When you are spending thousands of dollars on your wedding, it’s no doubt that you would want your family and friends to be there celebrating with you on your big day. However, in order for them to attend, it is the couple’s responsibility to relay the right information to their guests! Ironically enough, almost every bride are unaware of the mistakes they are making when they are sending out their wedding invitations so they end up being rather frustrated when certain things don’t end up going their way on the big day. Since your guests are most likely from various generations and cultures, following traditional wedding etiquette will ensure that your invitations don’t offend anyone on your guest list.

To sum it up, not only is your wedding invitation the first interaction you have with your guests, but it is also the guest’s first impression of your wedding. From the wording to the colours, your wedding invitation sets the stage for your wedding, and should be able to inform the guest of the 5 W’s and 1 H in a clear and concise manner.

  • Who is invited?
  • Who is getting married?
  • Who is hosting?
  • Where is the wedding being held?
  • When is the ceremony / reception?
  • What to bring?
  • How to dress?
  • Why attend? Well, that’s a no-brainer!
Wedding Invitation Suite
Smitten on Paper

Wording is no doubt the most important factor of your invitations. When you select the right words to use in an invitation, you are communicating the details of your wedding, as well as your expectations for your guests. Remember that less is always more if you pick the right words!

Here are a few etiquette tips to emphasize and keep in mind:

  • The bride’s name always precedes the groom’s on the invitation no matter what! If it is a same-sex marriage, then the couple will alphabetize by their last name.
  • The honour of your presence” will be used if the ceremony is being held in a religious building (i.e churches, synagogues)
  • The pleasure of your company” will be used if the ceremony is being held elsewhere (i.e. banquet hall, outdoors, museums)
  • Spelling out the date and time will indicate the formality of the wedding (i.e. black tie)
  • Don’t use exclusionary wording (i.e. Adults Only). Instead, you can mark an empty space or checkbox on the response card indicating who the invitation is meant for and the number of guests you are inviting.
  • If the ceremony and reception are held at different venues, formal invitations include the reception information on a separate card.

If the Bride and Groom are Hosting…

Miss Jodie Smith and Mr. Michael Parker
Request the Honor of Your Presence At Their Marriage
Saturday, the Fifteenth of August
Two Thousand and Sixteen

at Five O’Clock in the Evening
St. Mary Church
Ottawa, Ontario

If the Parents of the Bride are Hosting…

Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Smith
Request the Honour of Your Presence
At the Marriage of their Daughter
Miss Jodie Ann Smith
to
Mr. Michael John Parker

Saturday, the Fifteenth of August
Two Thousand and Sixteen

at Five O’Clock in the Evening
St. Mary Church
Ottawa, Ontario

If the Parents of the Groom are Hosting…

Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Parker
Request the Honour of Your Presence
At the Marriage of
Miss Jodie Ann Smith
to their son
Mr. Michael John Parker
Saturday, the Fifteenth of August
Two Thousand and Sixteen

at Five O’Clock in the Evening
St. Mary Church
Ottawa, Ontario

If Both Parents are Hosting…

Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Smith
and
Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Parker
Request the Honour of Your Presence
At the Marriage of their Children
Miss Jodie Ann Smith
to
Mr. Michael John Parker
Saturday, the Fifteenth of August
Two Thousand and Sixteen

at Five O’Clock in the Evening
St. Mary Church
Ottawa, Ontario

If the Parents of the Bride or Groom are Divorced (& Unmarried)…

Mr. Benjamin Smith
M(r)s. Catherine Smith (or maiden name)
Request the Pleasure of Your Company
At the Marriage of their Daughter
Miss Jodie Ann Smith
to
Mr. Michael John Parker

Saturday, the Fifteenth of August
Two Thousand and Sixteen
at Five O’Clock in the Evening
Museum of Civilization
Ottawa, Ontario

Mr. Gordon Parker
M(r)s. Betty Parker (or maiden name)
Request the Pleasure of Your Company
At the Marriage of
Miss Jodie Ann Smith
to their son
Mr. Michael John Parker
Saturday, the Fifteenth of August
Two Thousand and Sixteen

at Five O’Clock in the Evening
Museum of Civilization
Ottawa, Ontario

If the Parents of the Bride or Groom are Divorced (& Remarried)

Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Smith
Mr. and Mrs. Peter Atkins
Request the Pleasure of Your Company
At the Marriage of their Daughter
Miss Jodie Ann Smith
to
Mr. Michael John Parker

Saturday, the Fifteenth of August
Two Thousand and Sixteen

at Five O’Clock in the Evening
Museum of Civilization
Ottawa, Ontario

OR

Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Parker
Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Stewart
Request the Pleasure of Your Company
At the Marriage of
Miss Jodie Ann Smith
to their son
Mr. Michael John Parker
Saturday, the Fifteenth of August
Two Thousand and Sixteen

at Five O’Clock in the Evening
Museum of Civilization
Ottawa, Ontario

If Both the Parents of the Bride and Groom Are Divorced, Remarried, AND hosting…

Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Smith
Mr. and Mrs. Peter Atkins
and
Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Parker
Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Stewart
Request the Pleasure of Your Company
At the Marriage of
Miss Jodie Ann Smith
to
Mr. Michael John Parker
Saturday, the Fifteenth of August
Two Thousand and Sixteen

at Five O’Clock in the Evening
Museum of Civilization
Ottawa, Ontario

If The Mother or Father Of The Bride or Groom Is Deceased…

Mr. Benjamin Smith
Request the Pleasure of Your Company
At the Marriage of his Daughter
Miss Jodie Ann Smith
to
Mr. Michael John Parker

Saturday, the Fifteenth of August
Two Thousand and Sixteen

at Five O’Clock in the Evening
Museum of Civilization
Ottawa, Ontario

Mrs. Betty Parker
Request the Pleasure of Your Company
At the Marriage of
Miss Jodie Ann Smith
to her son
Mr. Michael John Parker
Saturday, the Fifteenth of August
Two Thousand and Sixteen

at Five O’Clock in the Evening
Museum of Civilization
Ottawa, Ontario

If The Couple is Hosting with their Families…

Together with their families
Jodie Ann Smith
and
Michael John Parker
Request the Pleasure of Your Company
At the Celebration of their Wedding
Saturday, the Fifteenth of August
Two Thousand and Sixteen

at Five O’Clock in the Evening
Museum of Civilization
Ottawa, Ontario

Less Traditional Wording Options…

– … invite you to witness and celebrate the marriage of…
– In the celebration of love…
– We are tying the knot and would love for you to join us!

Other tips:

  • If you are looking to have a destination wedding, send out your invitations 3-4 months early. Otherwise, no later than 8-10 weeks for local weddings.
  • Prepare for two separate lists for invitations! Start sending out your B-List invites as your “regretfully decline’s” roll in.
  • Your RSVPs should be due 1 month prior to your wedding so you can get your final headcount to your venue and caterer in time. Build in some extra time so you allow yourself a few days to track down the non-responders.
  • When you are sending out your invitations, gather your addresses beforehand so you aren’t stressing over the details! We know how tedious and time-consuming this process could take, so I highly recommend using Postable to gather your guests’ addresses. Guests fill out a 10-second form, and then you can export all the data collected to an excel spreadsheet!
  • Make sure to budget for postage when you are sending out your mailed-out invitation.
  • Things to include along with your invitation: Response card, Reception RSVP (w/ meal preferences if you have those chosen out), printed return address envelope , and a stamp. Other details to add: Map of the location, accommodation details, and link to your wedding website. Alternatively, if you are looking to cut costs, you can ask your guests to RSVP online on your website.
  • Traditionally, guests’ names should be written out in full with appropriate titles and addresses should also be hand written. The return address, however, should be written on the back flap.
  • If you are planning to send out “Save-The-Dates”, you can include a link to your wedding website! That way, guests can constantly be updated online on the details of your wedding. Alternatively, your website would also be a great place to include your gift registry if you are planning to have one.
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