Miss Manners Explains: Wedding Invitations Wording in the Modern Era

As technology advances, invitations have evolved to take many forms. However, one thing remains constant; wedding invitations are among the most significant pieces of mail that anyone can receive. They are much, much more than just a piece of paper; they are a reflection of your love story and the exciting celebration to come. They also provide an opportunity for your personal style and etiquette savvy to shine brilliantly.

Names and Spellings

Traditionally, weddings are formal or semi-formal affairs, with the bride’s parents taking on the role of hosts. As a result, their names are typically listed first, with middle names and titles included. While titles such as Mr. and Mrs. are not spelled out, titles like Doctor, Judge, or Lieutenant should be, provided they can fit on one line. If the bride shares her parents’ last name, only her first and middle name are traditionally displayed. However, the groom’s name is spelled out and is preceded by a title.

Also to mention, traditionally brides are married “to” their grooms, except in the Jewish faith, where brides “and” grooms marry. Many couples today are choosing “and” over “to” for obvious reasons.

Modern couples are waiting much longer to get married and are oftentimes consequently making the decision to host their own weddings. In such cases, it is only necessary for the couple’s full names to be detailed on the wedding invitation. While there is no requirement to mention parents’ names, doing so is considered a gesture of respect. It is also an opportunity to acknowledge their contributions, whether their support be monetary or emotional.

Honour of Presence vs Pleasure of Company

The phrase “the honour of your presence” is used when the
ceremony will take place in a house of worship. Honour is traditionally spelled with a “u” in the British fashion. For other venues, “the pleasure of your company” is the traditional wording. In the modern era, people are holding wedding ceremonies in just about every place imaginable. Today, if your ceremony is religious, but not in a church, utilizing “the honour of your presence” is most recently considered acceptable. Furthermore, if you are planning a formal or back-tie affair at a private estate or hotel ballroom and prefer the phrase, “the honour of your presence”, then go for it! If your wedding is a more casual, secular affair on a ranch or beach, then “the pleasure of your company” is a likely a more suitable choice.

Date and Time

The date should be spelled out, as well as the year. Note: There is no “and” in two thousand twenty-four. The day of the week and the month are capitalized; the year is not. Utilize the phrase “half after” when indicating time, rather than “half past” or “four-thirty.” The phrases “in the afternoon” or “in the evening” are never necessary, however if you are having a sunrise ceremony, “in the morning” would be a good reminder that your guests will be required to set their alarms the night before. Provide and spell out the name of the venue or church, city, and state of the wedding location, but omit the unsightly zip code.


The French term, Répondez s’il vous plaît, is commonly used on a separate RSVP card insert or combination wedding/reception invitation, but is typically not included on the wedding ceremony invitation. If it is utilized on a combination invitation, it is typically positioned in the lower left corner of the invitation. If you want to receive replies at an address other than the one listed on the outer envelope, or if you prefer to provide alternative methods of RSVP such as email or phone number, it is recommended to provide a separate RSVP card as it will be more visually appealing. If you include addressed envelopes for mail-in-style reply cards, you must also affix stamps to the envelopes. In our modern day, many couples are opting to skip the use of mail-in RSVP cards and are instead using details cards that provide their wedding website address and instructions on how to RSVP online. Some couples are even providing QR codes on their details cards, which take guests directly to the relevant information source. How convenient!

Dress Code

It is generally expected that a wedding is semi-formal unless stated otherwise on the invitation. Formal weddings may indicate “Black tie” or “Black tie optional” in the lower right corner of the reception invitation. If the event is more casual or held outdoors, and you want your guests to be comfortable but not too casual (jeans or shorts), “Garden” or “Cocktail” attire are popular options. Additionally, if your wedding is on a beach or gravel, it is thoughtful to inform your guests so that gentlemen do not wear their best shoes and ladies steer clear of stilettos.

Registry Information

It is considered impolite to mention the gift registry on a wedding invitation. If you wish to provide your wedding website address, it should be included on a separate details card, as it is inappropriate to include such information on the actual ceremony invitation.

Selecting the appropriate invitation that suits the style of your event is the main objective. A mismatch between the invitation and the actual event can create confusion amongst your guests. Invitations not only create a sense of anticipation, but also provide guests with clear guidance on the level of formality and appropriate attire. A more elaborate invitation will match a formal, grand occasion requiring a dark suit or gown, while a simpler invitation with casual nuances will ensure your guests that their favorite sundress or tan suit will be perfectly acceptable.

Invitation Suite 01.
Photography | May Carlson Fine Art Photography
Invitation Design | The Girl General
Floral Design | Statue of Design
Styling | VOLARE Planning & Design
Invitation Suite 02.
Photography & Styling | Allison Jeffers Photography
Invitation Design | VOLARE Planning & Design with Minted
Floral Design | DeVinnie’s Floristry
Invitation Suite 03.
Photography | Virgina Ann Photography
Invitation Design & Styling | VOLARE Planning & Design
Floral Design | The Vintage Bouquet