What you say on a wedding invitation is just as important as how you say it. The wedding invitation is a guidepost that tells guests facts about your special day. There is a lot of glitz and glamour that goes into the wording, but ultimately, you need to get a few key points across. The day of the ceremony, t... read more

What you say on a wedding invitation is just as important as how you say it. The wedding invitation is a guidepost that tells guests facts about your special day. There is a lot of glitz and glamour that goes into the wording, but ultimately, you need to get a few key points across. The day of the ceremony, the location and the time trump all the little niceties like who the hosts are, for example.

As critical as these facts are to getting guests where they should be at the right time, there is still etiquette to consider when constructing the date, hour and location lines on a wedding invitation.

Let’s Talk about Dates
Get your dictionary out, because the date line requires you spell everything out for formal events. While this may seem a little stuffy, in practice, it makes sense. It is easy to transpose numbers, so writing things out works in your favor. Unfortunately, spelling out numbers is not something most people do regularly in our debit card society, so syntax becomes an issue.

It starts with the day of the week. Simple enough, if you are marrying on a Sunday, then say so — follow the day of the week with a comma.

Sunday,

Next, comes the written date. This is where it starts to get a little tricky. Begin with the day of the month. The day of the month is written as an ordinal

the first
the tenth
the thirteenth

The first line looks like this:
Sunday, the twenty-ninth
Follow it with an “of” and then the actual month name.
Sunday, the twenty-ninth of December

Then write out the year on the next line
Sunday, the twenty-ninth of December
Two thousand thirteen

End the date line with the time of the ceremony preceded by “at”
Sunday, the twenty-ninth of December
Two thousand thirteen

at seven o’clock in the evening

Notice there is no “am or pm” here. You write it out as
in the morning
in the afternoon
in the evening

If starting at noon, say noon. The evening begins at six, so five o’clock is still in the afternoon. If you are lucky, the time falls right on the top of the hour. For those less lucky, the ceremony might start at:

half past seven o’clock in the evening

You can discard the “o’clock” in this case if you prefer. The numbers are always lower case, but the proper names for the day and month go in upper case.

As with most wedding protocols, don’t be afraid to embrace the modern if you are opting for a less formal setup. It is certainly acceptable to lose the stuffy language for a backyard wedding, for example. Make sure to provide all the essential elements, however, such as the day of the week, date with the year and the exact time.

Sunday, December 29, 2013
at 7:30pm

Location, Location, Location
It doesn’t do much good to get the time and date right if you fail to tell guests the location. Where the marriage location can be tricky, as well, because the wording depends on many factors. The general rule is don’t make them guess. Out of town guests might not understand there is just one catholic church on the north side of town even though it is common knowledge to most locals.

St. Mary’s Church
1445 Main St.
OurTown, Texas

If the ceremony is at a private residence, you state the name of the homeowners as part of the location address.

at the residence of
Mr. and Mrs. John Smith
1145 Main St.
OurTown, Texas

In some cases, the address is redundant. For example, if you are getting married at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, there is really no need to list an address.

Metropolitan Museum of Art
New York, NY

Wedding Location vs. the Reception Location
If the ceremony and the reception are in two different locations, you list only the ceremony on the invitation. The reception location goes on a separate reception card.

Reception
immediately following the ceremony
The Country Club
442 Main St.
OurTown, Texas

The rules for wedding invitations are not hard and fast. The invite is a reflection of the hosts, couple and type of ceremony. You wouldn’t need formal language when having a barn wedding and barbecue celebration. You wouldn’t want to be too casual for a black tie affair, either — that would send the wrong message. The key is to format the language of the invitation in a way that tells your guests about the big day while still giving them the necessary details such as date, time and location.

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