Say What?! How to Word your Wedding Invitations.

Marc Friedland is America’s foremost custom invitation designer.  His tailor-made invitations and products have invited the world’s most celebrated people to the world’s most celebrated events, including the Academy Awards®,  for which he created the first ever custom-designed envelopes and Oscar® winners’ announcement.Friedland’s clients such as Tom Hanks and Oprah Winfrey, have described his work as “inspirational." We at Men’s Vows call Marc and his work brilliant. But, most importantly, we call him a great friend.

Today, Marc shares his pointers on how to word your wedding invitation and how to make the most of your “invitation experience.” Because, as Marc says, “the invitation sets the tone for your entire event and becomes the lasting keepsake of the occasion.”


In my nearly 30 years of inviting nearly two million people to some the world’s most celebrated events, I’ve come across almost every conceivable permutation of how to word an invitation.

Your wedding is the most personal and individualized event you’ll ever experience. And, your invitations should instantly communicate, through word and design, the tone you want to set and the personality that you want to convey.

Regardless what the etiquette books say, the best etiquette for wording your invitation is with heartfelt honesty and authenticity, and that which makes your guests feel most honored.

Here are some examples of this:

If you two are footing the wedding bill, you are the one’s doing the inviting. Thus, I suggest the following:

Sam Brown and John Smith cordially invite you to join them as they exchange vows in a celebration of marriage

Keep it diplomatic and list your names in alphabetical order!

If one of your parents is hosting the wedding, consider this wording:

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Brown request the pleasure of your company at the marriage of their son Samuel Edward Brown to John Smith son of Mr. and Mrs. Harold Smith

You could also use honorifics (Mr., Dr., etc.) for the grooms in the above example:

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Brown request the honor of your presence* at the marriage of their son

Mr. Samuel Edward Brown to Mr. John Smith

son of Mr. and Mrs. Harold Smith

* This fancier phrasing, per the etiquette books, is reserved for when the ceremony is held in a place of worship!

If you are wanting to make this a family affair from the get-go, but your family affairs have gotten complicated because of divorce, threelationships (you mean this, right?) or other modern family goings on, one solution I suggest is:

Together with our families we invite you to join us in celebration of the momentous occasion of our wedding

September 30, 2015

The Boathouse MacArthur Park Los Angeles, California

Samuel Edward Brown and John Smith

And, if you’re among the lucky ones to already have children, this wording captures the essence of inclusivity perfectly:

Please join us for an afternoon in the garden as we celebrate the momentous occasion of our wedding in the company of our children, family and dearest friends

Saturday, the fifteenth of October Two Thousand Fifteen Eleven o’clock in the morning

Samuel Brown and John Smith

Wattles Mansion Hollywood, California


Now that the wording is out of the way, here are some other invitation pointers to consider:

1- Use a favorite quote or lyric to convey the tone of your celebration

2- A well-informed guest is a happy guest! Be sure to include something about attire. If you’re calling for “Black tie” then state it. I’m not a fan of “Black tie optional” or “Black tie preferred” as you’ll wind up with your guests wearing a hodge-podge of attire, which isn’t the best for your wedding album photos!

3- If you are registering, don’t include where on the actual invitation. Instead, include a small insert, or simply let your guests know verbally. If you opt to forego gifts, simply state, “No gifts please” or “Your presence is our present”.

4- Include an RSVP card for guests to let you know if you’ll be attending. I am not a big fan of including your email on the invitation as the means for people to RSVP.

5- A well-designed invitation deserves a well-dressed envelope. Even the simplest of invitations will look luxurious when addressed with hand-rendered calligraphy.

6- When sending an invite to same-sex couples, each person’s name goes on its own line and in alphabetical order. If you are inviting an un-partnered friend, it’s always considerate to include “and guest”.

7- To make the envelope even more individualized and personal, you can always customize the stamp, too, at stamps.com!

8- Any and all help you'd like in thinking about your wedding invitation, please reach out to us at www.marcfriedlandinc.com.

Saying “we’re getting married” has never had so many options, but no matter the choices all you have to do is look to yourselves as the guide for getting from “I will!” to “I do!”

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