You and your spouse already said "I do," but the Catholic Church does not recognize your civil ceremony. Perhaps you got married on the beach or had a nondenominational officiant perform the ceremony. Now you're ready to convalidate your marriage in the church. You might not want to throw an extravagant convalidation ceremony and reception, but you do want your family and closest friends there to witness the religious vow exchange. Word your invitation properly so that your guests know what to expect.
When you celebrated your non-Catholic wedding ceremony, your invitation might have opened up with the bride's parents' names if they hosted the event. Now that you are husband and wife, you are hosting the convalidation ceremony yourself. Use similar wording -- but replace the bride's parents' names with yours. For example, you can say: "Mr. and Mrs. William Peterson request the honor of your presence at their convalidation ceremony." Noting that it's a convalidation ceremony is key -- you don't want your guests to think this is a vow renewal or second wedding.
Next, provide the details about your convalidation ceremony. First, guests need to know when the "I do's" are taking place. For a more formal invitation, spell out the date and time -- for example, "Saturday, the eighteenth of June, two thousand eleven at 2 o'clock in the afternoon." If you're going for a more casual event, you can use numerals -- Saturday, June 18, 2011, 2 p.m. List the name of the Catholic church where the convalidation will take place, along with the address, city and state.
Some -- if not all -- of your guests may never have attended a convalidation ceremony before. They may not know what to expect at your ceremony. Your invitation wording can clue your guests in on exactly what will take place. If your priest suggests a specific dress code for the event, include that on the invitation, with wording such as "Business casual attire, please." You don't need your guests to come in tuxedos and formal gowns, but they need to be dressed appropriately for church. This wording helps them understand the level of formality of the event.
If you're hosting a small reception to celebrate your convalidation, include information about this event on your invitation. Alternatively, you can print a separate reception card if you don't have space on the invitation for this information. Use straightforward wording, such as "Please join us for a reception following the convalidation ceremony." List the location and address -- and the time, if there is any gap between the convalidation and the reception.
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