Getting the Wording Right: Formal Wedding Invites

More couples worry about the wording of their invitations than they do over any other detail of their wedding day. Wedding advice columns are always overflowing with lines like: “How should I word invitations if I’m hosting my own wedding?” or “How should I design my vow renewal invites?” Honestly, not much changes in each of these invitation scenarios if you’re sticking with a formal look. Guests expect formal invitations to look a certain way, and subtle changes in wording will keep the look and feel of traditional invites while changing erroneous information that guests aren’t even likely to notice. Take the following formal invite wording, which we’ve come to know and love:

 

Mr. Joe Shmo and Mrs. Jen Shmo

Request the honor of your presence
at the ceremony uniting their daughter

 

Ms. Joanne Shmo

To

Mr. Jacob Boe

 

In the bonds of holy matrimony

 

On Sunday the Fifteenth of September
Two Thousand and Thirteen

At Four O’ Clock in the Afternoon

 

Reception to Follow

 

 

Think about revising that template if…

Your ceremony is actually a Vow Renewal:
Vow renewals, like first weddings, happen when they do for a variety of reasons, most of which are completely valid. You have every right to a fun day of celebrating your unity with your family, but you have to keep in mind that a vow renewal isn’t a wedding. There are certain things you have to miss out on (bachelorette parties, bridal showers) and you should always be honest with your guests. If you signed the paperwork already, you’re married, and the invitation wording should reflect that. Think about changing:

 

At the ceremony uniting

 

Ms. Joanne Shmo

To

Mr. Jacob Boe

 

In the bonds of holy matrimony

 

To

 

At the vow renewal ceremony of

 

Mrs. Joanne Boe

And
Mr. Jacob Boe

 

 

The hosting of your wedding isn’t clear, or you want to de-emphasize it:
Weddings used to be fully-funded by the parents of the bride, but that’s rare now. Couples are marrying later, family financial dynamics are shifting, and many couples want to make their own way in the world and are hosting the whole shebang themselves. If you still choose to word your invites so that the hosting situation for your wedding is clear, that’s completely fine. If not, think about changing:

Mr. Joe Shmo and Mrs. Jen Shmo

Request the honor of your Presence

 

To:

 

Together with their families

 

Ms. Joanne Shmo

and

Mr. Jacob Boe

 

Request the honor of your presence…