What you DON’T need on your wedding invitations
Your parents’ names
The ‘proper etiquette’, back in the days when your parents were expected to plan your wedding and foot the bill, was for them to send the invitations. They were the party hosts and would do everything on your behalf.
The ‘proper wording’ would be something like:
Lord and Lady Fancy Pants-Foot de Bill, together with Mr and Mrs Uncontributing Side, invite you to witness the joining of their children…
Which always has a vaguely creepy vibe to it. Like you’re being invited to a circus sideshow.
These days, it’s rare for a couple not to organise their own wedding – even if their parents contribute towards the cost – so, by all etiquette rights, they’re the hosts and can invite people themselves.
By common sense rights, they’re the ones people care about, are coming out to see, and whose names people will actually recognise on the invitations.
Kelsey and Madison invite you…
is perfectly fine for modern-day wedding invitations.
If your parents are contributing a lot towards your wedding day, you might want to give them a nod of recognition by saying something like:
Together with their families, Kelsey and Madison invite you…
But you don’t need to give their full names or list any fancy titles. And you don’t need to credit them on the invitations at all. (Private thank yous are always more meaningful when they’re private, after all.)
But, if you decide to, the guiding rule is easy: the person reading your invitation should know whose wedding they’re being invited to. If your parents’ names come first, it should be in small writing so everyone knows this isn’t their wedding.
A dress code
No one’s going to rock up to your wedding in paint-stained overalls and only one shoe. People know weddings mean Sunday Best and, without prompting, they’ll dress up smart.
You want your wedding invitation to answer your FAQs for you. It should tell the hundred-odd people you’re inviting everything they need to know, so you don’t lose your voice (or sanity).
While the odd person might ask you if they can wear a certain colour, so they don’t clash with your wedding party, or what your stance is on giant fascinators, most people are going to be clear on what’s appropriate wear for a wedding.
You only need to tell them your dress code if you’re going to be particular about it. Do you want everyone in monochrome so your pictures look fancy? Are you having a theme wedding and you want everyone in fancy dress? Are you having a festival wedding in the woods and need people to know wellies aren’t just okay, they’re a necessity?
If people need to know how to dress, tell ’em – but it’s something you can save for your website if you’re tight on space.
A gift registry
There’s no perfect way to tell people about your gift registry. Someone will get upset with your presumptuousness however you tell people about it, whether you do a cutesy poem or ask people not to give you gifts at all. But the one way that’s guaranteed to peeve people off is mentioning your gift registry in your wedding invitation.
It just comes across the wrong way, like you’re only inviting someone to get a present out of them – especially if it’s someone you don’t see very often. Double especially if you’re inviting them to the evening rather than the whole day.
Whatever you’re doing, if you’re registered somewhere or would prefer people contributed to your honeymoon fund, the best way to tell people about it is on your wedding website since it’s removed enough from the invitation that it doesn’t feel like a shakedown.
But it’s worth considering if you really need a gift registry at all; unless you’re part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (and if you are, please be my friend), your guests aren’t from the 1940s and don’t expect you to need homeware and good China as wedding gifts. You’re not going to get seven ugly gravy boats if you don’t make an explicit want list. Your friends are likely to gift you cash, restaurant vouchers, nice champagne, or just outright ask if there’s anything you’d like. (At which point you could direct them to the handy gift registry link you didn’t presumptuously include in your invitation.)
So, now that you know what not to write, let’s look at ways to word your wedding invitations.