Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Write It Right: Wedding Invitation Wording Etiquette

Although micro-planned weddings are popular these days, wedding mania is really nothing new. So-called modern trends are actually rooted in wedding ceremonies dating as far back as ancient Greece. And along with this age-old tradition comes a laundry list of expected social graces. For many modern brides, the Wedding Save the Date sets the stage then the formal wedding invitation introduces the details of your special day with an added level of style and sophistication. While a great invitation design will catch your guests’ attention, it is important to also be mindful of the wording on your wedding invitation.

Order of Introductions

Traditionally, the first names that appear on an invitation are the people who are hosting the event(and likely footing the bill!).  Since wedding ceremonies are as old as recorded history, it’s only relatively recently that the bride’s parents weren’t the default entry on the first line of a wedding invitation.

Now there are blended families, brides and grooms who are paying for everything themselves, even crowd-sourced weddings. Maintaining the tradition of keeping the event hosts on the first line of the invitation gives guests a sense of who’s who and what’s what. More than just clunky tradition, think of this part of the wedding invitation as an event roadmap for your guests.

Tone and Tenor

The mood and style of your wedding should dictate the wording for the rest of your invitation. Formal phrasing like, “request the honor of your presence,” and “request the pleasure of your company,“ would be fitting for a black tie affair; but the more casual “please join us,” is best if your event will be focused more on fun than fancy.

A major faux pas (that’s French for embarrassing mistake) until very recently was to use numerical characters for the wedding date. Yes, it’s true. If your invitation said Saturday, May 15, 2002, instead of Saturday, May fifteenth, two thousand and two, no one would show up. O.K., maybe that’s an exaggeration, but the acceptance of numerical characters is new. The numbers sneaked in with the advent of theme weddings, location weddings and canine ring bearers. Just triple proofread your invitation to make sure the day of the week and the date match, and go with what works for you.

Blending Classic and Creative

Invitation must-haves include location, reception and RSVP information. Coordinate the wording with the tone of your wedding and triple proofread addresses and dates. As unique weddings become more and more clever, couples are delivering this information to their guests in creative ways:

  • A QR code (QR=quick response) is printed on a separate sheet of paper and included in the wedding package. Guests use their smart phone to go to a web page with wedding location and/or reception information or to an RSVP site.
  • Fun-loving couples include Scratch Off Cards (oh, and by the way, My Scratch Offs can help you with that!) that tie in to their wedding’s theme and provide the location of the reception.
  • A link to a wedding website that provides maps, hotel recommendations, local restaurants and other helpful details.

Your wedding invitation is one of your guests’ first glimpses into the celebration of your marriage. Let them know how much their presence at this important event means to you, and connect them to the event itself with creative design and choice phrasing.

Are you a bride-to-be? We would love to hear from you on this topic! Connect with us on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter to share photos or comments about this post.

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