Etiquette applies to the wording of wedding invitations, and the wording of the invitation is also dependent on the formality of the wedding. Different circumstances require different rules of etiquette. Writing handwritten letters is a thing of the past, and now people seek help when wording their wedding invitations. Modern invitations stick with general wedding etiquette guidelines, but choosing your wording is completely your decision. Take into consideration how you want your guests to view your wedding because the invites set the mood and atmosphere before guests arrive.
Begin the invitation with who is hosting the wedding. Usually this is where the parents' names belong, and you can choose to use titles such as Mr. and Mrs. Joe Smith or state their names as Joe and Jane Smith. Remember to use abbreviations in an invitation only after titles. Use the appropriate titles for the parents--if one of them is a doctor, write Doctor and Mrs. Joe Smith. If the bride and groom are hosting the wedding, this is where their names belong. Try using a line before the couple's names to give a proper introduction.
Ask your guests to attend the event. The request part of the invitation immediately follows the hosts' names. Try using words such as request, invite, join and pleasure in this statement. Only include the British spelling of honour--for example, "request the honour of your presence at the marriage of their daughter"--if holding a wedding in a church.
Present the couple's names. The line after requesting the guests is the line that presents the couple's names. Normally this line consists of requesting the guest attend the ceremony of the marriage of the hosting parents' daughter. However, if the couple is hosting the wedding, they will request the guests to join them at their wedding ceremony. Exclude the bride's last name from the invitation only if the parents' names already are on the invitation. Insert the groom's name with his title immediately after the bride's name--for example, Ashley Dawn to Mr. Rick Marcel Smith--to keep the invitation worded properly.
Spell out the date and time in the invitation. Never use numbers in an invitation. If the wedding is taking place on Saturday, July 5, 2009, at 8:30 p.m., write it out as Saturday the fifth of July, two thousand and nine, at half past eight o'clock in the evening. Only capitalise proper nouns in an invitation. Do not capitalise the first letter of a line unless it is a proper noun.
Include the location immediately following the time and date on the invitation. Include an address if the wedding destination is not well known. Do not abbreviate the names of streets or any part of the address. Use abbreviations only after name titles.
State where and when the reception will take place at the end of the invitation. This line states that there will be a reception--for example, reception immediately following ceremony at the fire hall--and it is proper etiquette to inform guests what to wear to the reception. Include this information on a separate card with the invitation. If the reception is in the same location as the wedding, just state the reception will immediately follow the ceremony.
The couple's names are usually in a different font or font size than the rest of the invitation.