Traditionally, wedding invitations are extended by the bride's parents on behalf of the couple. This honor, which is reflected in the wording of the invitation, is based on the assumption that they are the paying for the wedding. However, many couples today are paying for their own nuptials. When this is the case, it is not appropriate for the bride's parents to extend the invitation. Instead, the bride and groom should be clearly specified as the hosts on the wedding invitation.
The Bride and Groom Request Your Presence...
If the bride and groom are paying for the wedding, their invitations should be worded to indicate that they are the ones extending the invitation. Here is a very basic example of how that might look: Jane Doe and John Smith request the honor of your presence at the celebration of their marriage on Saturday, the second of July 2011 at 4 o'clock in the afternoon..." This would then be followed by the location, address, city and state of the ceremony.
Honoring the Bride and Groom's Parents
If the bride and groom are paying for and hosting the wedding but want to acknowledge their parents in the invitation, they may use the following format: The honor of your presence is requested at the marriage of Jane Doe, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Doe, and John Smith, son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Smith, on Saturday, the second of July 2011 at 4 o'clock in the afternoon..." They may also acknowledge their parent's involvement and support without including their names. For example: "Together with their parents, Jane Doe and John Smith request the honor of your presence at the celebration of their marriage on...."
Incorporating a Poem
If the bride and groom wish to incorporate a poem, verse or quote into the invitation, it should be placed before the standard invitation script. To strongly indicate that they are the one's hosting the wedding, the bride and groom might choose something that has a plural, first person voice. For example: "We are two halves of the same soul, joining together on life's journey. Join us for the marriage of Jane Doe and John Smith on..." They may also choose a saying that does not have a first person voice but then must clarify that they are the hosts later in the invitation text. For example: "How sweet a thing it is to love--- And to be loved again. Jane Doe and John Smith request the honor of your presence at the celebration of their marriage on..."
The Ambiguous "We"
Weddings can sometimes highlight difficult family dynamics. If there have been arguments about who is paying or has paid for the wedding, it may be wise to downplay the fact that bride and groom are the hosts. This can be done by wording the invitation as follows: We invite you to join us in celebrating the wedding of Jane Doe and John Smith on...." While the couple are the only individuals mentioned on the invitation, the actual host is not clearly specified. The "we" could refer to the couple, the bride's parents or the groom's parents.
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