Invitation Etiquette

April 13, 2018

We're in the midst of invitation season here at Vanilla Retro HQ as January-April is the most popular time to send out invitations for summer weddings. But do YOU know the right etiquette for writing and addressing your invitations...? Don't make a rookie error - make sure you know the do's and don't of invitation etiquette.



Traditionally, wedding invitations were always sent from the Bride's parents. Why? Well, traditionally weddings were paid for by the Bride's family and marked the occasion of handing the daughter from one man (her father) to another (her husband). Needless to say, things have certainly moved on a bit from then with the majority of couples paying for their own weddings, and our attitudes towards 'female ownership' have hopefully progressed too! But the rule of thumb now is for the invitation to extend from the person or people footing the bill or the lion's share of responsibility. Here are a few examples:


1. Formal Parental Invitation


Mr & Mrs. George Smyth

request your presence at the marriage of their daughter

Miss Alice Emma Smyth


Mr. John James Burton


This format is extended from the Bride's parents, and uses traditional wording including the father of the bride's name, middle names of the Bride & Groom and their formal titles. You may have noticed something similar on the recent Royal Wedding invitations for Meghan and Harry, where the invite extended from His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, as it is the Royal Family hosting the wedding and not the bride's family, and they used "Ms." to indicate Meghan's divorced status.



 Image of the Royal Wedding Invitation by Barnard Westwood, shared by Kensington Palace


2. Duel Parental Invitation, semi-formal


George & Mary Smyth, together with Frank & Linda Burton

invite you to the marriage of their children,

Alice Smyth


John Burton


This format acknowledges the involvement of both parental sides of the Bride and Groom, and uses less formal wording - dropping the "Mr & Mrs George Smyth" in favour of the more modern "George & Mary Smyth". The Bride & Groom names show their first and last names only, and no titles. For wedding's where both sides of the Bride & Groom's families are sharing the responsibilities of organising the wedding, this is the most appropriate for opening.




3. Informal Invitation


Together with their parents,

Alice Smyth


John Burton

wish to invite you to their wedding


Here, parental involvement is acknowledged, but might be minimal with the Bride & Groom assuming the largest financial contribution and organisational responsibility. For the majority of couple's marrying  in recent years, this is the most popular opening.


 Our Magnolia Blush Wedding Invitation shows the popular informal wording


4. Invitation from Couple only


Alice Smyth


John Burton

wish to invite you to their wedding


The final option for your wording is considered informal, and is often used for more intimate weddings where there is less grandure involved. You'll notice by now, that the word "marriage" has been replaced with "wedding" and that the wording always opts for "invite you" rather than "request your presence" Couple's can choose to use their full names or just their first names, but never include their titles.


 Our Modern Botanical collection extends the invitation from the couple only.


One thing which is consistent throughout, is for the Bride's name to come first. This is because the Bride is generally considered the focus of the day, and then there's the age old saying of "Ladie's first..." regardless of the formality of the event.


So there you have it: a comprehensive breakdown of Invitation Ettiquette! Will you be going the traditional route, or going with a more informal, contemporary approach? Let us know!



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