My secret to figuring out the perfect wording for your wedding invitations

Wording your wedding invitation can get complicated fast.  And not because there’s a minimum word count or there’s a rule that says you have to write it in iambic pentameter.  It’s complicated because every wedding is different, every couple has a different story and different personalities. Coming up with a wording for your invitation that honors all those things is what makes wording your wedding invitation tricky.  

My #1 stationery rule will always be that there are no rules! With so many scenarios for couples getting married, even if I did believe in stationery rules there wouldn’t always be one to follow.  Now I know you’re probably wondering how there can be a secret to something with no rules. But there is….and here it is…

If it feels right….do it!

That’s it…that’s the secret.  

Now I’m sure you wanted more help than do what feels right, and I’m totally gonna hook you up with some frequently run into scenarios.  But at the end of reading this blog, if none of them sit right with you don’t use them. You do YOU! (and if you really don’t know what to do hit me up and we can figure it out together!)

Now like I promised, here are some pretty common scenarios that people are always wondering about and some solutions to help you figure out your wording worries.  Just remember, there are no rules, so just do what makes you comfortable.

Whose name goes first on a wedding invitation?

This really depends…

Traditionally (read archaically?) the “bride’s” name goes first because her parents would have paid for the wedding and are presenting her to her groom…. but I am not at all into that heteronormative bullshit.

This may sound funny, but since most of my invitation designs involve interweaving the couples’ names.  Whichever name fits into the other better is how I roll. So most of the time, the shorter name goes first. 

Here’s an example:

My partner and I are paying for our wedding, do our parents need to be on the invitation?

The short answer….no!

Parent’s names usually go on the invitation because they are solely or in part paying for the wedding. If that’s not the case, then screw it…no parent names on the invitation.

NOTE:  If you don’t know 60% of the people on your half of the guest list, including your parents helps could help those people know why the fork they were invited though.

When writing our wedding invitations, who is inviting the guests?

Whoever is hosting…aka paying, invite the guests to the wedding.

A lot of parents still hold tight to this tradition. Especially since the current trend is to through wedding traditions out the window. (I go into why wedding traditions need to change in this blog) 

Per tradition, if you are paying for your own wedding, then you are hosting and should invite the guests.   

The sense of giving away your child to go off into the world is a bit archaic, may couples have chosen to honor their parents while still being their own people by inviting guests together with their parents.


Mr. & Mrs. John R. Smith request the honor of your presence at the marriage of their daughter, Jane Renee Smith to the son of  Messrs. Michael and Rafael Parker, Tyrone Franklin Parker


Together with our parents, we, Monique & Bridgette request the honor of your presence as we join together in marriage


Jameson + Codyinvite you to join them for a celebration of their love as they join together in marriage

How do we word our wedding invitation if one parent has passed away?

This is one of those super tricky situations.  You want to do what makes you ultimately happy with how you incorporate honoring your late parent. 

Here are a few examples:

  • Omit the name on the invitation and include a poem in your program or a segment within your ceremony honoring your late parent.
  • Include the late parent’s name (without “the late”) on the invitation with a superscript, typically of a cross.  But that can be changed to fit your family.
  • Include the parent’s name with “The Late” in front of it.
  • Omit them from the invitation.

Any of these are appropriate if they feel right to you.  It all comes down to how close you were with this person and how you feel they would want to be honored (if at all).  Sometimes seeing their names on the invitation can be very emotional for you and other people.

Do you spell out the date on a wedding invitation?

You can, but it’s not required.  (Remember…no rules!)

I personally love the elegance of spelling out the date.  But it can be just as impactful to stick to numbers.  Here are examples of different date styles on some semi-custom stationery designs.

Photo Credit: Megan Lucy Photographers
perfect wedding invitation wording for formal dates, photography by Jekalo Photography
Photo Credit: Jekalo Photography

Do you have to use the couple’s full names on a wedding invitation?

You never have to use them, but I would say that if your invitation is extremely formal then using them will elevate your stationery wording.  If you are going for a more casual approach, then first names only work just fine. (P.S. If you hate your middle name, then just skip it!)

Can’t I just put the date, time, and location on our wedding invites and call it good?

Abso-forkin-lutely!  I love keeping things simple and the less is more approach is totally trending.  Never feel like you need to add a bunch of word fluff to your invitations. (This ain’t an EPR)

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Meet Molly

Meet Molly

As seen in The Knot Magazine, Molly Hicks is a badass custom stationery designer who loves helping queer couples bring their epic stationery dreams to life in a way that's a true reflection of their epic love.

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