English Wedding’s Essential Guide to non-boring wedding invitation wordings

Published by Claire Gould on

image credit Tlg Design wedding stationery nottingham

If you don’t do etiquette in your daily life, there’s really no need to suddenly start doing it in your wedding invitations. Unless you’re the Queen. Have you ever “requested the pleasure of the company of” any of your friends before? No! Because they’d look at you all weird. Now isn’t the time to start… there’s a billion better ways to word your wedding invites!

Gracefully asking your guests to join you on your wedding day is the goal. Your invitations should make your guests smile (not yawn; not skim read to the best bits) and have them looking forward to your big day. Beautiful design goes a long way – and throwing in some personal touches makes any wedding invite unique and special.

Today we’re sifting through a few of my favourite modern wedding invitation wordings with some of the UK’s best wedding stationery designers. The photos and examples are BEAUTIFUL!

Before we start… can we step away from the 1990s?

We all want our weddings to be unique: we look for new and exciting florals, dress details, charming venues and stunning backdrops. It’s really quite odd that wedding invite wordings are stuck in the 1990s with “request the pleasure of your company”!

It’s not a question of wanting your wedding invitations to be formal – a formal invitation can still have a modern wording, as you’ll see in our examples below. For the sake of balance, if you’re into the more formal stuff you can check out our 2018 ‘ultimate guide to wedding invitation wording’ here.

Wedding invitations: the essentials

  1. Personality should come first: make sure your invites reflect YOU
  2. The information HAS to be there: your names, the date, the venue go on the invite itself
  3. You can put anything you like on additional inserts – accommodation, gift info, rsvp instructions can all go on separate cards
  4. Doorstep appeal matters. Don’t forget to make your envelopes exciting!
  5. Send your invites out in time. Nowadays that can be 6 months – 3 months before your wedding.

Don’t let anyone tell you there’s a right and wrong when it comes to wording your invitations. At the end of the day, they’re a bit of card asking people to come to your wedding. Bits of card don’t have rules, and if you want to send your friends and relatives a bit of card you can design it HOWEVER you like.

I’ve designed my fair share of wedding stationery over the last 20 years and it’s taught me a few things: we’re all different, and we all want our invitations to be unique. There are SO many choices out there it can take months to find the ‘perfect’ design… so here are my personal tips for finding your ideal invitations:

My top wedding invitation tips

  • Fall in love with a designer’s style, and work with them to create your unique invites
  • Don’t be shy with colour, illustration or crazy font choices. Impact is everything
  • Don’t believe the ‘average’ amount the magazines say we spend on stationery. (People make their own and massively underestimate their spend)
  • Weigh up the cost (in money AND time) if you’re planning to make your own invites. It’s not as easy as you’d think
  • If you’re on a budget, a wedding website will save you. Put all the deets on there, and just make sure everyone sees it!

Invitation wordings – why such a big deal?

If you’ve found this article, you’re probably realising there’s a LOT of information out there – and perhaps an expectation to make sure your wedding invitation wordings are perfect. But honestly, there’s no such thing. It used to be important to word invitations formally (NEWSFLASH: this was back in the days where you’d be sacked if you didn’t put Yours Sincerely on business correspondence) – but WE’VE MOVED ON!

I’ll give you one example why a standard invitation wording doesn’t work for everyone: parents. Some of us have a mum and a dad. Some of us have two mums, or two dads. Or just a dad. Or just a mum. Or our grandma has looked after us our whole lives. Or our mum got married again, and our dad has a new partner. Or we don’t really get along with our parents and we’re hosting the wedding ourselves. Or… any one of a thousand reasons why we don’t want our wedding invitation wording to start with “Mr & Mrs Smith request the honour of your presence at the marriage of their daughter blah blah blah.”

Reading half the guides on the internet, you’d be forgiven for thinking you need to dig deeper, and find the “correct” information on how to word your invitations differently, for example if you’re a gay couple with divorced parents who aren’t hosting exactly but who are making a contribution to the wedding.

Stop right there.

Let’s go back to you. Let’s keep wedding invitation wordings real. An invitation sent from the heart will mean more to your guests than some formal thing.

Perhaps – and this is what I believe – how your invites are worded is less important than how fabulous they look. I know when I receive an invite through the post it’s the illustration and design I love. The wording – it just has to be personal, and I love it if it makes me smile.

On that note… shall we have a look at some stunning examples of invite wordings and design?

Fifteen of our favourite wedding invite wordings for 2021


1. Focus on the FUN!

Switching the focus from formality onto the main events of CAKE, BOOZE and DANCING, this invite by Moments Stationery & Gifts gets us straight to the point. Modern wedding invitations can be beautiful without being boring. The design is sublime; these beauties will have your guests smiling as soon as they open the envelope.

Saturday 25th July 2020 2pm


and the Marriage of

Sarah Adams & Lee Davies

Margam Orangery, Margam Park

Neath, Port Talbot, Wales SA13 2TJ


Wedding invitation designed by Moments Stationery & Gifts



2. Keep it sweet & simple

This elegant modern wedding stationery by Hollie Bruce Designs is simply worded, avoiding the ‘request the pleasure of’ line, with a simple date and time. It’s actually a Save the Date, with an information card for anyone needing to book accommodation etc. in advance – but I think it works beautifully as an invitation in itself. The carefully chosen fonts, border and romantic floral illustration make this invite as formal as it needs to be, without being stuffy. I think it’s beautiful, and has everything guests need to know.

Hollie + Nathan

Are getting hitched!

Saturday 16.10.2021

Comrie Croft | Crieff | Perthshire | PH7 4JZ

– this is a Save the Date, with information on a full wedding weekend attached. I’d happily have this as a full invitation though, I love how simple the wording is!

wedding stationery by Hollie Bruce Designs

wedding stationery by Hollie Bruce Designs

wedding stationery by Hollie Bruce Designs

wedding stationery by Hollie Bruce Designs

3. Straight to the point – just be YOU!

This cut corner wedding invitation by Ink & Paper Design has the shortest wording in our collection. Let’s face it – a fancy card with a couple’s name on it comes in the post: you KNOW it’s a wedding invitation. There’s no need for the formalities of requesting the pleasure of anyone’s company. It’s all here: names, date, venue and time. The colours and modern styling make this a beautifully thought out invitation design, and the wording is all it needs to be – from a graphic design point of view, the simpler the better… and this nails it!

Cally + Jude

Seventeenth July

Twenty Twenty One

The Manor Barn


Ceremony at 3pm

Ink and Paper bespoke letterpress and calligraphy

Modern wedding invitations by Ink & Paper Design (image credit Ami Robertson)

4. ‘Materialize’ at our wedding…!

(Click here for more halloween wedding inspiration!)

I do love a more playful wedding invitation, and our lovely friend Dorothy at 7 Fireflies embraced a really creative wording with this invite featured in our halloween blog post. I love the spidery calligraphy writing and cobweb illustrations, but it’s the wording which will make guests smile. And the opening line… we’re not requesting the pleasure of anyone’s company, but “your spirit is requested” …. ahhh, that’s fabulous!!

your spirit is requested

to materialize at

A wicked affair

Call upon us on the 15th hour

31st October 2019

all hallows eve

to celebrate the union of

Evie & Felix

Horsley Hale Farm

Littleport, Ely

Sustainable and beautiful halloween wedding style, image credit Thyme Lane Photography (1)

Alternative wedding invitation by Dorothy at 7 Fireflies // Photographer credit Thyme Lane Photography

5. Formal wording for 21st century invitations!

PS Weddings beautifully combine modern and more traditional elements in this perfectly designed wedding invitation. The wording includes the couple’s families – a nod to tradition if they’re contributing towards the wedding – but keeps the rest of the wording to a minimum. It’s lovely and simple, and perfect for a modern wedding.

Together with their families

Jessica and David

Invite you to their wedding day

14 August 2021 at 2pm

Hodsock Priory, Blyth, Worksop

Nottinghamshire S81 0TY

Luxe Palm suite wedding invitation by PS Weddings

Luxe Palm suite wedding invitation by PS Weddings


6. Modern & elegant invitation wording

Another more formal wedding invitation wording, with a strong focus on the couple’s names. Choose a stunning font and you’re halfway there! Instantly the couple’s names leap out from this invite by Alex & Us Design. The rest of the information is clear as crystal and beautifully presented. Win!

With great pleasure

Leo & Ezra

Invite you to join them in

celebration of their marriage on the

26.04.22 | 13.30

High House, Essex

Dinner and dancing to follow

Wedding invitation by Alex and Us Design

Wedding invitation by Alex and Us Design

7. Festival wedding invitation wording

Hit your guests with your theme straight away with this alternative wedding invitation style from Wedfest. These guys are famous for their festival style wedding invitations – and let’s face it, your wedding is likely to be the only festival-like event anyone will go to this summer – and I loved this alternative in the style of a rugby ticket! Everything from the font and colour choices, to the wording and layout of the date and RSVP just hammers home the theme – it’s fun, different and totally unstuffy!

2 Nations Wedding

The 2 nations matrimonial championship

England lo V es Ireland

Janice Turner Michael Murphy

Sat 14-Nov-2015

Kick off: 13:30pm

Rugby wedding invitations by Wedfest

Rugby wedding invitations by Wedfest

8. Just you and a date and time!

Here’s an example of a wedding invitation which simply wows with its design! Wordings are what they need to be, and nothing more – supplementary inserts have the necessary information your guests will need. I just adore the colours of this set by With Bells On and I had to include it here!

Laurie Ellis Flougherty

and Emerson Lea Range

1 o’clock in the afternoon on

Saturday 30 January 2021

Camp and Furnace,

Liverpool, England

With Bells On wedding stationery

With Bells On wedding stationery

9. Classic, but not overly formal

This super classy invitation by Silk and Ink caught my eye. The illustration is as elegant as the font choice and wording – it’s exquisite. This is one of the most formal-looking invites on our list, but still has a friendlier “would be delighted if you could join them: rather than the stiffer “request your pleasure…” – it’s a beautiful choice. 

Rachael Parker


Jackson Hewitt

would be delighted if you could join them to celebrate their marriage

Saturday 28th August 2021

2 o’clock in the afternoon

Manor Mews, Tattersett, Kings Lynn

reception to follow


Silk and Ink wedding stationery

Silk and Ink wedding stationery

Silk and Ink wedding stationery

Silk and Ink wedding stationery

Silk and Ink wedding stationery

Silk and Ink wedding stationery

10. Romantic colours, modern style, beautiful lettering

This pretty modern invite by Lou Paper focuses on the wording, with stunning calligraphy and a classy colour palette. Incorporating calligraphy into a wedding invitation design is as traditional as it gets… but use a modern style and a talented designer like Lou, and your invitations will be totally 21st century. The personal touch is everything here – Lou comes very highly recommended!

Olivia & Jude

are tying the knot

please join us on

Saturday 11th June 2022

At one o’clock

Stanlake Park, Berkshire

Dinner & dancing to follow

Wedding stationery by Lou Paper

Wedding stationery by Lou Paper

11. Curves are the new classy

This creative and colourful suite by Ink & Paper is all about the design: soft circles and hand calligraphy envelopes are so on trend right now – and the colours are summery and fun! The wording is playful – I do love ‘tying the knot’ and the typeface is everything!

We’re tying the knot

Ghish & Jason

Please join us as we celebrate our marriage

Saturday 18th July 2021

The Art Pavilion, Mile End, London

Ceremony at 3pm

12. Are you in?

This twist on wedding invitation wordings is everything. Asking a different question in a friendly voice – as you’d speak it – is the future. The RSVP has my heart, and the invitation suite works wonderfully as a complete set. I absolutely love this invitation by Clare Gray Designs – the styling is perfect, the colour palette is modern and inclusive (pink’s fine; but not every wedding has a girl or a pink-loving person involved, right?) 

Niamh + Benjamin

invite you to celebrate

their wedding

Saturday 2nd May 2020 || 4pm

St John the Baptist Church, Royston

Dinner and dancing to follow

Burloes Hall, Royston, SG8 9NE


… with an RSVP card headed “Are you in?”

Wedding stationery by Clare Gray Designs

Wedding stationery by Clare Gray Designs

13. Location, location, location…

I adore how this invitation captures the romance of the wedding location. TLG Design evoke olive groves and sunny days with their elegant invite in a beautifully muted colour palette. The little details are everything: the fresh font turned on its side, the numbers given pride of place, and that fabulous olive branch sketch… Oh, and the last words of the invitation capture the spirit of their wedding – this is one that makes me smile just to read the words!

James & Amelia

Would love your presence

As they say “I do” by the Mediterranean sea

Two o’clock 15 07 22

Amanzo, Porto Heli, Greece,

Dine surrounded by the olive trees, dance and celebrate underneath the stars

Destination wedding invitation wording, with Tlg Design

Destination wedding invitation suite by Tlg Design

14. Simple & pretty is all you need

This cute invite from Wedding Invitations by Clare does all it needs to, with no fuss and a sweet, simple wording. The floral illustration adds romance, the sheer layering gives a modern twist – and the pearls and pink ribbon confirm this invite’s as classy as anything!

Anna and David

Would love you to join them

to celebrate their marriage

Saturday July 22nd 2022 At 1.30pm

Followed by dinner and dancing

wedding invitations by Clare

Pink hydrangea wedding invitation – wedding invitations by Clare

15. It’s a family affair…

Often modern invitations don’t address who’s hosting the wedding, but this colourful number by Bee Davies Illustration has it all in hand. The structure of the wording is traditional, but the wording’s unstuffy and sounds very 2021! The footnote places food & dancing firmly in the last-but-not-least category – we love this one!

The Bagshawe + Ellwood families

invite you to celebrate the

marriage of

Emily & Alex

Beech Grange Wareham

Saturday 29th August 2020

Ceremony at 12:30pm

Followed by a reception

(with lots of food + dancing)

A final checklist: what have you forgotten to include on your wedding invitations?

The essentials:

  • Your names
  • The date
  • Ceremony venue
  • Ceremony time
  • Reception venue (if different)

The ‘usually includes’:

  • The hosts (because it’s nice to include whoever’s paying, if it’s not you)
  • The day of the week (people still assume Saturday… go figure)
  • ‘Carriages at…’ (if you’d like folks to leave before 2pm)
  • RSVP request
  • RSVP by date (you’ll still be rounding up stragglers!)
  • Dietary requirements (how to inform you of any allergies, gluten-free or veggie / vegan diets)
The little extras:
  • Your wedding website address
  • Contact info for RSVPs
  • Dress code (if applicable)
And on separate inserts:
  • Travel info: taxis, train stations, any tricky directions, airports
  • Accommodation info: at the venue / nearby recommendations
  • Clarity on children being invited (or not)
  • Gift information
  • Any extra plans for the day before / after

Further reading:

This article on Brides.com has 21 wedding invitation wording examples (a little on the formal side, but you can always adapt them!)

Hitched.co.uk has specific wording examples for different scenarios (e.g. your children hosting the wedding, adults-only weddings or second marriages)

Clare Gray gives some good examples of wordings for formal and more modern invitations here

Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at www.byMoonandTide.com. Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.


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