You’ve found the one, the perfect partner to spend the rest of your life with, and now you’re ready to take the next step – marriage!
But before you start planning the big day, there are a few important details to consider, such as the wedding invitations. Specifically, the wording. And whose name goes first on the wedding invitations.
It may seem like a small detail, but the order of names can actually hold a deeper meaning, so it’s important to get it right.
Traditional vs Modern Invitation Etiquette
In traditional wedding etiquette, the bride’s name goes first followed by the groom’s name. This is because traditionally it is the bride’s parents who are hosting (and financing) the wedding and it is they who are inviting the guests to attend.
The first line, or host line, of the wedding invitation will generally read something like:
Mr. and Mrs. John Smith request the honour of your presence …..
This will be followed by the brides’s name, usually just the first name and middle names without the surname, and the groom’s full name including his last name. This is because the bride’s family name is inferred from her parent’s having just been mentioned.
Mr. and Mrs. John Smith cordially invite you to the marriage of their daughter, [Bride’s name], to [Groom’s name] …..
This is a formal approach, which some consider to be unnecessarily old-fashioned traditions, whilst others still like to use today.
Couples today have more freedom to follow their own preferences and may also have less traditional elements to accommodate, such as financing the wedding entirely themselves, or divorced, re-married and step parents hosting the greater share of the expenses for the wedding.
If you and your partner are hosting the wedding together with both parents you can use collaborative wording, for example:
Together with their families [Bride’s Name] and [Groom’s Name] request the pleasure of your company…
Even in this modern variation, it is usually the bride’s name which goes first, partly as a hangover from previous traditions and partly because it is still considered appropriate sometimes to let the lady go first.
However it is not a definite rule, and if the wedding is being hosted by the couple themselves and neither the bride’s nor the groom’s parents are mentioned on the invitation, it is not uncommon to see the groom’s name first, indicating perhaps that he is the head of the family or main financier of the wedding inviting the guests.
Whichever variation you choose, it’s important to fully discuss your ideas with everyone to avoid disagreements or chances of miscommunication, to make sure everyone feels valued and included in one of the biggest days for the couple, as well as their families.
The beauty of same-sex weddings is that there are no traditions to be bound by and you can more easily make your own rules. So if a traditional style fits you, then use it, if you prefer a more casual approach, that’s fine too.
But deciding whose name goes first on the wedding invitations for a same-sex couple may be governed by some of the same considerations above. For example, if one family is hosting and financing the bulk of the wedding, they may expect their child to be named first.
Other options include listing in alphabetical order, by age, or simply by how the couple is known because it rolls off the tongue best.
Whether you decide to follow traditional or modern approaches, the most important thing at the end of the day is to ensure your invitation reflects your own style and relationship.
Divorced & Remarried Parents
A tricky situation sometimes can be when parents are divorced, possibly re-married, possibly not on the best of terms. Firstly, it’s important to be sensitive to everyone’s feelings and to find a way to honour both sets of parents equally.
When it comes to name order, there are a few different options. One possibility is to list the parents’ names alphabetically, with no distinction made between who is the bride or groom’s family.
Another option is to list the mothers’ names first, followed by the fathers’ names on the next line. Another option is to list the biological parents first, followed by their respective partners.
Ultimately, it’s up to the couple to decide what works best for their own personal preference and family dynamics, making sure that everyone feels included and respected on the special occasion.
Wedding Invitation Wording Examples
- The honour of your presence is requested at the wedding of…
- …. request the pleasure of [guest names] at the wedding…
- Please join us for the wedding of…
- Tony and Amanda invite you to celebrate their wedding….
- …… would love the pleasure of your company in celebrating…
- …. invite you to celebrate with them
Other Things to Include in Wedding Invitations
You’ll of course want to make sure your guests know exactly when and where the wedding ceremony and celebrations will be taking place. The date, time, and location need to be included. Be sure to also include the name and address of the venue, as well as instructions on how to get there.
The Dress Code
Get your guests excited for your big day by setting the tone with a clear and concise dress code on your wedding invitations. It will communicate the level of formality your guests should expect and prevents any awkwardness on the day.
- Black Tie: Formal attire, typically consisting of tuxedos for men and smart dresses or gowns for women
- Semi-formal: Smart and dressy, with suit and ties for men and cocktail or smart dresses for women
- Casual: relaxed with shirts or polo shirts for men and summer dresses or separates for women
The RSVP cards serve as an elegant and practical tool for smoothly coordinating the attendance of your guests. If you prefer not to have a physical card, you may wish to direct people to RSVP by email, or on your wedding website. Additionally, you’ll want to consider including the option for guests to indicate their meal preferences, dietary restrictions or any other special requirements they may have.
Including the names of your entourage on the wedding invitation is a nice personal touch. List those who will be supporting you in alphabetical order, or in two columns one for the bride’s attendants and one for the groom’s.
Wedding Stationery & Design
Your invitation cards set the tone for your wedding day and gives guests a glimpse into the style and theme of your celebration. The invitation design is a matter of personal choice and there’s no right or wrong, whether you prefer a more rustic feel with hand drawn elements or a highly polished, luxury feel. Opt for high-quality paper or cardstock that complements your wedding theme and colours. Embellishments such as ribbons, embossing, or foil accents can add a touch of elegance and individuality. Some great inspiration ideas can be found on Pinterest and Etsy.
1. How far in advance should we send out wedding invitations?
It is generally recommended to send out wedding invitations 3 to 6 months before the wedding date to give guests ample time to RSVP and make arrangements.
2. Should we include the guests’ names on the invitations?
There are no set rules nowadays. Including the guests’ names adds a personal touch and makes it more special but it is also more time consuming and formal.
3. Is it okay to use ready-made, not personalised, wedding invitations to keep costs down?
Absolutely. Whatever you’re happy with is the right choice. And there are so many great ready-made options available!
So, Whose Name Goes First on Wedding Invitations?
At this milestone moment, your wedding invitation announces your personal style and sets the tone for your special day. When it comes to determining whose name goes first on wedding invitations, there are no hard and fast rules. It ultimately depends on your preferences, the hosts, and the level of formality you want to convey.
Most importantly remember, the pleasure of your company is what truly matters, and your wedding invitation is just the beginning of the journey towards your big day.