formal wedding invitation wording: Olivia and Landon wedding invitation

Finding the perfect words for your wedding invitation is almost an art form itself. Even more so if you want a traditional, formal invite. 

To help you find the right words, we’ve put together this guide on formal wedding invitation wording. Below, you’ll find our best advice on structure, plus some wording examples and formal wedding invitation designs we love. 

How to Structure Your Formal Wedding Invitation Wording

Once you know the structure of a formal wedding invitation, it’s easy to fill in the details. Here’s your guide to formal invitation etiquette with what you need to include and examples to inspire your own wording. You can also use our wedding invitation wording tool to help you find the exact words and include all the information your guests will need about your wedding day.

Who’s Hosting

First of all, formal wedding invitations should begin with a line or two on who your lovely hosts are. The hosts are typically the people paying for the wedding. Traditionally, this was the bride’s parents. These days, many couples pay for their own weddings or receive contributions from both families to help make their special day a reality. This means the “host line” looks very different depending on who is hosting the wedding. 

Your host line may feature the parents’ names, the couple’s names, or an unnamed greeting. When multiple people are hosting, couples should feature on separate lines. 

Here are some examples: 

One Set of Parents Hosting

Mr. and Mrs. Simon Jones 

Mr. and Mrs. Simon and Margaret Jones

Mr. Simon Jones and Ms. Margaret Hathway

Simon and Margaret Jones 

Two Sets of Parents Hosting

Mr. and Mrs. Peter Grand 


Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Lawrence 

Mr. and Mrs. Peter and Elizabeth Grand 


Mr. and Mrs. Andrew and Felicity Lawrence

Peter and Elizabeth Grand 

together with 

Andrew and Felicity Lawrence 

Divorced or Separated Parents Hosting

Mr. Joseph Thomas
Ms. Abigail Way

Mr. Joseph and Gail Thomas
Ms. Abigail Way

Couple and Their Families Hosting

Together with their families

Together with their parents

Together as one

As you can see, there are multiple ways to address the start of your formal wedding invitation wording. It’s all about choosing the most appropriate option based on who is paying for and hosting your wedding ceremony and reception. 

A Request to Attend

After your host line, the next line features a request to attend. This is where you let your guests know exactly what they’re being invited to — your wedding! This section is made up of a request line followed by an action line, but as they’re part of one phrase we’ve grouped them together. 

Formal Request Options

These wording ideas fit in perfectly with your formal wedding invitation wording. 

request the pleasure of your company

request the honor of your attendance

cordially invite you to join them

invite you to the wedding

invite you to join them in celebration

Some couples like to use the British spelling of “honour” to denote that it’s a religious ceremony, but you can go with whichever option feels most comfortable to you. 

Less Formal Wording Options

Looking for something a little more relaxed for this part of your wedding invitation wording? Here are some ideas. 

would love the honor of your presence

happily invite you to join them

joyfully wish you to join their celebration

would love you to join them

invite you to share this moment of joy

Action Line Ideas

After your request line comes the action line. This is where you confirm the type of celebration your guests are being invited to. Here are some ideas on how to word this. 

as they say “I do”

at the marriage of their children

at the marriage of their daughter or son

as they tie the knot in beautiful surroundings 

to celebrate their union

at their wedding

Your request line and action lines flow on directly from your host line, so read them together to ensure they match up perfectly and there are no awkward combinations. Keep the formality of your invitation in mind too — if your request line is too casual it won’t match the rest of your formal wedding invitation wording. 

The Couple’s Names

formal wedding invitation wording: The Couple's Name

Design: Snow + Ivy

Next up, you’ll want to add the couple’s names. There are a few different ways you can do this, and the option you choose depends on how traditional or formal you’d like your wedding invitation to be.

For a couple where the partners have different genders, the bride’s name traditionally goes before the groom’s name. The couple’s full names are often used, including middle names, although you may leave out the last name if the parents are listed in the host line above. 

For example: 

Sarah Amanda Moore and George Henry Smith

If one set of parents isn’t listed in the host line, you may want to include a reference to them beneath their son or daughter’s name. 

For example:

Sarah Amanda Moore


George Henry Smith

Son of Mr. and Mrs. Albert Smith

For same-sex couples or a less formal option, feature the couple’s names in whichever order feels most comfortable. This may be alphabetical order or the order that makes the most sense with your chosen design. Stick with full names and titles for a more formal option, or go more informal with just first names — like “James and Simon.”

The Date and Time

It’s tempting to think that spelling out the date and time on your wedding invitation is easy. After all, 4:30 p.m. on 21st July makes sense. If you’re going for a more formal wedding invitation wording though, you’ll want to stick with a more traditional format. 

The traditional way to give a date and time for a wedding invitation is by spelling everything out in full. For example, your wedding ceremony at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 18th, 2022 would be written out as: 

Saturday, the 18th of June, two thousand twenty-two, at half-past five o’clock 

Some couples may choose to swap out the “o’clock” for a note about the time of day, like “four in the afternoon.” 

It’s less traditional to use a.m. or p.m, or to shorten aspects of the date, but this might make sense if your invitation design is more modern or features less space. In cases like this you could find a middle ground, like: 

Saturday 18th June 2022 at five in the evening

The Location

After the date and time, a formal wedding invitation will feature the wedding location. This is often kept short and sweet with the full street address being left off. If it’s essential to include the full street address, you can always feature it in a separate note card or within the details panel of your digital invitation

Traditionally, you’ll list the venue name or location, followed by the city and state. In formal invitations, the state is spelled out in full, rather than using the abbreviation. There’s no need to feature the zip code. 

Reception Details

Beneath the location details for your big day, include a line or two about the reception so your guests know what to expect.

On a traditional, formal wedding invitation this will be a simple line that confirms the existence of a reception. Here are a couple of examples:

Reception to follow

Reception immediately afterward

If your reception follows at a time not immediately after the ceremony, it helps to include that information for guests. For example:

Reception to follow at six o’clock

Sometimes you’ll want to share more details — particularly if you’re opting for a non-traditional wedding meal or reception. A great way to do this is to use a separate insert or reception card or to add the info to the details panel on your online invitation. Here you can confirm whether it is “dinner and dancing” or “cake and a toast.”

If you wanted to break from your formal wedding invitation wording slightly, here are some more informal ways to share details about your reception: 

Drinks and merriment to follow

Join us for an evening of cocktails and celebrations 

Merriment to ensue

Dinner and dessert following the ceremony

In most cases, for a formal invitation, a short and simple “reception to follow” is an easy way to go. 

Other Details

With all the basics covered, most of your formal wedding invitation wording is complete. That said, there are some occasions where you’ll want to share extra details with your guests. 

Dress Code

Your guests may be able to infer the dress code from the formality of both your invitation wording and the invite design. Still, you may wish to confirm the dress code so there’s no confusion. 

Typically, you’d list this information beneath the reception details. Stick with a well-known dress code to keep things simple — like black tie or cocktail. That way, guests can easily find the perfect outfit to match. 

Wedding Website and RSVP

While it’s not usually printed on your formal wedding invitation, your guests need to know how to RSVP and where to find more information about your wedding day. A great place to keep this information is on a separate response card in the options provided with your online invitations. 

If you’re using Greenvelope for your wedding invitations, your guests can easily click through and RSVP to your ceremony without the need for a physical RSVP card. They can also navigate to your wedding website if you’ve listed it in your handy details panel. 

Formal Wedding Invitation Wording Examples 

Knowing how the structure of a formal wedding invitation works helps, but sometimes a visual guide is all you need to help pull the pieces together. Here’s a selection of formal wedding invitations with the wording beneath to inspire your own creations. 

Clean and Elegant Invitation

formal wedding invitation wording: Clean and Elegant Invitation

Design: WonderWed


Callaghan and Nancy Reynolds

together with Abraham and Colleen Myers

joyfully request the pleasure of your company

at the marriage of their children






Saturday the nineteenth of August

two thousand seventeen

at half-past seven in the evening


Little London Plane

Seattle, Washington

Reception to follow

Shimmering Confetti Invitation

formal wedding invitation wording: Shimmering Confetti Invitation

Design: Stacey Meacham Design llc


Mr. and Mrs. Johnathon Walker

request the honor of your presence

at the wedding of their daughter








Robert Shaw


Saturday, December thirteenth

two thousand nineteen

two o’clock in the afternoon


St Patrick’s Cathedral

Boston, MA


reception to follow

Lasting Love Invitation

Lasting Love Invitation

Design: Claudia Owen


Together with their families


James Stewart & William Fitzpatrick


request your presence at the celebration of their marriage


at half-past five in the evening

August twenty-first two thousand twenty-one


Montage Beverly Hills

Beverly Hills, CA


reception to follow

Perennial Crest Invitation

Perennial Crest Invitation

Design: Signature Greenvelope


Together with their families


Vivienne Rose Williamson


Heath Evan Manning


joyfully request your presence

at the celebration of their marriage


Saturday, the twenty-first of August

two thousand nineteen

four o’clock in the afternoon


Peju Province Winery

Rutherford, California

Trailing Blooms Invitation

Trailing Blooms Invitation

Design: Signature Greenvelope


with tremendous joy

Hannah and Darryl Elstrom

invite you to the wedding of


Stephanie May


Timothy James


Saturday, October twentieth 

two thousand twenty

six o’clock in the evening


Barnsley House

Cotswolds, England

reception to follow

Perfect Your Formal Wedding Invitation Wording

If you’re going for a formal, traditional look, getting the wording right feels so important. Luckily, with the right structure and some ideas to inspire you, it’s easy to find the perfect words to invite loved ones to celebrate your special day with you.

Start out with a timeless host line that gives your families a thankful nod and a sweet request line that talks about how joyful your wedding will be. Finish your formal wedding invite with your location details and a relaxed line about your reception to get guests ready to RSVP.