The Styles of Wording for Invitations

by Christina Schnell
Many couples continue to use formal wording for their wedding invitations.

Many couples continue to use formal wording for their wedding invitations.

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The words on your invitations communicate not only logistics but also the tone, atmosphere and formality of your event. The style of wording indicates these differences through type of language and titles. Just as expectations and traditions of time-honored events change over time, so have the styles of wording used for writing the invitations.

Formal-Traditional

Formal wording is most appropriate for traditional events, such as baptisms and weddings, in which the individuals involved exercise a degree of formality. Formally worded invitations refer to individuals by their traditional names and titles. For example, you would write "Mr. and Mrs. John Dillman" instead of "John and Kelly Dillman." Invitation phrasing is eloquent and traditional, such as, "We request the pleasure of your company on [date]," instead of, "We hope you can come to [event]."

Formal-Modern

Formal-modern invitation wording is appropriate for a traditional event, like a wedding or Bar Mitzvah, in which the host wants to communicate the celebration's significance along with the modern nature of those involved. Full names and titles are written individually, such as "John and Kelly Dillman" instead of "Mr. and Mrs. John Dillman." Formal-modern phrasing is articulate and hospitable but without hyperbole or humor. For example, a formal-modern invitation would read, "Please join us in celebrating [event]," instead of, "We request the pleasure of your presence at [event]."

Casual-Modern

Casual-modern phrasing is appropriate for invitations celebrating personal milestones, like graduations, birthdays and retirement. The personal titles of individuals in casual-modern invitations are without prefixes or even last names -- just "John and Kelly," for example. While the wording of the casual-modern invitation is warm and hospitable, the tone is colloquial, such as, "We hope you can come and celebrate Layla's 3rd birthday on [event date]."

Humorous

Humorous wording uses comical, sometimes boisterous phrasing to invite guests to entertainment or sporting parties, such as those celebrating the Super Bowl or Oscar Awards. The humorous language is casual and comedic and sometimes employs wordplay or puns, such as, "Come knock back a few with us while watching the [sports team] knock the [other sports team] out of the field." The host writing with a humorous wording style will use first names, such as, "Gwen and Pete are hosting a Red Carpet roll-out on [date]."

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