wedding invitation wording

This post originally appeared on The Celebration Society Blog

The venue has been chosen, the dress has been found, the flowers have been picked, and now it’s time to start designing your wedding invitations! Piece of cake, right? Cue finding the perfect stationer to assist you in creating the pretty paper for your big day! A stationer can guide you in formulating the wording so that no etiquette rule is broken – so choose wisely. In the moment of typing up your wording for your wedding paper pro, you realize you have a tricky situation and although you want to advise your guests, you feel a little awkward adding this to the invitation. Although explicitly mentioning an uncommon situation might seem complicated, it will save your guests from surprises and from an even more awkward conversation later.

atlanta wedding invitations by oh my designs

Grownups only
One of the most common of these situations is the “no kids” request. The debate on including or excluding children is a different discussion, but this decision is ultimately up to the bride and groom. Giving the request with the invitation is imperative so that guests with kids can make preparations. Listing “adult only reception” on the actual invitation piece is the simplest way to get this message across. Adding a blurb to the RSVP card reminds guests again and makes this request extremely clear: “Although we love your children, this is an adult only event.”

grey and blush wedding invitation

Dinner-less Reception
If you don’t plan on serving dinner at the reception, you should be upfront and let guests know this beforehand. Concluding the invitation with “cocktail reception to follow” should allude to the fact that guests shouldn’t expect to receive a full meal. Use one of the following statements on your reception cards to be explicit in making sure guests are prepared to not eat dinner.

“Hors d’oeuvres and cocktail celebration to follow the ceremony”

“Please join us for cake and dancing after the ceremony”

black and gold wedding invitation

Unwelcome Extras
Addressing your envelope should be clear on who exactly is invited, but this isn’t always the case. Sometimes a guest might bring a plus one, even if you haven’t allocated space for an additional person. To be explicit, state on the RSVP card: “We have reserved X seats in your honor; number attending X.” You fill in the first blank, which makes it very clear on if the guest is allowed to bring a date.

Being upfront about this seemingly “awkward” information will be beneficial and less awkward in the long run.In addition to making the statement on your invitation pieces, it’s also a good idea to add it to your wedding website as well. Overall, being clear and explicit about these tricky situations is your best bet to a wonderful wedding day!

Check out my guide on getting started with wedding invitation wording here!


11 Comments on Wedding Invitation Wording for Sticky Situations

  1. I think the no kids thing on the invitation is EXTREMELY important! I have seen friendships end over things like this before when it wasn’t clearly communicated.

  2. Maybe not as important as the “no kids” topic, the “dinner-less reception” is a pretty big deal. So glad you mentioned this! We recently attended a reception that began at 6pm. All the guests arrived ready for a full meal, and the light hors d’oeuvres were gobbled up pretty fast, leaving us all feeling a mix of slighted and embarrassed at the same time. If only we’d known to eat dinner in advance this whole issue could have been avoided. Great post Steph!

    • Thank Merritt! Yikes! That is super awkward. Sometimes mentioning it with the invitation can seem a little tricky, but I definitely think it saves an even trickier situation later. And nobody wants hangry guests! ;)

  3. Hello Steph! I have a sticky situation that I haven’t quite seen explained yet and wondered if you could help. I am having a huge ceremony (because that’s the most important part to me and my fiance) and a lot of our church members, co-workers, etc. are invited. We want a smaller, intimate reception (close friends and family and any out-town travelers), but both the ceremony and reception are in the same location (outdoor ceremony/indoor reception). Most of the attendees will be told about being invited to the ceremony only, but I don’t want anyone slipping through the cracks or leave room for a huge miscommunication. How do you think I should address/word this in the invitations? I am adding an “additional information” card with the invitations and plan to address it on there. PLEASE HELP!!!!!

    • Hi Monisha! That is tricky! I’ve actually done invitations for the other way around (small ceremony, large reception), but don’t have experience in this situation. I would make it clear on the invitation itself that guests are invited to the ceremony and use the insert cards to specifically invite the close friends and family to the reception. I’m not sure that I would even mention a reception to those only invited to the ceremony and possibly have a sign at the reception entrance welcoming “invited friends and family to our intimate post-ceremony celebration” or something along those lines. Hope this helps!

  4. We have an established home so don’t want gifts that we already have how do you discourage gifts but suggest money contributions for dream home?

  5. I’m helping my sister in law plan a small wedding. She wants the invite to say no gifts money only and for guess to bring their own alcohol to share with everyone.
    How would you word something like this?

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