Wedding Reception Invitation Wording
April 15, 2005 9:26 AM   Subscribe

We're getting married in June at the courthouse. Our parents, and anyone else who's around and wants to go, is welcome to come along but we're not formally inviting anyone. We are, however inviting people to the reception, and I have questions about what the invitations should say.

The facts:
1. The reception is a very small party at a local restaurant and pub that includes a heavy hors d'oeuvres/light dinner buffet (so it's in the evening) and open bar.
2. We really don't care what people wear, as long as they are comfortable.
3. The invitation is to the reception only.

We're using an assortment of clever postcards as our invitations, and having people RSVP via email (this is okay because the guest list is very small, and the only people who might be put off by an email RSVP have already RSVPed) so brevity is a consideration. How much of this should I try and communicate and how should I make it clear that the invitation is just to the party?

I've gotten this far:
Together with their families
cordially invite you to...

But then I'm at a loss.
posted by jennyb to Writing & Language (18 answers total)
a celebration of their love.


rsvp to by Date
posted by MeetMegan at 9:30 AM on April 15, 2005

And by the way, a personal pet peeve of mine is the word "cordially". Do you really cordially invite them, or do you just invite them? Layout may look better if you just invite them. They know they're your friends/family and that you will be happy to see them. You don't need to tell them you're cordial.
posted by MeetMegan at 9:31 AM on April 15, 2005

Very recently married here. My wife and I had the same struggle and came up with the below text (with different names obviously). We thought this served well both as an announcement and invitation:

Will be joined in marriage
Whenever 2005
At the
City, State

Please join them in celebration
At a cocktail & hors d’oeuvres reception
Hosted by whoever
Date 2005
posted by horseblind at 9:36 AM on April 15, 2005

oh! Also we wanted no gifts to be brought and we did not register anywhere so we put: "The only gift the happy couple requests is the gift of your presence!"
I don't know if this i an issue for you but thought I'd bring it up.
posted by horseblind at 9:38 AM on April 15, 2005

Maybe use "a reception to celebrate their marriage" to make it clear that the legal joining already occured? Then say something like, "please join us for hors d'ouevres, drinks and merriment at
posted by handful of rain at 9:39 AM on April 15, 2005

All sounds good to me. Our super combined married user numbers will be low. See if we can work that into the invitation.
posted by corpse at 10:32 AM on April 15, 2005

First, Yea Jennyb and Corpse!!!! Woo-hoo!

Second, I think you could use horseblind's layout, but you could cut the

At the
City, State

part for the courthouse, since people don't really need to know that (it sounds like). It helps that you are inviting more people to the later event only, rather than the other way around. Since you are doing the rsvp by e-mail, you can just respond to the rsvp with the details of the dress code, etc. (you could do this with a ready made response, cut-n-paste in, if you need to keep time down, plus you can add all sorts of extra info like maps and how to hail a cab in your town after they have abused the open bar).


posted by eckeric at 10:36 AM on April 15, 2005

Congratulations to the lucky corpse! Yay, jennyb!

We ran off to get married, had a reception on our return, and sent off postcards to announce it. Our wording was something like this (adapted to your situation):

jennyb and corpse will soon be wed.
Please join with them and their families at a reception to celebrate.

Date: April 1, 2005
Time: 7:00 pm for dinner and drinks.
The Yummy Yum Inn
1600 Carlito's Way
Bali Hai, Bali Hai

RSVP by March 20. Dress is informal. We'd love to see you there.

We chose not to have the formal Mr and Mrs request the pleasure of your whatever announcement precisely because we weren't having a formal ceremony (we told everyone we were doing it, so it wasn't quite eloping but came pretty close, enough so that traditional wording seemed like a lot of pointless hoo-ha.)

(Oh, and if you're DIY and want a template, I'll look for mine when I get home -- just e-mail me if interested.)
posted by melissa may at 10:43 AM on April 15, 2005

Listen to melissa may, she's very good with this sort of thing. The wording you're going for, with the 'cordially invite' and blah, blah, is much more formal than the event you're hosting.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:50 AM on April 15, 2005

It sounds like the whole thing is pretty informal, so why not have the invitations say something like

"Come celebrate our wedding!"
time/date/place info
"Hope to see you there"
then your names.

Here's how much I really know about weddings though: 0
posted by elisabeth r at 11:45 AM on April 15, 2005

We said (for our reception that was the day after the immediate-family-only wedding ceremony):

Please join us in celebration of our recent marriage
at our reception and open house

Date, time, address

bride's full married name & groom's full married name

We figured that "recent" was a tipoff that this was NOT a wedding invitation.

Although, one of my uncles, who got an announcement, decided it was an invitation and is coming. Sheesh. (It's my mother's fault for making me send the annoucements ahead of the wedding, instead of on the day of the wedding as is traditional!)
posted by some chick at 11:46 AM on April 15, 2005

Response by poster: Awesome, everyone. For some reason I had it in my head that if I sent out post cards as invitations, I should balance that by using formal wording. I'm happy and relieved to find that is not the case.

MeetMegan: I am right with you on the "cordially" thing. It seems like an affectation -- I was using it because that's what this book about how to plan a wedding said to use for a less formal invitation. As if were I to omit the word "cordially" people wouldn't understand what this crazy card was all about and fail to show up or RSVP.

Yeah, the reception is at a Belgian beer bar (awwww yeah) so I think the informality is fairly obvious. Do you think people will get that they won't have to eat before coming if we just say "cocktail & hors d’oeuvres reception" and, conversely, will they think that we're having a sit down if we call it dinner?

This is all great advice. Thank you!!
posted by jennyb at 1:36 PM on April 15, 2005

Hi, jennyb, best wishes!

I think the "cocktails and hors d'ouvres reception" makes it clear that it's not dinner. I like horsblind's advice.
posted by puddinghead at 2:15 PM on April 15, 2005

We got married in Vegas so the reception was some time after the event. We had custom postcards printed from the best photo of us with Elvis, and then printed on the back: "Kris, Rodd and Elvis invited you to celebrate a wedding that took place on November 20, 2004 at A Little White Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas." We tried to make it really informal and fun, and most people seemed to like it. (The only difficulty was that at least one person nearly threw it out unread because at first glance they thought it was junk mail.) We too had our reception at a brew pub so we included the line: "Leave the gifts and the glad rags at home and join us at..." Everybody seemed to understand the implication, though family members still insisted on bringing gifts.
posted by web-goddess at 5:33 PM on April 15, 2005

As far as the food - are the appetizers enough to count as a meal? If not - it's snacks, and light little bites - then people will need to eat after, or before, no? If there will be enough food to count as a meal, then dinner is good - it will signal that people don't need to make alternate eating plans. It sounds pedantic, but you need to signal about the 'mealness' one way or the other. Hors d'ouvres and appetizers signal small/light, dinner (even if it's standing) signals enough food for the evening.
posted by fionab at 9:57 PM on April 15, 2005

You can also crib from one of the many wedding etiquette books that overflow the shelves of used bookstores everywhere.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:26 AM on April 28, 2005

Off-topic: DAMN those are low user numbers! Your combined number is way less than mine, and I'm a 1-Ker!

Less off topic: Congrats!
posted by zpousman at 4:31 PM on November 28, 2005

wouldn't that make you... corpse bride? ;)
posted by PWA_BadBoy at 10:26 PM on March 19, 2006

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