When creating your own custom wedding invitations, the wording may be tricky. While it’s alright – and you are even highly encouraged – to explore your creative side and come with something unique that your guests won’t forget easily, there are certain generally accepted guidelines you should stick to. Here is a brief list of frequently asked questions.
Do we have to use British spelling?
While this isn’t a must, traditional etiquette says you should use British English in your wedding invitation. The origins of this custom date back from ages – and are quite irrelevant for the scope of this article – but the point is you don’t have to use it unless you have prepared a very formal setting for your wedding. Don’t use British English if you are going to get married on a beach – the wording would sound corny.
Whichever you choose, remember to be consistent throughout your invitation and the RSVP card. Don’t mix and match. If you used the word ‘honour’ in your custom invitation text (such as ‘… request the honour of your presence’) don’t use ‘favor’ in your reply card (as in ‘The favor of a reply is requested’) and vice versa.
How should we write the date of the event?
While it’s alright to get creative, the customs say the date of the event has to be spelled out. Don’t write ‘Nov 26, 2011’ or ‘11/26/2011’, but rather use ‘Saturday the twenty-sixth of November, two thousand and eleven’. Again, tradition says you should use British wording when spelling out the year – i.e. ‘two thousand and eleven’ rather than the American ‘two thousand eleven’.
What is the etiquette regarding abbreviations?
As a rule, abbreviations should be left out altogether, but certain exceptions apply.
- Don’t list the initial of the name – either spell it out completely or don’t put it there at all. It’s either ‘Mark Andrew Walberg’ or ‘Mark Walberg’, but never ‘Mark A. Walberg’.
- Titles are to be listed unabbreviated. Customs say you should only list religious and military titles – Bishop, Reverend, Lieutenant or General – as well as Doctor. ‘Mr.’ and ‘Mrs.’ are exceptions – you may either abbreviate them or leave them out altogether.
- A lot of wedding invitation etiquette specialists prefer ‘junior’ to be spelled out, but the known ‘Jr.’ abbreviation may be used. If you decide to write the whole word, it shouldn’t be capitalized, so it’s either ‘Mark Walberg Jr.’ or ‘Mark Walberg junior’.
Should parents be mentioned on the wedding invitation?
The invitation should be issued by the bride and groom and, eventually, by those who are paying for the wedding. Long story short, parents should only be mentioned on your custom wedding invitation if they contributed to the wedding in any way. Don’t only take the financial side into account – parents may have helped you with other preparations even though the both of you paid for everything.
If two people live in the same house, should we send one invitation or two?
The answer depends on the relationship between the two.
- If they are a couple – either married or not – you should send one invitation and list both their names. If they are married, list the lady’s first name then the gentleman’s, then their family name (i.e. ‘Angela and Tom Barrows’).
- Flat mates should receive separate invitations, even though they live at the same address.
- Children under 18 may be listed on the same wedding invitation with their parents. Children over 18 should receive separate invitations, regardless of whether they live with their parents or not.
How should we mention that no children should be present at the reception?
It is socially incorrect to write something in the line of ‘No children please’. It is rude, and such a wording may trigger a response like ‘Why not, what’s wrong with my kids?’ A better approach would be to mention ‘Adult Only Reception’ at the bottom of the wedding invitation or the RSVP card but this, again, might offend some of your guests. Instead, you can spread the word before the wedding with the help of your family and other members of the bridal party.