Fine Stationary and Invitations
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Etiquette

Know the Traditions

About the etiquette of invitation wording

Our sample invitations are a good guide for traditional and alternate wording but below are some common situations that can occur on your stationery and our suggestions for them. We rely on the Crane's Wedding Blue Book edited by Steven L. Feinberg (Dalton, Massachusetts: Crane & Co., 2002) for guidance about etiquette.

Proper Wording when the Invitation is issued by the bride's parents:

Married Parents:                       Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Joseph Miller

Divorced Parents:                     (Mrs. or Ms.) Evelyn Denise Church              or              Evelyn Denise Church
                                                                  Mr. Thomas Joseph Miller                               Thomas Joseph Miller

"and" should not be used between the names as it implies that the names it joins are married

Bride's mother is a widow who has not remarried                   Mrs. Thomas Joseph Miller               or            Ms. Evelyn Denise Miller

A deceased parent cannot invite guests to an event. We suggest honoring the deceased in another location such as the wedding program.

Judge                     Judge and Mrs. Thomas Joseph Miller             or            Judge Evelyn Denise Miller
                                                                                                                    and Mr. Thomas Joseph Miller

"The Honorable" is a salutation by which other should refer to a Judge, but should not be bestowed upon oneself.

Clergy                 The Reverend and Mrs. Thomas Joseph Miller     or       The Reverend Evelyn Denise Miller
                                                                                                                           and Mr. Thomas Joseph Miller

Both are medical doctors                  Doctor Evelyn Denise Miller               or                                 The Doctors Miller
                                                                                                                                   and Doctor Thomas Joseph Miller

Proper wording when the couple is issuing the invitation            

                                                             Most Formal:                                                        Less Formal:
                                              
  The honour of your presence                       Together with their parents/families
                                              is requested at the marriage of                                Jennifer Louise White
                                                     Jennifer Louise White                                                       and
                                                                     to                                                            Zachary David Ellis
                                                        Zachary David Ellis                                request the honour of your presence
                                                                                                                                      at their marriage

The "honour of your presence" is the wording for inviting guests to a service in a house of worship. "Honor" is also appropriate but not as traditional. Alternately "at the Nuptial Mass uniting" may be used. In that situation line 5 would become "and" with an additional line after the Groom's name "in the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony." The "pleasure of your company" is the wording for a ceremony, civil or religious, that does not take place within a house of worship (e.g. at a house, hotel, garden, etc.)


A title for the bride traditionally is not used. However, if a title, such as Doctor or Military rank is used, then the bride's full name would be used. When a military rank is used, the branch of service is designated on the next line.

Traditionally, a groom always had a title, either Mr., Doctor, or a military rank in the case of higher-ranking officers. Today, however, Mr. is often omitted. While we recommend using titles, we also recognize that aesthetic considerations such as the size of the letters for the names of the bride and groom may dictate not including a title. Navy Commanders and higher use their ranks before their names as do Captain or higher in the other service branches. The service branch would then be on the next line. "Esquire" is not appropriately used on an invitation as it is not recognized as a proper social title in the United States. Similarly, "Doctor" only should be used when someone is a medial doctor or a minister with an advanced degree. An academic setting, not a formal invitation, is the proper setting for a PhD to use the title "Doctor."

On the date line, the first letter is properly capitalized but may be left lower case. "And" in the date is optional though commonly included. "At half after..." is the appropriate wording for a wedding beginning 30 minutes after the hour. "Half past" is not traditionally accepted language on formal invitations.

Evening begins at six o'clock. It is inappropriate to term a time prior to that "in the evening." However, "in the evening," "in the afternoon" or "in the morning" do not have to be used. They are commonly used to provide length to the line or to reinforce to guests the level of formality of the wedding.

No initials or nicknames should be used; write out names or omit them. The only accepted abbreviations are for Mr. and Mrs.; Dr., Jr. and Sr. may be used if necessary. To be the most formal, "junior" and "senior" are spelled out with a lower case first letter preceded by a comma. A comma is not required to precede II, III, IV, etc...

Attire reminders (e.g. Black tie) are properly included on an invitation only when there is no reception card.

"R.s.v.p." is considered the correct abbreviation as it is the abbreviation of a sentence.

Typically a response date of two to three weeks prior to the wedding is appropriate. This timing should be confirmed with your caterer or planner.

When the ceremony and the reception are held in the same city, the city is not repeated with the reception information on either the invitation or the reception card.