Names are listed on separate lines without an "and" between them, and remember that Mom always comes first.
If mom is remarried, use her married name; the oldest etiquette omits all stepparents, though you can add them if you like. If a remarried parent has a different surname from his or her spouse, put the birth parent first. If you must break the line, do it before the "and."
It's not traditional to include a deceased parent, but many people feel strongly about doing so. This wording should make it clear that the deceased parent is not issuing the invitation. (Courtesy titles would be awkward and are omitted.)
The pleasure of your company is requested
at the marriage of
Elizabeth Marie Williams
daughter of John Williams and the late Jane Williams
Douglas Arthur Sawyer
You don't have to use courtesy titles (Mr., Mrs., etc.) and middle names, but it's most traditional and formal. When titles other than Mr. and Mrs. are used, spell them out. The parent who has such a title is listed first: Doctor and Mrs., or Doctor Jane Marie Williams and Mr. John Michael Williams.
If you're looking for a little less formality -- and a chance to list the first name of a married woman -- omit courtesy titles entirely. In some instances, as with the example for a deceased parent, using this format will avoid some grammatical awkwardness; if you choose this option, it's best to omit middle names too.
Two phrases are the most traditional; one indicates the ceremony will be in a house of worship, the other that it will not. But informal wording is becoming very common. Just be sure that whatever phrasing you choose indicates that guests are being invited to a wedding ceremony or the reception only.
Ceremony at a Place of Worship
request the honor of your presence
Ceremony at a Secular Location
request the pleasure of your company
would be delighted by your presence
at the marriage of their children
Informal Reception Only
invite you to join them
at the wedding reception of
Because the bridal couple are the stars of the invitation, their names are set off, on separate lines. The preposition linking them goes on its own line: traditional American formatting uses the word "to"; some Jewish formats use the word "and."
If the bride's last name is the same as her parents' above, it is not repeated. No courtesy title (such as Miss or Ms.) is used.
If the couple or both sets of parents are to host, treat the names equally.
Don't worry about using a.m. or p.m., or a phrase such as "in the evening," unless the wedding will be held at 8, 9, or 10 o'clock. The year is traditionally omitted as well, but it is sometimes included for the invitation's keepsake value.
Spell out numbers and capitalize proper nouns only; you can begin the line with the preposition "on" if you'd like.
Though using numerals is a more modern practice, it is not necessarily more casual.
It's traditional not to include street addresses of houses of worship or well-known locations, but this is less common lately. Commas are not used at the ends of lines, and the state is always spelled out.
Traditional, and Religious
Saint Paul's Lutheran Church
If you are using a street address, numerals are acceptable but no ZIP code is needed; this is not for mailing.
8529 Liberty Road
Brides today generally include paper, envelope, and stamp to encourage guests to respond to their invitation in a timely manner, even though traditional etiquette doesn't actually call for them. It's not rude to omit these, but it might be risky.
R.S.V.P. Line on the Invitation
It goes in the lower left corner; you can also include mailing address, phone number, email address, or website.
On a Separate Card
A traditional fill-in-the-blank version provides the first letter of Mr. or Mrs.; or try a single line, such as "Please let us know whether you will join us," with space for writing.
If your event won't include a full meal, it's courteous to inform your guests. Use phrasing such as "and afterward for cocktails" instead of the classic "at the reception."
If you want to stress the importance of the style of dress -- black tie, for instance, or casual attire -- place that information in the lower right corner, or on the reception card.
The only thing that should not be included anywhere on your invitation -- not even as an insert -- is your registry information.
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