(Closed) Details on invitation, help? I can't get it to sound right

posted 5 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
1699 posts
Bumble bee

@shadesofviolet:  Okay, you are asking this on the Etiquette board, so I am going to try to talk you through it using the (real) principles of basic (not “wedding”) etiquette. It is actually easier than you fear, but you might prefer the look and feel of (unreal) “wedding” etiquette instead, in which case you will have to hope for help from posters other than me.

Many brides think that there is a standard “wedding-invitation” wording that they have to adapt somehow, even if their wedding is completely unlike the stereotypical Church-and-formal-Reception white-ballgown-and-open-bar-with-dancing society wedding. That presumed “wedding invitation” wording is the stiff third-person “somebody or other / requests the pleasure/honour of …”  Now here is the big reveal: that rigid third-person wording is proper for any formal event, wedding or not; and is improper for any informal event, even if it is a wedding!

So, what are you planning to put on the front of your invitation?

I would argue that, if you are having a formal wedding, you should leave your formal invitations unsullied by a great many user-instructions printed on the back, and leave your guests to function as responsible adults who would not dream of being more than half an hour late for a ceremonial occasion, and who can figure out that two different addresses mean they will have to drive from one to the next, presumably using either a map picked up at the corner gas station, or their GPS.

If you are having an informal wedding and want to give all the friendly (if probably unnecessary) advice that you are contemplating, then you should use the appropriate wording of an informal invitation:

Dear Aunty Guest and Uncle Invited,

Handsome and I are planning to be married on Saturday November 2, at the courthouse in ourtown: 1234 Main Street, at half past two o’clock. We would very much like for you to join us for the ceremony, and afterward at our home, 4321 Side Street. Please let me know by September 30 if you can come, and please be aware that the court clerk is very strict about the time and will not let in any guests who come late!

It’s about a half-hour drive from the court-house to our home, where we will be offering snacks and drinks after the ceremony. Let me know what your preferred beverage is so that I can try to have some on hand.

And please wish me and Handsome every happiness.



Properly that would be hand-written to every guest. My great-aunt Vespasia would insist that it be hand-written in black ink with a fountain pen; but that’s okay because her grandmother would have insisted on India-ink and a hand-cut quill. I am fine with you using ball-point even if the ink is blue instead of black; and evolution of etiquette thus being an observed phenomenon and this being the twenty-first century,if you want to print off multiple copies on your home printer and hand-write just the “dear so-and-so” line and your signature, I and the rest of the world’s enlightened etiquette afficionados can just avert our eyes briefly and practice non-judgementalism.

Post # 4
9142 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL

@shadesofviolet:  I would list the ceremony start time as a half hour early to give time for the people who will inevitably late.  Then there is no need to notify guests about the locked doors.

Post # 5
46413 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

I would be annoyed as a guest if your invitation indicated the ceremony started at 2:oo as a pp suggested. I would be there by 1:45 at a minimum, and would now have 45 minutes to wait.

If the invitation says the ceremony starts at 2:30, start the ceremony at 2:30. Anyone arriving at 3:00 surely can’t expect that you are going to delay the start of the cermony for them.


Post # 6
107 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

People are grown adults. If they are chronically late, they will probably be late whether you give them a (fake) earlier start time or not. I would be unbelievable p.o-ed if you wrote down a fake time and then I showed up the appropriate 10-15 minutes early. Yuck. 

If you have VIPs with chronic lateness, a phone call to let them know the situation could be made, though it is still a bit presumptuous. 

If they miss the ceremony, they miss the ceremony. Their problem, not yours. 

Post # 7
12003 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2014

I’m guessing your ceremony is at 3:00 or just after if you’re asking people to be there at 2:30 and you’re worried people might be locked out?

I would just mention that the ceremony starts at 3:15 (or whatever time it is) and to ensure there are no interruptions the courthouse clerk locks the door 15 minutes prior to the ceremony

Post # 8
250 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

Print 3pm on the invitation. Once people have RSVPed “yes,” send an info email with directions and the time nuance a week ahead of the wedding.

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