Invitation Wording

posted 3 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
Member
42522 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

You could simply allow the wording to indicate that the bride’s parents are hosting. No one really needs to know that the couple are also paying. Traditional wording would work for this.

Mr and Mrs (Bride’s Parents Name)
request the pleasure of your company
at the marriage of their daughter
(Bride’s Name)
to
Mr (Groom’s Name)
at (Ceremony Details)
on (Day, Date, Month, Year)
at (Time)
and afterwards at
(Reception Details)

Post # 5
Member
1649 posts
Bumble bee

@MrsSparkle:  The wording for a truly formal invitation is very strict, and essentially boils down to:

  1. (Formal names of hosts)
  2. request the pleasure of the company of (whom)
  3. to (type of event)
  4. on (date) at (time)
  5. at (location)

So, if your fiance wants to clearly communicate that you and he are co-hosting with your parents, the wording would be:

  1. Mr and Mrs John Maidenname
    Miss Bride Maidenname
    Mr John Sparkle
  2. request the pleasure of your company
  3. to the marriage of Miss Madenname and Mr Sparkle
  4. on Saturday the twenty-fourth of January
  5. at seven o’clock
  6. at the Hotel Astoria

Without, of course, the numbers. They are there for illustration purposes only. You’ll note that I assume the wedding takes place in the evening, as that is the only time when formal dress comprises Black Tie. During the day, the appropriate formal dress is morning-coat with stripped trousers.

Now, if you want to be truly high-stickler formal, you need to know a few other points of etiquette. First, nice people never discuss financial arrangements in polite society. No-one needs to know who is “paying”: they need to know who is taking personal responsibility for the safety, comfort and entertainment of the guests — that is “hosting”. And at truly proper formal events, the host is exclusivelly one individual lady, optionally together with her spouse if she has one. Unmarried gentlement do not host social events, and the names of unmarried people are never engraved together on social stationery. So at a truly high-formal your fiance would have to decide whom he could tolerate as the sole responsible hostess: you or your mother. to assign as the responsible. Also, the highest formality of invitation has the name of the guest hand-written in beautiful script onto the invitation card itself, maintaining the exlusively third-person wording of a formal invitation (“you” is second-person and violates the consistency of the formal form). And if your wedding ceremony is at a church you must acknowledge that you are not in fact hosting that part — God, or the minister as god’s representative, is the host and welcomes the public even if you would rather not — by using the wording “requests the honour of the presence of” instead of “the pleasure of the company of”.

So a truly high-formal evening church-wedding invitation would read:

  1. Miss Bride Maidenname
  2. requests the honour of the presence of
    Miss Phipps …

Post # 7
Member
1649 posts
Bumble bee

@MrsSparkle:  Since you definately want to have multiple hostesses, you are going with an in-between level of formality and propriety. You can choose to use a write-in line, or to use “you”, but I strongly recommend the write-in line. Since you are already married, you do not announce it as a “wedding” but as whatever kind of an event it is: a “reception” if there is no meal or substantial entertainment such as dancing, a “dinner” or “luncheon” if there is a meal, a “dance” if there is no meal but there is a dance-floor and some kind of music. Some people will tell you that “reception” is only allowed when immediately following a wedding, but that is a misunderstanding. All manner of “receptions” are held both to provide an opportunity to socialize after some special event like a graduation or a theatre opening night, or simply as an end in themselves. It is a “reception” any time you “receive” your guests and have nothing better to advertise.

Guessing that you are offering both dinner and dancing, and guessing that you took Mr Sparkle’s surname but not his given name and are exercising your twenty-first century privileges by using the title “Mrs” anyway, and guessing that your mother took both her husband’s surname and his given name, and that you are all in the United States where the titles “Mr.” and “Mrs.” take a period — so many variables! — it would read:

Mr. and Mrs. John Maidenname
Mr. John Sparkle and Mrs. Bride Sparkle
request the pleasure of the company of
Miss Phipps
to dinner
on Saturday the twenty-fourth of January
at seven o’clock
at the Hotel Astoria

the favor of a reply is requested                        Dancing

How does “he” feel about not mentioning the wedding? Your friends aren’t dolts: if you’ve recently started calling yourself Mrs Sparkle and if you aren’t in the habit of issuing formal invitations, they’ll put two and two together and figure out what you are celebrating. But since you are already compromising the extreme high-stickler-ness of your invitation, you can get away with mentioning your marriage, and if you feel you must, with mentioning a dress code, down in that bottom left-corner “extra information” section of the invitation. You can also provide contact details in the bottom right, and you may use the abbreviation “R.s.v.p.” if you prefer it, so:


to dinner
on Saturday the twenty-fourth of January
at seven o’clock
at the Hotel Astoria

R.s.v.p.                                 to celebrate Mr and Mrs Sparkle’s marriage
text 555-123-4567 or                                                                        Dancing
sparkle@provider.us                                                                       Black Tie

Of course, with that much “extra information” you’ll want a significantly smaller font than the rest of the invitation to keep it from being overly bottom-heavy.

Post # 9
Member
1649 posts
Bumble bee

@MrsSparkle:  SmileWhat a sweet answer! You truly made me smile! But … not any? Not even one wee detail? Well, so be it!

You only need to take advice that works for you. If you ever find yourself acting as formal social hostess to a foreign ambassador, or planning balls for exclusive finishing schools, you will probably find that my advice is pretty well aligned with the protocol codes you would have to follow in those situations. But that does not mean a thing in situations where those formal protocols are not commonly followed by either hostess or guests. I love the Samuel Wells quote where he asserts that good manners require that one “never disturb even a low accord.”

I will be very interested to follow what decisions you actually do make!

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