How to Write the Time for Formal Invitations

Written by christina schnell
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How to Write the Time for Formal Invitations
View other formal invitations for inspiration. (invitation mariage image by Christophe Thélisson from

Formal invitations communicate elegance and tradition. Typically reserved for weddings and major celebrations, formally wording your invitations sets the tone for the upcoming event. If you have chosen a formal tone for your event, formal invitations are appropriate. Writing the time for your event on a formal invitation isn't difficult, but is different than the standard "2 p.m." you may normally use.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Space your invitation wording so that the date and time can fit on the same line. Communicate everything in complete detail when writing your formal invitations. Write out all numbers without using any symbols or abbreviations for the entire invite.

  2. 2

    Write the first number of the time, for example, "two" if the event time is at 2:00 p.m. Leave a brief space next to the written number "two" and write "o'clock" instead of the informal clock colon. Indicate the time of day by writing "two o'clock in the afternoon," instead of using a.m. or p.m.

  3. 3

    Write a half hour time out completely before the hour number and without hyphens. For example, write a 2:30 p.m. event time as "half after two." According to Emily Post, for a formal invitation, phrases such as "half past" or "two-thirty" are not acceptable substitutes for the correct "half after two."

Tips and warnings

  • Be consistent in the formality of your invitation. Don't write out the date and time formally and use informal names for the host or hostess.

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