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How to: Destination Wedding Invitation Wording

You have decided to marry in paradise and have found the perfect invitations. Now it’s time to navigate the ins and outs of destination wedding invitation wording for your St. Thomas wedding.

Traditional, wedding invitations follow specific customs and conventions. Destination wedding invitations tend to be more modern, funky, and thematic. Remember: this is your wedding day. Whether you want traditional or something wonderfully unique, feel free to break the rules and create and an invitation that matches your style, personality, and sets the right tone for your big day.

This guide will walk you through the traditional wedding invitation wording and you can use this as a base to create your own destination wedding invitation that makes good etiquette sense. Click to expand the sections for more information about invitation wording options for your destination wedding.

Destination Wedding Invitation Wording

how to choose the perfect invitation wording for your destination wedding in St. Thomas.

sweet lace invitation by Elli

(The Anatomy of a Wedding Invitation)

The Host Line

The host line informs the reader who is hosting the event. Traditionally, this is the bride’s parents, but ever changing family structures and financial dynamics mean that this may include the groom’s parents or the couple themselves. Furthermore, you are planning a destination wedding and the wording for your invitation is up to you.

The most traditional and formal invitations include the use of courtesy titles such as Mr., Mrs., Doctor etc. When using these titles, Mr. and Mrs. can be abbreviated but any other titles (or suffixes – such as Junior or Doctor) should be spelled out. If you choose to use the courtesy titles, remember: most married couples follow the standard format: Mr. and Mrs. Husband’s Full Name. Omitting courtesy titles is a little less formal and it also allows the use the first names of married women. If you use this option, it’s best to omit middle names as well.

If the bride’s parents are hosting, use the phrase “of their daughter” before the bride’s name on the request line.

If the groom’s parents are hosting, use the phrase “to/and their son” before the groom’s name on the Bride and Groom Lines.

If both parents sets of parents are hosting, each set of parents names are listed on separate lines starting with the bride’s parents with an “and” on its own line between the sets of names.

If they have different surnames, an “and” joins them.

If they are divorced, names are listed on separate lines without an “and” between them and the mother’s name is always first. If she has remarried, use her married name. Traditionally step-parents are omitted, but you can include them if you like. If the remarried parent has a different surname from his or her spouse, put the birth parent first.

If one parent has passed away, the deceased parent is not traditionally included on the invitation. But you might want to include them anyway. If this is the case, in order to make it clear that the deceased parent is not issuing the invitation, the deceased parent is usually mentioned after the bride or groom on the Bride and Groom line using the phrase “daughter of the late…”

If the couple is hosting the wedding, omit the host line altogether, begin the invitation with the Bride and Groom Lines, followed by the request line. Another option is to use the phrase “Together with their families” in the host line.

The Request Line

The request line invites the reader and specifies the event. The two most traditional phrases included in this line are “request the honor of your presence” and “request the pleasure of your company.” The first indicates the ceremony will be in a house of worship; the second indicates that it will not. Other examples include “would be delighted by your presence” and “invite you to join them,” and “invite you to share in the joy/celebration.”

The second part of this line specifies that the event is a wedding. “at the marriage of” is the most commonly used wording, however “to the wedding” or “wedding celebration of.” If the bride and groom are hosting, common wording might include “at their marriage,” “at their wedding celebration,” and even “to witness their wedding and celebrate the beginning of their lives together.”

To add a bit of fun to your destination wedding invitation, you might consider using wording on your something like:
..request the pleasure of your company
as we fly away to celebrate the marriage of…

The Bride and Groom Lines

Regardless of who is hosting this destination wedding, the bridal couple are the stars of this show and their names should be set apart (in larger or different font) and on separate lines. The “to,” “and” or ampersand between them should go on it’s on its own line. Traditional American formatting uses the word “to;” although some Jewish formats use the word “and.”

If the bride or groom’s last name is the same as her/his parents listed on the host line, only her/his given and middle names are used. No courtesy title (Miss, Ms. or Mr.) are used.

The Date & Time Lines

The Date and Time Lines

Spell out numbers and capitalize proper nouns only; you can begin these lines with the prepositions like “on” and “at” (not capitalized) if you’d like. The day, date and month are traditionally spelled out, and the year is usually omitted (unless you want to date the invitation for keepsake value). The time should be spelled out as well using “o’clock” or “half past.” But don’t worry about using a.m. or p.m., or a phrase such as “in the evening,” unless it is unclear, such as for an eight o’clock wedding. Using numerals is a more modern practice, however, it is not necessarily more casual. Whether you choose a traditional or modern style, make sure you use it uniformly throughout.

The Location Line

It is traditional not to include street addresses of houses of worship or well-known locations. Commas are not used at the ends of lines, and the state is always spelled out. The ZIP code is omitted.

For a St. Thomas destination wedding invitation, the address is usually not necessary. Most of your guests will be taking taxis, or you will have most likely included a map in your wedding invitation suite. Leave the address out to keep your invitation uncluttered.

The Reception Line (or Card)

While the reception information is sometimes included on the main invitation, you can also use a separate card. This is particularly helpful if the reception is at a different location than the ceremony or does not begin immediately after. By using a separate card, your invitation will remain uncluttered.

If you choose to include reception information on the main invitation, you might use a phrase like “reception to follow”, “reception immediately following” or “dinner and dancing to follow.” If you are not serving a full meal, it is a good idea to let guests know by using a phrase such as “champagne toast to follow” or “cocktail reception and cake immediately following the ceremony.”

The R.S.V.P. Line (or Card)

Brides today generally include a reply card that matches their wedding invitation, as well as a stamped envelope to encourage guests to respond to their invitation in a timely manner. Traditional etiquette does not require this. If you choose not to include a response card, include a line on the lower left corner of the invitation that says “R.S.V.P.,” the date by which you need the response, and the method by which they can respond (mailing address, phone number, email address, or website).

Smart tip: Since people sometimes forget to write their names on the reply card, number your guest list, and then lightly pencil the proper number on the back of each reply card before tucking it into the addressed invitation.

Special Details to Consider for Your Destination Wedding Invitations

If you want to stress the importance of the style of dress – black tie, for instance, or casual attire – place that information in the lower right corner, or on the reception card. For your beach wedding invitation, you might consider using wording to remind guests to wear or bring their flip flops, regardless of the level of dress you expect them to wear.

The only thing that should not be included anywhere on your invitation – or in your invitation suite – is your registry information. The only place where it is acceptable to include registry information is on your website. Once you register, let your immediate family and bridal party know the details. They will spread the news or guests will ask you directly.

If your wedding is adults only, be sure to address your invitations properly. It is not acceptable to say “adult only” anywhere in your invitation or invitation suite. And for a destination wedding, it may not be feasible for guests with children to attend without their kids. Consider hiring a sitter for the night to help wrangle kiddos and let mom and dad enjoy the celebration.


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