Advice at a Glance – Wedding Invitation Wording – Part 1

Q. I know that etiquette frowns on adding the phrase “Black tie” to wedding invitations, but I’m afraid some of my guests won’t know the proper attire for my evening wedding. What can I do?
A. While it’s true that guests should use the time of day to determine your wedding’s formality, most people today aren’t aware of that guideline. If you feel it’s necessary to address the attire issue simply add “Black tie” in a footnote to the lower left-hand corner of your reception cards. If you are not using reception cards, the footnote may be discreetly added to the lower left corner, lower right corner or bottom center of your invitation. The same is true for “White tie,” which is even more formal and requires long, formal gowns for women an white tie formalwear for men.

Q. Is it ever proper to enclose bridal registry information with wedding invitations?
A. No. Including the specifics of your registry with the invitation would be nothing short of asking for a gift. It’s best to have your parents spread the word, or to include store information in a shower invitation.

Q. My fiancé wants to include his deceased father’s name on our invitation. Is that acceptable.
A. It’s a thoughtful gesture, but the invitational line should reflect the actual hosts of the wedding. Instead, remember him in other ways such as with a special memorial candle at the ceremony.

Q. My parents are legally separated, but not yet divorced. How should our invitations be worded?
Since they will not be divorced when your invitations are mailed, your parents may issue the invitation under the title of “Mr. and Mrs.” if that feels comfortable for both of them. If not, place their names on separate lines, with your mother’s name first. In that case, do not use the word “and” to join their names.

Q. I know that our invitations must include our formal names and no nickname, but what about initials?
Initials are never used on formal invitations. If you prefer not to include a middle name, simply omit it altogether.

Q. We’ve decided to make our reception an “adults only” event. Is there a polite way to say that on our invitations?
Never include phrases such as “no children” or “adults only” on a formal invitation. Instead, have your parents and other family members spread the word ahead of time that you don’t plan to include children in the celebration.

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