Wedding invite wording: the complete guide

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

Once you’ve sent out the save-the-dates, the next piece of wedding communication your guests will receive is the official wedding invitation. Wedding invite wording and design go hand-in-hand; together, they communicate everything a guest needs to know about and can expect from your upcoming wedding.

Generally, wedding invitations are sent six to eight weeks before a wedding, but this time frame can vary depending on the length of the engagement and whether the wedding will take place locally or in a far-off destination.

There can be some pressure to abide by tradition and etiquette in the wording of the invitation, which can make it challenging to get the invite just right so that your personalities still shine through. We’ve put together this guide to help you perfect any wedding invitation’s wording, whether formal, casual or unique.

Table of contents

Line-by-line wording of a wedding invitation

A wedding invitation has a few jobs. The most important is to give guests all the details they need to prepare for your wedding, like the time, location and dress code. It also includes other information that could factor into whether a recipient attends, like whether children are invited.

Wedding invitations can look very different from each other, but for the most part, they include the same information. Wording can be formal or casual, depending on the type of wedding the couple has chosen.

Take a look at these two wedding invitation wording examples, one more formal and the other quite casual:

Formal invitation wording and examples

Source: CLCreative via 99 designs by Vista

modern wedding invitation design

Caption: Source: T o n k a via 99 designs by Vista

Are you inviting guests to a formal wedding that will follow many traditional conventions? Then opt for formal wording. If your wedding is more casual, like a barefoot ceremony on a beach or an evening in a renovated factory space, feel free to write your invitations in the same tone you use when chatting with friends.

No matter what style you go for, or your level of formality, your wedding invite wording will look something like this:

wedding invite wording with all the essential information

Source: via VistaPrint

As you brainstorm your wedding invitation wording, think about how you’ll present the following information:

Couple’s names 

You and your partners’ names are the most stand-out pieces of text on the invitation. To draw the recipient’s eye first, the names should be the largest or brightest words on the page.


Traditionally, the couple’s parents host the wedding, rather than the couple themselves. If you or your partner’s parents (or both) are paying for most or all of the wedding, you may want to consider them the hosts and include their names in the invitation.


If either set of parents are divorced, list them separately on your invitation. For example, “Catherine Hidalgo and Robert Scalia request the honor of your presence at the wedding of their daughter, Sarah Scalia.”

Fun floral wedding invitations with photograph

Source: via VistaPrint


The wedding date is a prominent piece of information to include on the invitation, so include it even if you sent save-the-dates. You can choose to present your date in numerical or word form.


After the date, include the time that the wedding proceedings will kick off. You can keep this simple and list the time numerically, like 5 pm or 3:30 pm, as is used in more casual invite wording.

Alternatively, the time is often spelled on out more formal invitations:

  • At three o’clock in the afternoon
  • At half-past five in the evening


Another key piece of information to include is where the ceremony will be held. Here are a few wording examples: 

  • At the Sunrise Resort in Palm Springs, CA
  • St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Bethlehem, PA
  • At our home [include address]

If the reception will be at another venue, make sure to mention this below or in an enclosure card. List all venues so guests can look them up—knowing where to go is part of preparing to attend a wedding.

Address and map

After naming the venue, including its address, you might also include a map of the venue (this information can go on the back of the invitation), depending on the invitation’s design.

crossword puzzle wedding invitation design

Source: Wedding invitation design by lliiaa via 99 designs by Vista


Point guests in the direction of your wedding website by including the URL on the invitation. Here, they can find all of the information they need for the big day, as well as browse your registry, select meal options and RSVP.


Include a QR code that directs invitation recipients to your wedding website. 

Reception to follow

A quick note along the lines of “reception to follow” lets guests know to plan for a longer evening of festivities after the ceremony. Here are a few ways to phrase this: 

  • Reception to follow
  • Please join us for a cocktail reception afterward
  • Dinner and dancing to follow

If the reception is at a separate venue, include the name and address here or on an enclosure card. An enclosure card is an additional piece of communication that’s sent alongside a wedding invitation and can include directions to the venue, accommodation information or guidelines for guests to follow at the venue.


The invite should also include RSVP information, including the date to respond by, and instructions, such as a QR code directing guests to the wedding website or an email address to send RSVPs to. However, this may be on a separate enclosure card, rather than the invitation itself.

Funky, 70s vintage wedding invitation and save the dates

Source: via VistaPrint

Dress code

You may include a brief description of your wedding’s dress code, such as:

  • Black tie optional
  • Cocktail attire requested
  • Dress casual
  • Creative black tie suggested
  • Please dress to impress! Semi-formal attire requested.
  • We’ll be on a beach, so please dress for the occasion!

If you aren’t sure how to describe the dress code you’d like, find the correct terminology online and include it in the invitation. Using established terminology enables guests to look up specific dress codes, which can eliminate confusion and wardrobe mishaps.


Give guests directions regarding wedding gifts, such as a QR code to your registry or a note about where you are registered. You can also request that guests abstain from gifts or direct them to a favored charity as an alternative, by using the following wording:

  • In lieu of gifts, we request that guests make a donation to the local food bank
  • No gifts please; your presence is more than enough for us

Parking instructions

On the invitation or enclosure card, include parking instructions for guests. Note this if you’re providing a shuttle from the accommodation to the venue. Also mention if there will be valet parking at the venue. 

Plus ones

A wedding invitation includes critical information about who is invited. While it’s obvious that the individual who receives the invitation is invited, clear wording eliminates any confusion about whether they may bring a plus one and/or their children. 


When you invite a married guest or a guest in a serious relationship, invite them as a couple, not an individual and a plus one. Plus ones are reserved for guests who are single or newly dating a partner. 

Include plus one information with the invitation, either on the enclosure card or the RSVP section of your wedding website. Guests can RSVP for themselves and their plus one if they have one.


The wedding invite wording should also mention whether children are welcome at the ceremony and reception. Here are a few examples of appropriate wording for this section, with varying formality levels:

  • Please note, this will be an adults-only celebration
  • Parents need a break sometimes, so come ready to enjoy an adults-only celebration
  • Children are welcome! We can’t wait to celebrate with your whole family!
  • The couple kindly requests an adults-only celebration.
  • We respectfully request no children under 16.
  • To allow all guests to relax and enjoy the festivities, the couple has chosen to host an adults-only event.
  • We love your children very much, but adults need to party sometimes! Please enjoy an adults-only celebration.


State your request in polite, straightforward language that matches your chosen formality level. Here are examples of casual and formal phrasing for this common request:

  • Let’s all be present together! Please leave your phone in your bag during the ceremony
  • The couple requests that no phones be used during the ceremony
wedding thank you cards, invitations and save the dates

Source: via VistaPrint

A quote 

Quotes can also be meaningful additions to wedding invitation wording. You might choose to use a quote to grab the recipient’s attention at the top of the page or to wrap the invitation up nicely in the final line. The quote can be romantic, funny, inspirational, or taken from a favorite song, poem or book.

Match the wording to your wedding invitation design

An invitation’s second-most important job is to set the tone for the wedding. Typically, a wedding invitation incorporates design elements that communicate the couple’s chosen wedding aesthetic, like a monochrome invitation with a serif font for a sophisticated minimalist wedding or a light-colored invite with botanical imagery for a relaxed wedding in natural surroundings.

Determining your theme and formality level for the wedding ceremony and reception are decisions you’ll make early on in the planning process. These decisions, such as whether your wedding will be a formal banquet hall dinner or a casual rooftop party, inevitably inform your wedding invitation design and wording. 

Familiarizing yourself with the concept of brand copy can help your wedding invitation wording strike the right tone. Reading examples of marketing emails from different brands, you’ll notice that luxury brands use more formal language in their communications, while startups and tech brands tend to use more conversational language to express a more casual image. Think about this as you write your wedding invitation—what image are you aiming to convey?

Many of the same concepts that apply to brand identity can be applied to wedding planning. Design choices like color palette, font, imagery and visual hierarchy communicate your values and the type of atmosphere you aim to create at your wedding.

blue and white striped nautical wedding invitation

Nautical-themed wedding invitation design. Source: by Motiff Media® via 99designs by Vista.

Because a wedding invitation is the most significant piece of communication guests receive, it’s often the strongest instance of your wedding’s “branding.” They’ll also encounter this branding throughout your other communications, at pre-wedding parties and through the day-of decorations, signage and customized elements like cocktail napkins.

Creating your design

Think about the overall vibe you want your wedding invitations to have. For example, you might want a traditional-looking invitation with serif fonts and lots of white and formal language. Take a look at our monogram theme for inspiration. If you’re leaning toward a boho vibe, the invite might be more colorful, using modern font and conversational language, found in the pretty and playful theme designs.

Purple and blue wedding invitation with playful lines

Source: via VistaPrint

Brainstorm your values and preferences with your partner if you’re not quite sure about your wedding invitation look. You can work together to create a mood board and draw inspiration from the images you choose.

Exercises you can do to explore your wedding aesthetic are:

  • Imagine what guests will say about your wedding after it’s happened. What were their favorite parts? What sticks in their minds the most?
  • How would you represent your relationship visually? 
  • If your wedding was a person, what would they be like?


Ask yourselves, what are some of the most memorable weddings you’ve attended and what made them memorable.

Wedding invite wording ideas

Casual wedding invitation wording

Wedding invitation wording can be slightly casual, somewhat casual or very casual. The right tone depends on the style of your wedding. For example, you might use invitation wording that aligns with traditional phrasing but feels modern. Or you might write a wedding invitation that’s tonally similar to a birthday party invite—celebratory, informational and setting the tone for fun. You might even choose to go very casual and use language that’s not far off from how you communicate in texts, depending on your guests and aesthetic.

fun illustrations matched with casual wedding invitation wording

Fun illustrations and color combinations matched with casual wedding invitation wording. Source: by Creeventer via 99designs by Vista

Formal wedding invitation wording

Writing a formal invitation can be the easiest option because many examples are available online. This is also the most prescriptive tone to take for a wedding invite, so it can be easy to get your wording just right by following guidelines. Avoid contractions and unnecessary words in a formal wedding invitation by sticking to traditional wording and formatting.

fun illustrations matched with casual wedding invitation wording

Formal wedding invitation design matched with formal wording. Source: via VistaPrint

What is the best tone for a wedding invitation?

Whether you choose formal or casual wording, a wedding invitation should have an upbeat, optimistic voice with a celebrative tone. It’s a wedding, after all! If you’re still not sure about your wedding invite wording, share a draft with members of your wedding party to get their input.

Create and print the perfect wedding invitation with VistaPrint

Getting your wedding invitation wording right is part of designing the perfect invite. Once you’ve got the ideal wording, create a design using your chosen colors, fonts and other design elements for wedding invitations that are uniquely you.