wedding wording wisdom

You just got engaged and you’re ready to announce it to the world! First things first: save the dates and wedding invitations. You have to set the right mood for your big day! This should be easy, no? You get on Pinterest and look at hundreds of samples and swear to follow Emily Post and Martha Stewart’s wedding etiquette rules. This is where it may become daunting, but I say rules can always be bent! It’s good to know the traditions, but from there you can determine how to express your personal style...without being tacky!

First up: Save the Dates. These usually aren’t very complicated, as long as you list both of your names, event date, location and indicate that an official invitation is coming. The rest is totally up to you. Full names or just first names? Long winded or simple facts? City name or exact venue? Your save the dates can be as casual or formal as you want them to be! 

It’s when you get to the wedding invitations that things can become tricky! For traditional invitations, the wording is more or less fill in the blank. Here is an example:

Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Reeves
request the pleasure of your company
at the marriage of their daughter
Courtney Elizabeth
to 
Spencer Ross Toder
Saturday, the twenty fourth of October
Two thousand fifteen
at four o’clock
The Ritz Carlton Beach Club
Sarasota, Florida
with reception to follow

The invitation to attend the wedding ceremony is usually extended by the hosts—traditionally, the bride’s parents—who request either “the honor of your presence” (in a church) or “the pleasure of your company” (elsewhere, like a beach club!). If it were up to Emily Post, numbers would be spelled out and British English spellings would be used to invoke formality. 

Well, times have changed and families come in all shapes and sizes. Plus the notion of a woman’s parents giving her away may not be for everyone, right? Rather than simply doing things exactly as they’ve always been done, you are free to tweak the wedding invitation to make it completely your own. The most common change to the hosting line is reflecting that both sets of parents are hosting together:

Together with their families
Courtney Elizabeth Reeves
to 
Spencer Ross Toder
etc.

It also can reflect that the couple has chosen to host the wedding themselves:

Courtney Elizabeth Reeves
and 
Spencer Ross Toder
request the honor of your presence
at their marriage
etc.

When situations arise, such as divorced or deceased parents, deal with it through a similar change of the hosting line. Here's an example:

Courtney Elizabeth Reeves
daughter of Kim Reeves
and the late Steve Reeves
request the honor of your presence
etc.

Details cards are traditionally used when the ceremony and reception locations differ from one another. They should include the time, place and if necessary, address, of the venue and can be the place to specify attire. I like to make them double sided and include hotel and any other information that you feel the guest will need to know. 

With prices of weddings sky-rocketing over recent years, you may me cutting out the formal dinner. Clarifying that it’s a cocktail party rather than a dinner party on a details card will help guests know what to expect. If you are looking for a less traditional approach, you can use “Join us for cocktails and dancing.” This is where the wording can get fun and the options are endless! 

One last note, never list your registry information on an invitation. Those details are reserved for showers and parties leading up to the big day. You are asking people to be in your presence, not to give you presents! 

Remember to have fun with the wording of your invitations. They set the mood for your celebration and are a reflection of who you are as a couple. Cheers!