Proper wedding etiquette dictates titles and formal names are used in all wedding stationery, particularly, the invitations. The general rules of wedding invitation wording are the same as non-military invitations; with the exception of the way the names are worded. The proper way to word your invitations will depend on who is in the armed forces or retired from the military and their rank.
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Confirm the exact title of anyone who is in the military or retired from the armed forces that will be mentioned on the invitations, such as the bride, groom or either of their parents.
Use wording that dictates how formal the wedding will be and where it will take place. For example, a formal wedding or a ceremony taking place in a church would read "The honour of your presence is requested" preceded by or following the names of the hosts, typically the bride's parents or the couple themselves.
List the full names of everyone on the invitation and include the rank and branch of service any military personnel posses. For example, if the bride's father is an officer, you could write "Captain and Mrs. Nathaniel Lee Dickons." If the bride's parents are divorced and both hosting, you'd use "Mrs. Jennifer Rae Preston" on the top line, "Captain Nathaniel Lee Dickons" on the second line and "United States Air Force" on the third line.
Write the names and ranks of any military personnel accordingly. For example, a Navy Ensign or higher rank would include the person's full name followed by their title and United States Navy on the next line. Lower ranks would list the name of the person and United States Navy on the next line. Anyone with a ranking of Captain or higher in the other branches would have the title precede their name and the branch of service listed on the following line. A ranking of Lieutenant would have the person's name followed by Lieutenant, and the branch of service. Any lower ranks would list the person's name and branch of service on the next line.
Tips and warnings
- Anyone with a ranking of captain or higher will have their title listed before their name. The branch of service is omitted if the person's name is listed with their spouse. For example, Captain and Mrs. Harris Reed or Captain Harris Reed followed by his branch of service.
- The word "retired" follows a retired officer's branch of service.
- Junior officer's titles appear after their names on the next line unless they are listed with a spouse. Then the title would precede their name.
- Do not abbreviate military titles. As with other abbreviations, they are taboo and considered rude on a wedding invitation.
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