The wording of your wedding invitation can be almost as important as your choice of wedding guests. In addition to providing the necessary information about the date, time, location and formality of your wedding, the invitation should also adhere to the traditional etiquette of wedding invitations, which can be difficult to navigate for the uninitiated.
Of course, the wording, calligraphy and stationary of the wedding invitation will vary according to how formal the wedding will be. All wedding guests invitations should at least include the following information: the names of the bride's parents (and other hosts for the wedding); the bride's first name; the title, first name and surname of the bridegroom; the location of the ceremony; the day, month and year of the ceremony; the location of the reception; and the address to which responses should be sent, and the date by which they should be received before the wedding.
If the wedding is in a more remote location, or you have wedding guests traveling from a distant location to reach it, you may wish to include the time that wedding guests can expect the celebrations to conclude, so that they can make travel plans in advance. If your wedding has a particular dress code, you should provide any details of this for wedding guests try to keep it simple to avoid confusion.
Etiquette dictates that invitations to wedding guests are always sent out by those who are actually hosting the wedding. Invitations to wedding guests are usually written in the third person. Time and date are provided first, followed by the location; and these are usually positioned on different lines, Where appropriate, you should use the titles of the parties involved (Mr, Dr, etc.). The bride's name traditionally appears before the bridegroom's.
The wording of the invitation to wedding guests will also vary according to the location of your wedding. Invitations traditionally use 'the honor of your presence' for religious ceremonies to be held in a church or other religious place. 'The pleasure of your company' is the usual wording of choice for a non-religious location.
The traditional wording for a wedding invitation is:
Mr. & Mrs. John Smith request the pleasure of your company at the marriage of their daughter Emily to Mr. James Wood at St. Christopher's Church, High Heath, on (day), (month), (year), at (time of day) and afterward at (location of reception). RSVP: (address of hosts).
Some wedding invitations also provide wedding guests with details of the wedding gift registry. Registry details such as 'cash only gifts' are considered rude; registry etiquette forbids prescribing gifts. Registry details for wedding guests usually list the registry stores used by the couple; mentioning gift registry might point to particular ideas. You may wish to put registry details on bridal shower invitations. There are many rules about registry details. Putting registry details on invitations is considered poor taste; most invitations replace registry information with 'We value your presence and do not expect to receive gifts'.
When planning your wedding invitations, you should give some thought to your choice of stationary. For a formal wedding, invitations should be printed on heavy cream, ivory or white paper, using a classic lettering style. For an informal wedding, you are free to use informal language, style, fonts and colors. Most wedding-planners try to make their invitation stationary complement the overall theme of the wedding. If your wedding has a particular palette (such as pastels, or natural colors), you might select stationary which uses some or all of these colors. If you have a particular dress code, your stationary could reflect this. If the bride and bridegroom are of a particular nationality, they may choose stationary that celebrates this, using symbols such as a Celtic knot. Invitation stationary can be as formal or as informal as you please.
The use of calligraphy is popular for wedding invitations because it provides a more personalized touch. There are a range of calligraphy styles you can use for wedding invitations, depending on the formality, location and theme of your wedding. Copperplate calligraphy is a classic choice for invitations: romantic, glamorous yet highly readable. Originating from the time of the Renaissance, today it is the most popular choice for handwritten wedding stationary because of its clear but elaborate appearance. It is striking in black ink, but more modern styles use metallic such as gold, silver and copper. Classic Italian calligraphy, the oldest style of slanting calligraphy, is elegant and stylish. Easy to read, this traditional calligraphy style works well in any color, particularly in muted shades on white paper. Another traditional calligraphy style for invitation wording is Gothic ideal for weddings located in castles or stately old homes, or weddings that are formal and involve banqueting. For a more indulgent look, freestyle calligraphy is fresh and contemporary, and makes a greatest impact in black on wedding stationary. Because each calligrapher has his or her own distinctive style, this calligraphy style will be unique to your stationary.