English Wedding’s Essential Guide to non-boring wedding invitation wordings
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
- Personality should come first: make sure your invites reflect YOU
- The information HAS to be there: your names, the date, the venue go on the invite itself
- You can put anything you like on additional inserts – accommodation, gift info, rsvp instructions can all go on separate cards
- Doorstep appeal matters. Don’t forget to make your envelopes exciting!
- 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
CAKE, BOOZE & DANCING
and the Marriage of
Sarah Adams & Lee Davies
Margam Orangery, Margam Park
Neath, Port Talbot, Wales SA13 2TJ
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!
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!
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
Twenty Twenty One
The Manor Barn
Ceremony at 3pm
4. ‘Materialize’ at our wedding…!
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
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
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
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
Kick off: 13:30pm
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,
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.
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
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
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
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?”
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
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
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
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?
- 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
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