Choosing Wedding Invitations Choosing Wedding Invitations

Choosing wedding invitations is one of the most daunting tasks in planning a wedding. There are so many colors, patterns, papers, etc. to choose from that picking one can be a real challenge. It might help to note that traditional wedding invitations are white or off-white, so a formal wedding should probably have traditional invitation. However, another good strategy is to choose invitations that are the style and color of the bridesmaids’ dresses. Or if you are having a themed wedding, invitations may reflect that theme. There are tons of options out there, and you can view invitation samples online by color, style, theme, and paper type. Take a look at all your options and then pick one that is right for you. This decision is truly personal, and your invitations should reflect the formality of your wedding, your personal style, and the theme of your wedding, since most guest books match your invitations.

Who Sends Them?

Traditionally, formal invitations are issued by the bride’s parents. Sometimes, both parents issue invitations or the couple issues their own invitations. Older, established couples who are paying for their own weddings will often choose to issue their own invitations, while younger couples will opt for their parents to do this for them. There are many rules governing the wording and format of invitations, and sticking to these rules may make things a little less stressful. However, as with all decisions, this is your wedding, so use the words that mean the most to you.

The specific format of the invitations requires the type be centered on the page both vertically and horizontally, and punctuation and capitalization are to follow standard rules. Titles are the only abbreviations permitted. Some couples may choose not to use titles, especially if issuing invitations for an informal wedding. Other rules are as follows:

  • Use full names, not nicknames
  • The hour is fully spelled out and AM/PM are not used
  • Major cities do not list the state
  • Military weddings should include the title of the commissioned officer, listing the branch of military is optional
  • If the wedding is at a church, invitations should request the “honour of your presence”
  • If the wedding is at a secular venue, invitations should request the “pleasure of your company”

If one set of parents is issuing the invitations, the following format should be used:

Mr. and Mrs. David Robert Breton
Request the honour of your presence at the marriage of their daughter
Lisa Catherine
to
Mr. Jonathan Douglas Hoight
on Saturday, the eighteenth of September
at eleven o’clock
Higher Ground Church
Two hundred twenty three East Center Street
Lexington, Virginia

If divorced parents are issuing invitations together , they should read “Mothers name/ and / father’s name” and the following information should be in the same format as the other types of invitations.

If both the bride’s parents and the groom’s parents are issuing the invitations, they should use the following format:

Mr. and Mrs. David Robert Breton
And
Mr. and Mrs. John Edward Hoffman
Request the honour of your presence at the marriage of their children
Lisa Catherine Breton
and
Mr. Jonathan Douglas Hoight
on Saturday, the eighteenth of September
at eleven o’clock
Higher Ground Church
Two hundred twenty three East Center Street
Lexington, Virginia

If the couple chooses to issue their own invitations, they should look like the following:

Lisa Catherine Breton
And
Jonathan Douglas Hoight
Request the honour of your presence
At their marriage
On Saturday, the eighteenth of September
At eleven o’clock
Higher Ground Church
Two hundred twenty three East Center Street
Lexington, Virginia

When to Send?

Invitations should be sent four to six months before the wedding to allow guests ample time to arrange their schedules. If the wedding is small and informal with only close friends and relatives, invitations could be sent as few as ten days before the ceremony. A simple, informal invitation would read

Dear Ryan and Jackie,
Lisa and Jonathan are being married quietly at their house on Saturday, September 18, at 11:00. We hope you will be able to attend and will also stay for dinner. We are looking forward to sharing this blissful occasion with you.
Love,
Cathy

Getting a Response

Most couples like to know in advance who will be attending their wedding. Sending out matching response cards with your invitations is a good way to find out who will be there, and to make sure your closest friends receive your invitations. Also, you will be able to give your caterer a final headcount - which will save you money. Matching response cards should have a printed return address that is the same as that on the invitation. This avoids confusion. If you can afford to, prepay the postage for your response cards. A matching response card should be simple and to the point, for example:

____________accepts
____________regrets
“Date of Wedding”

Following these rules will reduce the amount of decisions you have to make, but feel free to write more personal messages. If you are sending out your own invitations, your guests may appreciate the invitations being written in your own voice. If your parents or your fiancée’s parents are sending out the invitations, more traditional wording may be the best route. Either way you go, have fun choosing between the thousands of options available.

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