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WEDDING INVITATION SUITE

Creating your wedding invitation suite is one of the most exciting things about planning your wedding; assembling those beautifully crafted pieces and dropping the envelopes in the mail makes the whole event feel more real. But before that happens, you have to make some decisions about what you want your wedding invitations to say, how you want them to look and what traditions you want to keep.

WHO'S PAYING?

The wording of your invitation card depends on who is hosting the wedding; that is, who is contributing financially to the big day. Traditionally, the bride’s family pays for the wedding, but it is becoming increasingly common for the groom’s family to contribute, or for the bride and groom to host their own wedding.

 

The host’s name always appears first on the invitation. If the bride’s family is hosting, the invitation would appear:

Mr. and Mrs. James Scott

request the honour of your presence

at the marriage of their daughter

Jane Anne

to 

John Phillip Ryan

son of Dr. and Mrs. Mark Ryan

 

If the groom’s family has contributed, it would read:

Mr. and Mrs. James Scott

and Dr. and Mrs. Mark Ryan

request the pleasure of your company

at the marriage of their children

Jane Anne Scott

and John Phillip Ryan

 

If the bride and groom are contributing to the wedding costs, the invitation may read something like:

Together with their families,

Jane Anne Scott and John Phillip Ryan

request the pleasure of your company at their wedding 

- or -

Jane Anne Scott and John Phillip Ryan

along with their parents

request the honour of your presence at their wedding

 

Of course, if the bride and groom were paying for the entire wedding themselves, the wording would simply be:

Jane Anne Scott and John Phillip Ryan

request the honour of your presence

as they celebrate their marriage

 

Traditionally, “the honour of your presence” is used for church weddings, while “the pleasure of your company” is used for non-religious ceremony venues.  In addition, you may choose to use the American English spelling of honor vs honour.  Either spelling would be considered correct.

 

See “Wording Options” for how to address the hosts if the bride or groom’s parents are divorced, deceased, or remarried.

 

WORDING OPTIONS FOR NAMES

The same rules will apply to all family names on the invitation, but for the following examples, we will address the bride’s parents as the hosts.

 

Nuclear Families

For nuclear families in which the hosts are still married, they would be addressed as:

Mr. and Mrs. Arnold Wilson

Dr. and Mrs. Arnold Wilson

 

If the bride’s mother is a doctor, “Mr. and Mrs.” is still used; however, if the mother uses a different name professionally and would like it to be used, it may be inserted on the line below, in parenthesis, like so:

Mr. and Mrs. Arnold Wilson

(Dr. Eliza Snyder-Wilson)

 

Divorce and Remarriage

For families in which the hosts are divorced, they are addressed as:

Mr. Arnold Wilson and Mrs. Eliza Snyder-Wilson

 

If the bride’s mother chooses to revert to her maiden name:

Mr. Arnold Wilson and Ms. Eliza Snyder

 

The same form is used if either parent has been remarried. It is at the couple’s discretion whether to include a step-parent on the invitation; it is not incorrect to leave step-parents off the invitation.

Mr. Arnold Wilson and Dr. Eliza Snyder-Cox

 

Deceased

If one of the bride’s parents has died, and the widowed spouse has not remarried, the living parent would be addressed alone:

Mr. Arnold Wilson

- or -

Mrs. Arnold Wilson

Again, if the woman has a different name than her late husband, it can be included in parenthesis below:

Mrs. Arnold Wilson

(Dr. Eliza Snyder-Wilson)

 

It is not necessary to include the late parent; however, if you would like to, it would be written like so:

Mrs. Arnold Wilson and the late Mr. Wilson

- or -

Mr. Arnold Wilson and the late Mrs. Wilson

 

If both parents have passed away, they may be included on the invitation, though they cannot be listed as the event’s hosts. Their names should be written:

The late Mr. and Mrs. Arnold Wilson

It is also acceptable to leave off"the late" and put a small cross beside the name.

 

Other Relatives

If the bride was raised by a relative that was not her mother or father, you would use the name of the relative, whether it be an aunt, grandparents or other relationship. You may choose to specify the relationship on the invitation, but you are not required to do so:

Ms. Jessica Davis

Requests the honour of your presence

At the marriage of her niece

Laura Marie Wilson

- or -

Mr. and Mrs. Michael Allen

Request the pleasure of your company

At the marriage of

Laura Marie Wilson

 

For information about how to address parents with formal or professional titles, see the Titles section. (LINK to Invitations>Outer Envelopes>Titles)

 

DATES, TIMES AND PLACES

As soon as the couple’s names and the names of their parents have been included, the next few lines should be information regarding what date and time the wedding will take place, as well as the location of the event. All dates, times and locations should always be spelled out. A wedding invitation is not the time to say the wedding will be on 4/25 at 3 p.m.! Instead, the date and time should read:

The twenty-fifth of April

Two thousand fifteen

at three o’clock in the afternoon

 

“Two thousand and twenty” is not incorrect, though in the United States, it is more common to leave out the “and.” “Twenty twenty” is incorrect.

 

Always use “o’clock” if the event is scheduled to begin on the hour. If the wedding will start on the half-hour, the invitation should read “half past three in the afternoon”.

 

If your wedding is to start at 12 p.m., “noon” is preferred. There is no need to add an “o’clock” or “in the afternoon.”

 

You should always specify what time of day the event will take place. “In the morning” should be used for any time before noon, and “in the afternoon” for times before 6 p.m. “In the evening” is used for any time after 6 p.m.

 

For locations, spell out state names and do not include abbreviations unless they are included in the proper name for the city or venue.

Hawthorne Botanical Gardens

Kansas City, Missouri

 

St. Paul’s Memorial Church

Los Angeles, California

 

You do not need to include the street address on the invitation card — only the city and state — unless there is concern that guests will arrive at the wrong location (such as, the venue has recently relocated or is new to the area). If you choose to include the street address, spell out all abbreviations, including the street name and navigational directions.

Hawthorne Botanical Gardens

654 South Rosebush Lane

Kansas City, Missouri 64110

 

St. Paul’s Memorial Church

123 State Highway 130

Los Angeles, California 90003

 

EVENT FORMALITY

The formality of your wedding indicates how guests should dress for the event. If you’d like, you can indicate on the invitation what type of attire you’d like your guests to wear, though you are not required to include this information.

 

  • White tie. May be written on the invitation as “a white tie affair,” “white tie preferred” or similar. White tie attire is only for extremely formal events that will be taking place in the evening. (Very formal events earlier in the day are considered “morning dress”; see below.) For a white tie event, male guests will be expected to wear tuxedos or dress coats with tails, and formal accessories such as silk top hats and gold or platinum cufflinks. Women should wear long formal gowns.

  • Morning dress. Morning dress is intended for very formal daytime events but is otherwise the same as white tie. Men will wear single-breasted morning suits or morning coats, typically with gray trousers, while women are expected to wear full-length, formal day gowns.

  • Black tie. A step down from white tie in formality, black tie is intended for evening events that require formal dress, without the top hats and tails. Men may wear tuxedos; those in the military may wear “mess dress” attire if they are ranked officials. Women are expected to wear floor-length or tea-length formal dresses. Wedding invitations may indicate “a black tie affair,” “black tie preferred,” or “black tie optional” (see below for more information).

  • Black tie preferred or optional. Guests at a black tie preferred/optional event may still wear tuxedos or gowns, but have the option to go slightly less formal if they wish. Men may choose dark suits in lieu of tuxedos, and shorter-length formal dresses are acceptable for women.

  • Cocktail attire. Cocktail attire indicates a less formal event. Men may wear lighter-colored suits or sports coats; collared shirts and slacks are acceptable as well. Ladies may wear cocktail-length, tea-length or knee-length dresses. 

  • Casual or day casual. Indicates that guests may come in their “Sunday best,” including pressed jeans or khakis and collared shirts for men, and sundresses or slacks for women.

 

Guests can often deduce how they are to dress by the formality of the invitation suite if attire is not specified on the invitation card. If you expect your guests to dress a certain way, it is best to include that information so there is no mistaking what to wear. You can also specify attire on your wedding website if you don’t want to include it on the invitation. 

 

If attire is not specified on either, guests may assume that cocktail attire or black tie optional is appropriate.

WHAT NOT TO INCLUDE

While you want to provide your guests with as much information as possible, there are some things that should not be included in your invitation suite, not even on a separate card.

 

  • Registry information. The friends and family you’ve invited are thrilled to be able to celebrate with you, and chances are good they’ll want to bring you a gift. However, the couple should never expect their guests to bring gifts. Including registry information on the invitation implies that gifts are expected, and guests may see it as rude. Likewise, the couple should not indicate their preference for monetary gifts. You can let your bridal party and parents know where you are registered so inquisitive guests can find out that information. All gifts should be received with heartfelt pleasure and thanks, and a thank-you note should be written soon after the gift is received.

  • Adults-only celebration. Perhaps you want to keep the tone of your wedding very formal, and do not want to include children in the celebration. Do not write “adults only reception” on the invitation or reception card. Your inner envelope should only list the names of the people who are invited; if children’s names are not listed, it indicates that they are not to be included. However, not everyone understands this function of the inner envelope. You may receive response cards that include children’s names. You will need to contact each family personally to let them know that you are not having children at the wedding and that you cannot make exceptions. Do not be offended if guests with children must change their response if they cannot acquire childcare. 

  • Plus-ones. Information about plus-ones should not be included on or in the invitation. That information should be restricted to the inner envelope or the response card. 

 

WEDDING INVITATION SUITE CONTENTS

The invitation card should have the following information on it: the name of the hosts, the names of the couple, the names of the non-hosting set of parents, the date, time and location of the ceremony, and whether or not there will be a reception following the ceremony. In addition, you may include inserts with information about the reception, accommodations, or other important details.

 

Regardless of how many inserts you include, all pieces of the suite should be complementary.

 

PAPER AND PRINTING

You will have a variety of papers to choose from when you order your invitations. Cotton and linen, white or ivory, various kinds of cardstock — there are lots of options. When you are ready to begin the process of having your invitations designed, Lavandula Design provides a free consultation to help you figure out the best options for your wedding. When you schedule a consultation, you’ll have the opportunity to peruse samples to see every type of paper, printing options and special details available to you.

 

Lavandula Design does all their printing in-house, and provides you with a variety of print options: letterpress, where the press creates beautiful indentions into thick, cottony paper; engraved, which is printed from an etched printing plate, and is best for metallic colors; and offset, or flat printing as well as digital printing and foil stamping. Your printing choice may help narrow down your paper options, as some printing processes work better with certain types of paper than others.  

 

With those choices made, the sky's the limit for your suite. You can have the edges of your pieces gilded or painted in your wedding colors.  Lavandula provides in house laser cut wedding invitations and custom die-cutting, so you can have the invitation cut into a specific shape, or have designs perforated into your cards. You can have gold or silver foil stamping details, beveled edges, and Swarovski crystals and ribbons. If you can dream it, Lavandula Design can make it happen!

HAVING A CUSTOM SUITE DESIGNED

The wedding invitations are the visual representation of your entire event. They show guests how formal your celebration will be, and what they can expect that day. For you, the invitation is the piece of your wedding that you will keep long after the cake has been eaten and the rose petals have been thrown. You’ll hold onto the framed invitation, happily ever after, so you want it to be just as perfect as the rest of your wedding day.

 

Lavandula Design creates elegant, custom invitation suites, so you will be in good hands when you schedule a consultation with the design team. It’s never too early to get started!

 

Before the consultation, you may choose to look online or through books or bridal magazines for ideas; keep in mind how formal you want your wedding to be, because you want your invitation suite to reflect the day. Think about your wedding colors, and whether you want any specific types of fonts or design elements, such as custom monograms or hand-drawn graphics. Of course, you’ll have time to work with the designer during your consultation, so it’s okay if you haven’t decided yet by the first meeting! 

 

During a typical consultation, your designer will work with you to determine the style and formality of your wedding. The designer will ask questions about your ceremony, where your wedding will take place, the number of people in the bridal party, what type of reception you are planning and other questions about your celebration. You’ll have time to present the ideas you’ve culled from bridal magazines and the Internet; if you are not sure what you want, you can peruse the wall of samples, which is packed with design ideas, color combinations, paper options, and examples of the special details Lavandula Design offers. Your designer can help you determine what might work best for your own day, and can make suggestions for your one-of-a-kind invitation suite. 

 

You’ll also discuss the quantity of invitations you’ll need with the designer, as well as what type of printing you would like, how many inserts you may need, and whether you want calligraphy or envelope liners. 

 

A few days after the consultation, you’ll receive a proposal and quote that will include every detail of the invitations you’ve envisioned. Once you accept the proposal and provide the deposit, the designer will bring life to your paper goods and keep you involved every step of the way. Allow at least six to eight weeks for the finished invitations after you’ve made the deposit.

 

After your invitations are complete, the designer will get in touch with you the month before the wedding to talk about day-of details, such as programs, menus, escort cards and more. These pieces can complement your invitation suite for a cohesive look throughout all your paper goods.

 

Whether you already know exactly what you want or are just beginning to get ideas, Lavandula Design can help you get the process started.