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The Complete Guide to Wedding Invitation Wording

Do you need to order your wedding invitations, but don’t know what to say, what to include or where to begin?

If so, you’re in the right place!

This handy guide will hopefully help you come up with the details your guests will need to know for your Wedding Day to run super smoothly. It includes information and examples of:

  • Traditional, formal and informal wording for Day & Evening Invitations
  • Venue details to include
  • Accommodation information
  • RSVPs and what should be in them
  • Wedding gifts and how to politely ask for money instead
  • How to tell your guests you aren’t inviting children
  • Transport & parking

Along with some other really useful tips and things that you might not have even thought of. So read on!

Wording Your Invites

There are many different ways to come up with your wedding invitation wording. There is no right or wrong way, so you should just do whatever suits you as a couple. There is however, some key information to include on your invites which should be very clear which is:

  • Your Names
  • Your Wedding Date
  • Your Venue (Or venues if your reception is in a different location)
  • The Start Time

Traditionally, weddings are paid for by the bride’s parents, which is why they are considered the hosts of the day and the invite usually appears to be addressed from them. This is certainly not always the case today with couples paying for the majority of their wedding bill from their own pockets with donations sometimes from parents on either side.

Here’s an example of how you may word your invitations where the Bride’s Parents are the hosts:

Mr & Mrs Hutchinson
request the pleasure of the company of

at the marriage of their daughter

Amy Maeve
Roberto Galloway

on Saturday 21st September 2019
at St Michael’s Church
at 2pm

Followed by a reception at The Wild Oak Barn

Please RSVP by 23rd June with the card enclosed.

Example of Traditional Wedding Invite Wording on Mink Rose Design from Sarah Wants
If you want to include parents on an equal basis from both sides, or if your parents are no longer together for whatever reason, then simply adding:

Together with their Parents, Amy Hutchinson & Roberto Galloway would like to invite…

Some couples have the dilemma of which parent or parents to list first without trying to offend any of them, so this is probably the best way to do it equally.

Together with their parents

Amy Hutchinson & Roberto Galloway

would like to invite

to join them on their wedding day on

Saturday 21st September 2019
at St Michael’s Church
at 2pm

Followed by a reception at The Wild Oak Barn

Please RSVP by 23rd June with the card enclosed.

Example of "Together With" Wedding Invite Wording in Lace Filigree Design at Sarah Wants
Alternatively, if you don’t want to list your parents on your invite at all, you can word it so the invite is extended from the couple directly. You can do this in a formal way or something more fun. Here are a few examples:

To ……………………………………………………………………

Amy Hutchinson & Roberto Galloway

are getting married and would like to invite you
to their wedding on

Saturday 21st September 2019
at St Michael’s Church
at 2pm

Followed by a reception at The Wild Oak Barn

Please RSVP by 23rd June with the card enclosed.

Example of Wedding Invite Wording without Parents in Delicate Mist Design from Sarah Wants

Amy Hutchinson & Roberto Galloway

are tying the knot and would like to invite

to celebrate their wedding on

Saturday 21st September 2019
at St Michael’s Church
at 2pm

Followed by a reception at The Wild Oak Barn

Please RSVP by 23rd June with the card enclosed.

Example of Informal Wedding Invite Wording in Chantilly Lace design at Sarah Wants

Evening Invitations

For invites being sent to evening only guests you’ll need to slightly amend the wording to reflect that by changing the start time, venue (if necessary) and make sure that you include the words “Evening Reception” in the wording to avoid confusion and make it clear that this is an invitation to the evening only. Here is an example for the evening guests:

Amy Hutchinson & Roberto Galloway

are getting married and would like to invite

to an Evening Reception
to celebrate their wedding on

Saturday 21st September 2019
at The Wild Oak Barn
at 7pm

Don’t forget your dancing shoes!

Please RSVP by 23rd June with the card enclosed.

Example of Evening Wedding Invitation Wording in Dusty Flourish design at Sarah Wants

What Time Should I Put on the Invite?

“My ceremony starts at 2:00pm but I would like guests there at 1:30pm to be ready and seated for the 2:00pm start”

Whatever time you put on your invite, bear in mind that most guests will know to turn up earlier and not 1 minute before the start time! Some guests could start to arrive up to 45 minutes before the start time on the invite. So, if you have put 1:30pm on an invite, then be prepared for guests to start arriving from 12:45pm onwards. If your service doesn’t actually start until 2:00pm then some of your guests may have been waiting well in excess of an hour for the ceremony to start. This might be ok if the venue has refreshments, heating and WC facilities, but if your ceremony is in a more remote location such as on the beach, on a cliff, or in the woods, or if you are using an older building such as a church or a chapel where facilities might be limited, this could be an issue for guests, especially those with children or the elderly.

Most couples put the actual ceremony start time on the invite with the assumption that the vast majority of guests will know to arrive and be seated before it starts, but if you are still concerned you can simply put:

Ceremony at 2:00pm – Please arrive by 1:30pm

What Else Should I Include in the Invites?

The Reception

Apart from the key wedding information on your invites, you may consider also adding:

Followed by a Reception..

to let your guests know what is happening after the ceremony. With some more modern, less traditional weddings, it’s not necessarily a given that guests invited to the ceremony will also be invited to a sit-down meal afterwards. Some couples choose to have their wedding ceremony and then reconvene with their guests late afternoon or in the evening, so if you are choosing to have a more traditional ceremony followed by a reception its best to make this clear by stating it in your daytime wedding invites.

If your ceremony and reception are at different venues then put your ceremony details first with the date and start time and then underneath put:

Followed by a Reception at (the venue)

If your ceremony or reception is at a location that many of your guests won’t be familiar with, then it would be advisable to include the address and postcode so guests can use satnavs or smartphones to find it on the day. Alternatively, you could include some written directions on a separate info card.

Outdoor Venues

If part of your wedding day involves being outside, such as a ceremony in the woods or a marquee in a field, then it might be a good idea to indicate this on the invite. Not being able to rely on the Great British weather, your guests may not wish to wear their ivory satin heels and instead may like to bring something more functional in the boot of the car, such as a blanket for a cooler evening or wellies for the venues that have the potential to get muddy.

So simply putting:

Followed by a marquee reception in the meadow…

on your wedding invitations will give guests a good indication of what to expect. To emphasise the outdoor nature of the day, you may wish to add something to bring their attention to the fact such as:

Dress accordingly

Dress Code

Most people will probably want to dress to impress when attending a wedding. However you may want to check if your venue has any specific rules on dress. For example some venues may not allow shorts or flip flops, and some others may not allow guests to wear stiletto type heels that can damage wooden floors. If there are any dress specific rules, be sure to let your guests know this somewhere in their invitation to avoid any dress faux pas on the day.

Equally, if your wedding is going to have a more casual feel to it where suits and ties are not expected to be worn, then you might like to also mention this.


There are three main methods of getting your guests to RSVP. These are:

  • By Post
  • By Phone/Text Message
  • By Email

There are other less common ways to RSVP such as using a wedding website for your event or social media such as a Facebook group created for your wedding day. Make sure whichever way you chose for your guests to RSVP that you include the method they should use, including any postal addresses, email addresses, telephone numbers or website URLs they will need to do so. If using an RSVP postcard such as the ones you can choose with the wedding invitations on offer at Sarah Wants, then you can have all the information pre-printed so all your guests need to do is fill in their name, tick a box to tell you if they are coming or not, put a stamp on it and pop it in the post box. Easy!

What Should my RSVP By Date be?

The most important thing to remember when choosing your “RSVP by” date is to give yourself enough time between the date you choose and your wedding date to order whatever On-the-Day Stationery you will need (such as order of service booklets, table plans, place cards etc.). You should also check when you need to confirm guest numbers with your chosen venue or caterer or how many seats you need for a coach or other transport methods before booking them and take these things into account when choosing an appropriate RSVP deadline date.

I recommend an RSVP date of 8 weeks before the Wedding Day. If you’re super organised and will be sending invites out well in advance then you can of course use a date even earlier. This could be anything up to 6 months or even longer if you are supremely well organised but it’s a good idea to give your guests at least 4-6 weeks between receiving their invitation and the deadline to RSVP by.

So if you put your RSVP by date 8 weeks before your wedding, this gives you time to chase any late replies and work out what other stationery you’re going to need and to arrange your seating plan. Don’t underestimate how long agreeing a seating plan can take! Done this way you’ll have all the guest information needed to order your wedding day stationery 5-6 weeks in advance of your wedding day allowing plenty of time for design, proofing and printing, with delivery to you 1-2 weeks prior to your wedding day.

If you have RSVP cards for both day and evening guests, then your RSVP by date on your evening invites could be a little later as knowing evening guest numbers isn’t always as urgent as this doesn’t affect the creation of your On-the-Day stationery.

Menu Options

If you have menu options for your guests to choose from, then these should be included somewhere in their wedding invite. They can let you know what they have chosen when they RSVP. There are a few ways of achieving this. You could include the full menu options on an additional insert card provided with the invite or if they are succinct they might fit on the reverse of an RSVP card, you could email your Stationer (hopefully me!) who could advise whether or not they could squeeze it in.

If guests are to RSVP by email or text, then it’s pretty straight forward for them to let you know what their choices are. If, however, you will be asking guests to reply by post and are providing them with an RSVP card, then you’ll need to ensure there is some way for your guests to indicate their menu choices.

Example of Menu Options on an Info Card in Ophelia Sage design at Sarah Wants
Example of RSVP Card Menu Options in Coral Haze design at Sarah Wants


A handy list for guests travelling to your wedding would be some options for accommodation. Your chosen venue may be able to offer accommodation, but if that’s not the case or it’s limited to only a few rooms, then usually your venue will be able to recommend something relatively close by. Try to include a variety to suit all budgets and ring ahead to actually check there is availability. You may even be able to get a discount code for your guests to quote on booking.

Guest Transport

A list of contact details for taxi companies local to the venue is also a valuable resource for guests, especially if they need to be pre-booked. Some remote venue locations may not have very good phone signal, so you don’t want your guests to be stranded at the end of the night. You may wish to contact the companies beforehand to let them know you are having a wedding at your chosen venue and are looking for taxis for your guests to use on the day and ask if it is ok to include them in your list.

If you are providing transport for your guests in the form of a bus/coach/boat/helicopter etc. then it is a good idea to mention this on the invite. This can be something like:

We have arranged a vintage bus to pick up guests from the square in Porthleven and to take them to the venue and return back to the square at the end of the night. Please let us know how many seats you need when you RSVP

If you choose to include an RSVP card with your invites then you can simply add a line for the guests to write their requirements at the bottom saying:

How many seats on the bus would you like?


If parking is limited, then ask your venue what the usual scenario is. If there are any suitable car parks nearby, investigate what they might cost for the day and what the approximate walking distance to the venue is and include these details in your invitation.

If parking is permitted at the venue but cars are required to be collected by a certain time the following day, then let your guests know this somewhere in the invitation for those that may choose alternative methods of transport at the end of the night. You could simply say:

There is plenty of parking at the venue but please note that all vehicles left overnight must be collected by 10am the following morning.

Gifts – and how to ask for money politely.

Some couples still choose to use the traditional gift list for steering their guests towards gifts they might like or actually need, but in the time I’ve been creating wedding stationery I would say that 80-90% of couples now ask for donations as a wedding gift. Asking for cold hard cash directly could sound a little brash, so ensure you word it politely by requesting a “contribution” or a “donation” which sounds much better.

Whether you’re asking for money to put towards your honeymoon, or a new kitchen, or just for a rainy day, here are some examples of how you can ask the money question:

The occasion of our marriage
is a precious time to share
with family, friends and loved ones
so we hope that you’ll be there.

We do not ask you bring a gift
but if you feel the need
a little bit of money
would be very kind indeed.

Please don’t feel obliged though
please don’t feel you must
just the pleasure of your company
would mean the world to us.

We are sending out this invitation
in hope you will join our celebration
however, if a gift is your intention
may we take this opportunity to mention…

We have already got a kettle and toaster,
crockery, dinner mats and matching coasters,
so rather than something we’ve already got
we would appreciate money for our honeymoon pot,

But most importantly we request
that you come to our wedding as our guest.

We know it’s not traditional
it’s not the way it’s done
but instead of a wedding list
we’d like a bit of sun.

Please do not think of us as rude
please do not take offence
we do not want to upset you
that’s not the way it’s meant.

We’ve lived together quite a while
and all the bills are paid
we’ve got our plates, our pots and pans
our plans have all been made.

So if you’d like to give a gift
to help us celebrate
some money for a honeymoon
we would appreciate.

When thinking of a gift for us
We ask if you’d please consider,
Contributing to our honeymoon
to make it all the sweeter.

Our house is full of all the things
a couple could require,
and so a holiday in (insert destination here),
is what we most desire.

Then while we’re relaxing on the beach
drinking a cocktail or two,
we’ll sit back and know
that it is truly thanks to you!

We haven’t got a wedding list,
the reasons we’ll explain
it’s to save you all the hassle
as shopping is a pain.

We thought we’d ask you all
for something else instead
a small contribution towards
a holiday in the Med!

So if you’d like to contribute
towards our honeymoon
we offer you our heartfelt “Thanks!”
With love, the Bride & Groom

We’ve lived together quite a while
with all our pots and pans,
And as we don’t need homely gifts
we’ve got another plan!

We know it’s not traditional
and not the way it’s done,
But rather than a wedding list
we’d like a bit of sun.

So if you’d like to give a gift
and send us on our way,
A donation towards our honeymoon
would really make our day.

But the choice is really up to you
and we would just like to say,
That the best gift we could receive
is you, here on our special day.


If you are not planning to invite children to your wedding and are looking for the words to do it, then here are a couple of ways of saying it politely:

Due to numbers, we are unable to invite everyone’s children, we really hope you might take this opportunity to take a well-deserved day off, child-free to celebrate with us

This is an adults only invite. We would like parents to relax, to enjoy the day and dance into the night, and leave children at home to sleep tight

While we’d love to watch children run and play, this is a grown-ups only kind of day

The Night Before & The Next Day

If you are having a meal the night before, or a breakfast the morning after your wedding day and you would like to invite guests to join you, such as those that live locally or that are staying at the venue or in hotels nearby then you may wish to mention this in the invitation with the locations and times.

Finishing Touches

Once you are sure you have added all the important information to your invitation wording, you could add a fun and friendly finishing touch to it. Here are a couple of examples:

We can’t wait to celebrate with you!

Don’t forget your dancing shoes!

Bring your drinking hat and dancing shoes!

There will be eating, dancing, drinking & romancing

We really hope you can make it!

Well done you! You’ve made it to the end of this awesome guide on how to word your invitations. You have now officially graduated from the school of wording wizardry with flying colours and are ready to take the next step. You are well equipped and should now have the knowledge of where to go from here.

So make a list of the things you need to check, then research and make some notes about what you want your guests to know and what you want to include within your own invitations. Once you have finalised everything, then you can work out if you need to order an extra info card (or two!) If you are ordering your invitation from Sarah Wants then these are double-sided and can fit approximately 100 words per side. Remember that a folded invitation includes space on the inside left cover for approximately 120 words of extra info or a gift poem too!

If you want to see an example first, then you can order a sample of any of the collections to see a folded card with info card and RSVP, which may help you to decide what bits and pieces you want to order.