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Wedding Invitation Guide: Etiquette, Wording, and Design

by Joy Editors
Wedding Invitation Guide: Etiquette, Wording, and Design


Once you’ve planned out all of the big details of your wedding and the date is getting nearer, it’s time to let everyone know exactly when and where to show up for the celebration. Being such an important event, there are traditionally lots of rules around sending invitations to a wedding. Nowadays some of those rules seem less necessary, but following the general guidelines for etiquette is still a good idea. Between e-cards, emails, and all the different ways to print invitations, there are now more ways to send your wedding invitations than ever. This can make your wedding invitations seem as overwhelming as anything in the wedding planning process. But don’t fret! Here’s our wedding invitation guide to get you started.

Wedding invitation etiquette

First off, we advise that you send your wedding invitations 6-8 weeks before your wedding. You want to send your invitations with enough time for guests to make plans to attend without sending them out so far ahead that they are put aside and forgotten about due to a lack of urgency. If you are sending paper invitations, you may want to order your invitations as early as two months before you plan to send them to allow time for the design and printing.

When it comes to addressing wedding invitations, the most important rule is to address someone in the way that they prefer to be addressed, whether it’s Dr., Mrs., Ms., etc. For paper invitations, make sure that everyone who is invited (including children) is addressed on the envelope. Also remember that if you’ve sent someone a save-the-date, etiquette pretty much requires that you send them an invitation. Following your wedding guest communication plan and staying organized with a spreadsheet or guest list manager can help you make sure that no one is left out!

The wording of a wedding invitation

The traditional structure of a wedding invitation can serve as your starting point, though you don’t have to feel obligated to stick to it! On the other hand, while it’s great to be creative, the overall most important thing is that your invitations be clear and concise. It should be easy for recipients to read and understand the important information so they’ll be able to easily decide whether they can attend and (hopefully) RSVP promptly.

Here are the parts that a wedding invitations traditionally have:

Host line

Traditionally, the first line of a wedding invitation says who is hosting the event. In the past, this would usually be one set of parents. Nowadays, it is not uncommon to omit this line altogether or for the couple to host the wedding themselves. It’s also possible to have a more general host line such as “Together with their parents…”


Listing your names seems pretty straightforward, but you’ll have to decide things like whose name comes first or whether the names will be on the same line or separate lines. There are no rules that apply to every situation, so you and your partner should settle on what looks best to the both of you.

Request line

This is the heart of the matter. You are requesting that the recipient be present at your wedding. There are endless variations on how to do this, some more formal than others. You can always go with “We invite you to join us as we celebrate our marriage,” or something along those lines.

Information line  

Your wedding invitations are essentially about letting your loved ones know the date, time and location of your wedding. You should list the day of the week first, then the date and year of the wedding. It’s common to spell out the date and year instead of using numerals (for example, “Saturday, the twenty-third of March, two thousand nineteen”). You will often see the same for the time of the ceremony as well (“five o’clock in the evening” instead of “5pm”).

Reception line

In your invitation, you’ll want to let people know that there will be a reception. If the reception is at a different location or some time after the ceremony ends, you’ll want to indicate that as well. A couple of example reception lines are  “reception immediately to follow” or “Swedish American Hall: Reception 6 p.m.”

In your invitations you may also wish to include something about the dress code, such as “black tie optional.”

For more information on the wording of a traditional wedding invitation, you can check out a detailed description here.

You may want to include other information, just be sure that it isn’t so much that it distracts from the essentials. Your wedding website can serve as the place for more detailed information, just be sure to direct your guests to it by including the web address in your invitations.

Wedding invitation style

Whether you’re using prints or e-cards, the design possibilities are literally endless. Just remember that you should try to make your invitations clear and easy to read to avoid any confusion. Also keep in mind that for printed invitations, the complexity of the design and the materials they are printed on will be huge factors in the cost.

Joy has lots of styles to choose from when it comes to wedding invitations. Your invitations will match the design of your Joy wedding site, including the colors and fonts, so you can have the same style for everything related to your wedding. You can even order print versions of your invitation e-cards to allow guest to respond either electronically or by paper mail.

And when it comes to sending your invitations, don’t forget that you’ll also need to hear back from your loved ones. You should include an RSVP card so recipients can respond with whether they will be attending and any other important information you request. This card should include clear instructions about when you expect a response so that they don’t get too excited and let it slip their mind!

Get Started – Sending Invitations

Joy makes it easy to send electronic invitations to everyone on your guest list at once. They will automatically include a link to your Joy wedding site and an RSVP card that you can customize with your own questions.

To send wedding invitations with Joy:

  • To select all of your guests, first click the menu button on the left:

guest list left menu

  • From the menu, click “Select All Rows.”

select all rows

  • Once everyone is selected, click “Send Invites and Messages.”

send invite

  • Select “Invitation E-Card” from the dropdown menu:

invitation e-card

  • First you’ll see a preview of what your invitation email will look like.

invitation preview

  • You can click “Edit Email” on the right to write the email content.

edit invite email

  • When you’re done editing your email, click “Done” to save it.
  • You can click “E-Card” or “Next” to preview your invitation e-card.

invitation e-card preview

  • Click anywhere on the preview to see the back of the card.
  • You can edit the content on the front and back of the card by clicking “Edit Card.”

edit invite e-card

  • When you’re done previewing your e-card, click “Confirm” or “Next.”

invite confirm

  • You can click the icon on the top right side of the page to send a test invite to see how it will look in your preferred email client.

send test invite

  • When you’ve got all the essential info in your invitations and they’re looking amazing, click “Send Invite”  to share them with your loved ones

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