Tips for Perfectly Phrasing Any Wedding Invitation


You’ve spent months deciding on the perfect venue, date, and colors for your wedding, and now the time has come to tackle the invitations. Indeed, these written overtures set the tone for your big day and let your guests know what’s in store. 

Generally, 2021 wedding invites are rather short and to the point, which is why the wording is of utmost importance. In other words, you have to say a lot in few words and little space. This can be tricky, depending on the specifics of your wedding. 

For those brides-to-be experiencing writer’s block, here are four examples demonstrating perfect diction for wedding invitations for different scenarios.

Wedding Reception Only

If you plan to hold a private ceremony and then host a guest-filled reception, you need to make that abundantly clear in your wedding invitations. After listing the host, names of the couple, and a request for guest attendance, include the words “reception event” instead of “ceremony.” 

Or, instead of inviting guests to “witness your marriage,” invite them to “a reception to celebrate” your marriage. The diction implies that by the time guests arrive, you will already be married. The invitation should then go on to state the date, time, and location, whether or not gifts are expected, and a link to the online registry.

Dinner Not Included

If you and your partner have decided to skip the big, expensive sit-down dinner, it’s important to mention this in the invitation. After including the host, names, date, and venue, rather than stating no food will be provided, use the phrasing “hors d’oeuvres-only reception” or “Come share cocktails and hors d’oeuvres after the ceremony.” This will signify to guests that the reception will likely be brief and that eating ahead of time is a good idea.

Cash Bar Reception

Since many weddings include an open bar, if you’ve instead opted not to provide free drinks, you should definitely let guests know drinks will still be slung — but at a cost — in the invitations. After providing any dress code restrictions, offer the details of the reception. The words “cash bar” indicates your guests should bring some cash and be ready to spend and tip.

Virtual Ceremony

The pandemic has affected all aspects of modern life — and weddings are no exception. However, one trend that has emerged in the wake of COVID-19 is the virtual wedding or live online reception. If you choose to hold your wedding virtually, know that your invitations need to state something to the effect of, “We’re going virtual” or “Come witness our wedding day online.” Where you would normally include the location, clarify that you and your fiancé will be at a specified location, while guests will be tuning in live from their computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Instructions for Tying the Knot

Ultimately, your wedding invitations should serve as an instruction manual and guide for your guests. Because no two weddings are the same, each invitation should be different and worded carefully. The most important factor is that it represents you and the love you share with your fiancé. 

Whether you opt for a reception-only event, decide to skip the sit-down dinner or buffet, ask guests to buy their drinks, or plan to tie the knot via Zoom, the wording on your wedding invitations will help convey those big day plans to each of your invited guests.

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market. Click to learn more about me

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