Formal vs. casual: how to set the proper tone for your wedding invitation

Most couples put all of their attention into a wedding invitation’s design, but the wording is just as important. Wording sets the tone and expectations for the event and even suggests the proper attire to wear. While all weddings are usually fancier than your typical party, there is a difference between hosting a casual and formal event. Before you start putting your wedding invitations together, consider how formal your wedding will be and then follow the general guidelines shared below.


If you’re throwing a traditional, formal wedding, then there are specific wording rules you will want to follow including:

  • You should announce the host parents using their proper, full names and be sure to include titles such as “Mr.” or “Mrs.”
  • Dates, times and places should be written out, and you will want to specify whether the wedding is a morning, afternoon or evening event.
  • When writing times, use “half-after” or “o’clock.”
  • If the wedding is going to take place in a church or other house of worship, invite guests with the phrase “request the honor of your presence.” Those who are getting married in a secular venue should use “request the pleasure of your company” instead.


A casual wedding invitation is more relaxed and allows you to be more flexible on wording rules. In fact, it is actually recommended that you break certain formal rules. If creating a casual wedding invitation, feel free to:

  • Use a fun and more playful tone
  • Drop formal titles with names
  • Use abbreviations (especially when it works with the invitation’s design)

Just keep in mind that while a casual wedding invitation can be more fun, it is still important to be clear and straightforward. Guests shouldn’t have to spend time trying to clarify the wedding’s location or any other important information.

The proper wording is essential for setting the tone for your wedding. Match the formalness of your event with these wording considerations and your guests will know what to expect for the occasion.

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