The Wedding Invitation Etiquette 101

Creating and sending wedding invitations involves much more than simply mailing a card. This is one of the most important aspects of your big day because it conveys the crucial details regarding the event, such as the date, venue location, and time. Not to worry though, the experts at Simply Bridal have compiled everything you need to know about proper wedding invitation etiquette.

Proper Wedding Invitation Etiquette Techniques

There are right and wrong ways to word a marriage invitation from the host line to the RSVP line. Hence, it’s vital you understand what information to include and how to word each section. So, let’s take a look at the breakdown for the order of operations on your wedding cards:

The Host Line

The host line contains the names of the people who are hosting or paying for the wedding. This is commonly the bride’s parents but can also be the groom’s parents, both sets of parents, or even the couple themselves. When addressing wedding invitations, it’s important to get the order of operation correct. Here’s the proper way to address wedding invitations:

Bride’s Family

When the bride’s parents host the ceremony, the invitation should read:

  • The bride’s mother’s name follows the bride’s father’s name.
  • If the parents are remarried, you should list the mother’s husband’s name, mother’s name, and then the bride’s father.
  • When the parents are divorced, simply list the bride’s mother followed by the father’s name.

Groom’s Family

The invitation is addressed a bit differently if the ceremony is to be hosted by the groom’s family.

  • The groom’s father should be listed first then followed by the mother’s name.
  • If the groom’s parents are remarried, you will list the mother of the groom’s husband’s name, followed by the groom’s mother and the father of the groom.
  • If the groom’s parents are divorced, simply list the mother’s name and then the father’s name.

Both Families

When both sets of parents host a ceremony, here’s how to address the wedding invitations:

  • List the bride’s family followed by the groom’s family.
  • Alternatively, each family can issue their own invitations.

The Couple

If the couple issues the invitations, the bride’s name precedes the groom’s name.

Parents and The Couple

Traditionally, if the parents and the couple are hosting the wedding, you should list the family, the bride, and finally, the groom.

The Request Line

This is the line dedicated to the request line phrase that you will use to invite your wedding guests to the ceremony or the reception only. Just keep in mind that while you can invite certain people to the reception only, this is considered bad manners. Though, it is common for guests to leave before the reception takes place.

The request line on the marriage invitation card should read something such as:

  • Would be delighted by your presence at
  • Cordially invite you to

The Bride and Groom Line

On the wedding invitation, the bride and groom’s names are written without using courtesy titles, and they are joined by an “and” or “to.” In this line, you can also mention the parents’ names if they weren’t already mentioned in the host line.

The Date and Time

When it comes to save the date etiquette, this portion can be formal or informal, depending on your preference. If you choose the formal way, be sure to spell out every day, month, and number. Alternatively, on informal wedding invitations, you can use abbreviations or actual numbers for these elements.

The Location

Of course, it would not be proper wedding invitation etiquette to leave off the ceremony’s location. You also have a choice with this line. For example, if you’ll wed at a well-known venue, then you can simply list the venue and leave off the address. However, feel free to include the address if you’d like.

Reception Information

If the wedding ceremony and reception will be hosted at the same venue, then you can simply put the phrase “reception follows.” However, when the reception is at a separate location, most couples use a wedding invitation insert to convey the information.

It’s also proper etiquette to list other important information such as dress code, the type of food and refreshments that will be served, and if children are allowed or not.


Most couples agree that it’s proper wedding invitation etiquette to include a self-addressed pre-stamped envelope to your guests for them to use when returning the RSVP card. Alternatively, some couples choose to forego paper RSVPs altogether and request that their guests confirm online instead. 

Wedding Invitation Insert Etiquette

The insert is generally used to explain any special travel information. You can also use this space to list your wedding website; just refrain from including your wedding registry because this is considered poor etiquette.

Commonly Asked Wedding Invitation Etiquette Questions

What do you write on a wedding invite?

Your wedding invite should contain all the pertinent information pertaining to the ceremony. This should include the host’s name, the request line, the couple’s names, date and time, location, reception information, dress code, and an RSVP card.

What name goes first on a wedding invitation?

As we discussed above, this will depend on who is hosting the ceremony. Sometimes the first name will be that of the bride, and sometimes it will be the husband of the bride’s mother.

Do the groom’s parent’s names go on the invitation?

Their names are included as hosts if they are financially contributing to the ceremony.

In the end, while learning proper wedding invitation etiquette may seem overwhelming at first, it’s actually very easy if you use the simplified outline we discussed.

Further Reading: Wedding Anniversary Gifts By Year

The Wedding Invitation Etiquette 101

Date of first publication Jul 19, 2013 on Infographic Archive

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