided for fear of upset. Two ways of structuring this is by either starting with the guests name first or with the Bride and Groom’s first as shown below:
Guest(s) name(s)
Bride’s name
Groom’s name
request the pleasure of your company to celebrate their marriage
Bride’s name
Groom’s name
Request the pleasure of the company of
Guest(s) name(s)
To attend their wedding and reception
The third frequent way is for the invite to come from the bride, groom and both sets of parents. This often happens where everyone is sharing the cost of the wedding. The options for this are similar to those above using your choice of formal or informal text
Who is being Invited
These are the guest’s names. If you’re inviting a single friend and they may bring a date you should put and guest, if it is a friend who is seriously dating or in a relationship it is normally expected that you will invite them by name. This may mean needing to confirm spelling; Facebook can be a great tool here. Also only using first names will save asking for surnames. You can treat different groups differently, ie friends could be more informal and use first names, while family members could have a more formal approach, e.g. Mr and Mrs.
Who the wedding is for
If the invitation comes from those whose wedding or party it is then this is already taken care of, if not you need to include the Bride & Groom’s name. Traditionally and in 95% of invitations printed by Artemis Stationery the Bride’s name comes first.
What they are being invited to
In the case of a normal wedding starting in the day you need to be clear what you’re inviting them to. The traditional day invitation is to attend the ceremony followed by the reception and wedding breakfast. Followed by the evening reception. Where the ceremony is being held in a church it is becoming popular for guests of the evening reception to be invited to the ceremony too. If this is the case you need to be really clear that they are not being invited to the main reception as if they follow the other guests there and unwittingly things could get awkward!
Increasingly there is also a trend for evening weddings. Sometimes it’s because many guests would not be available in the day or because the venue wanted is not available during the day. In this case the main thing to remember is to describe what is happening well so your guests can plan accordingly. This often means letting them know what type of food will be provided and approximately when.
It is probably obvious that the date should be in there, it’s worth mentioning the day to, these days weddings can happen every day of the week. Also it will make it harder to be confused on the wedding day. I recommend the year is also put in to be sure this is clear.
Start Time
Another self-explanatory thing to include is the start time. If you are arranging transport, such as a Routemaster Bus, for your guests you will need to include the meeting time as well as marriage ceremony time. Though remember that guests being invited to just a church ceremony and the evening reception need clear times for both.
Obviously your guests will need to know each location that you expect them to attend. A postcode is essential as these days a lot of people will look up addresses on Google and use sat navs in driving to a location. You may wish to mention parking at this point if restrictions or alternative locations are to be used.
End Time (Optional)
Some invites include an end time, this can be vital for people arranging baby sitters. People often say ‘carriages at……’
You need to tell your guests the date by which you need to know if they are able to come, together with any other information you need from them – this could include confirming names, menu choices etc.. They will also need to know when to RSVP by, who to and how. Some people include self-addressed RSVP cards with their invitations. If you expect people to send their own card then you need to give them an address to send it to. Other people gather RSVPs by email or text. Whatever makes your life simplest. When the invite is coming from the Bride’s parents the RSVP’s will normally go to them. Sometimes a friend or relative who is helping out may also receive them.
Food and Menu Options
If your wedding has a choice of food which must be made in advance then it’s good idea to give your guests the choices in their invitation and then include an RSVP which allows guests to record their choices. If your wedding doesn’t have any menu choices you still may want to gather information on who needs vegetarian food and who has any other special dietary requirements. The last thing you want on your big day is someone who is unable to eat anything from the menu due to food allergies.
Thanks to sat navs and the internet, maps are not often needed but can look good if properly done on larger styles of invites. They can also make it clear of the proximity of locations e.g. if the church and reception venue are within walking distance of each other.
It can be good to let your guests know the options of where they can stay. Especially if you fancy going to breakfast in a hotel and seeing lots of friendly faces there. You may want to let people know of alternative accommodation in the area. If you have any arrangements for discounts for your guests be sure to mention them.
Local taxi companies’ telephone numbers are useful to be included, so that your guests can plan their transport for your big day.
Gifts & Lists
Now this is a contentious one, there is a lot of etiquette out there which says you shouldn’t mention anything to do with gifts in the invitation as this is implying that in return for coming to your wedding a guest must bring a gift and such an implication is considered very impolite.
However there is a flip side of this, as most people will want to bring a gift. Complying with strict etiquette, guests should contact the parents who will give details of the gift list or items you would like. Without a list, guests may bring great presents which however aren’t required, duplicates or just totally random unwanted items! Most of your guests will prefer if you are honest about what you would like or need for your home. Close family and friends will want to give you gifts which they know you will find useful or treasure.
The final thing to consider is whether to ask for money. There are a lot of rhymes which make this sound more polite than saying ‘Gifts: cash or cheques only’. People do realise that many people live together before the wedding so aren’t suddenly in need of equipping a whole house. Vouchers are away around this, as people will know their money is going on something wanted/useful, this can include travel vouchers towards the honeymoon.
Nathan Gardiner is a founder of Artemis Stationery which specialises in bespoke stationery for special occasions including weddings as well as canvas prints. A wide range of designs are available from Artemis Stationery including vintage, modern, funky classic and floral designs. To see Nathan’s work, buy wedding stationery or find other wedding stationery resources visit

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