@Miss_Mango: Hello, Miss Mango! Welcome to the Weddingbee!
Etiquette refers not just to good manners, which is how you treat other people; but also to good aesthetics; which is how you present your arrangements for other people’s perceptions. Good aesthetics are grounded on the principle that “form follows function”. The function of your invitation is to state:
- WHO is the hostess,
- WHOM she is inviting,
- to WHAT,
- WHEN, and
The hostess is not just the person who is paying, but the person who has responsibility for the safety, comfort and entertainment of all her guests; and who therefore has the final say in all decisions — which very often, but not always, comes with holding the purse-strings. Proper traditional etiquette wisely rules there should really be just one hostess, since there can only be one person who has the “final” say. All the other ladies will be “guests of honour”. And no proper lady; indeed no person of any sort with any modesty; ever, ever gives a party in honour of herself!
“What” the event is, must communicate not only that it is a wedding, but whose wedding, and what the style of the wedding is: religious or secular; formal or informal. What people mistakenly think of as “wedding invitation style” is really merely formal invitation style, used for all manner of formal parties — and proper only if the party is truly formal. If your wedding is informal or casual, you should use informal invitation wording.
Usually nowadays, the bride herself is the hostess, and most weddings nowadays are somewhat informal. The most proper informal invitation is hand-written in the form of a letter:
Dear Auntie Medea and Uncle Donald,
Gerhard and I will be getting married on Saturday the eighth of September, and hope that you will be able to come, and to bring little Hypatia. The wedding will be at the Hotel Frontenac, with a light lunch following a short ceremony at one o’clock. I am so pleased that not only Mother, but also Dad and Jocasta, will be there to greet everyone. Please let me know if you can come.
A proper formal invitation is either engraved or hand-written in black ink on white or cream paper, and refers to both the host(s) and the gues(s) in third person using their social titles. Only the surname is used (or for sons and younger daughters, only the first name) unless there is a chance of ambiguity. So…:
Miss Mango Longoria
requests the pleasure of the company of*
(blank line to write in guest(s)’ names, for example “Mr and Mrs Farmer”)
to her wedding toMr Gerhard Amazing
on Saturday the eighth of September
at one o’clock
at Hotel Frontenac
with a light lunch to follow
and then in the lower right,
In honour of
Mrs Smythe Longoria
Mr and Mrs George Longoria
* or for a church ceremony, the honour of the presence of, or less correctly the pleasure of your company or the honour of your presence without the write-in line. If you skip the write-in line, you must use double envelopes, so that the names of “inviting whom” may be written on the inner envelope.
Numerous variations on both the above might be written depending on what names the ladies go by and what titles they prefer, along with the details of formality, secularity and hosting previously mentioned. Modern styles usually combine the formal and informal styles (often with unfortunate aesthetic and practical results) in an attempt to hit some intermediate level of formality and personal style.