Casual wedding invitations and the insanity of writing out “Two Thousand and Fifteen”

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Love is in the Air Wedding Invitations

When I got engaged, I never thought that figuring out which words to use on our invitation would be harder than figuring out which invitations to use.

Choosing the invite was almost instinctual, whereas figuring out how to word the damn thing became a freaking internal struggle.

It became my tomboy-ish, anti-formal, easy-going ways fighting against the years of Cotillion training and the voices of my old-money-Southern-society family members chiding me about how certain things are “just done” in this family.

If my parents had it their way, the invitations (and the whole wedding in general!) would have been very formal.

According to them, and all the etiquette books, since my parents were paying for the wedding, our invitations should have read:

Mr. and Mrs. My Dads Name III
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter,
Megan Elizabeth
Mr. Aaron's Full Name
son of
Mr. and Mrs. Aaron's Dads Name
on Friday, the tenth of October
two thousand and eight

…and so on and so forth in way too many words.

The thing is… did we somehow turn into British royalty when we became engaged? We don't talk like that! Isn't this invitation supposed to be for a ceremony that is all about our relationship?

I know, for a fact, that our relationship would never “request the honour of your presence” or “cordially invite you,” no matter how much we wanted you there. Our relationship would never refer to ourselves by our full names — our relationship rarely ever even uses our first names! And our relationship would certainly never spell out the year instead of using numbers. In fact, our relationship is the kind of relationship that rolls it's eyes when it sees dates and times spelled out completely in words!

When I first started planning the invites, I found myself actually stressing over the wording of the invitation. I even found myself Googling “the proper way to word a wedding invitation.” And then, when I started the first draft, I caught myself actually spelling out “two thousand and…” — wait a minute! What am I doing?

So I changed tactics and wouldn't you know it… I stumbled upon a blog post called “Wedding invitation wording that won't make you barf.” Yes! That's exactly what I was looking for! I clicked over to Offbeat Bride and everything changed. That's when I came to terms with the fact that there's no reason why your invitation can't be as personable and as easy-going as your relationship. It's okay to have an informal wedding invitation. In fact, sometimes informal invitations can seem more, well, inviting!

In the end, I went with my heart and decided on our informal wedding invations, including a jovial RSVP.

I decided to word our invitation thusly:

Please join
Megan & Aaron
as they exchange their marriage vows
Friday, October 10th, 2008
at sunset
on Keawakapu Beach, Maui

reception & rock ‘n' roll to follow

When Aaron saw the last sentence he started shaking his head and said, “You're such a nerd.” I stopped dead, “Oh no, do you not like it?” I had totally thought it was something he would appreciate. But then he started laughing and said, “No, it's perfect!” And then we high-fived.

And that, my friends, is why you will never be “cordially invited” to anything we do. But we WILL totally ask you to show up to our rockin' party.

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Comments on Casual wedding invitations and the insanity of writing out “Two Thousand and Fifteen”

  1. This is absolutely, perfectly, precisely, EXACTLY what I needed to hear! I have been putting off working on our invitations purely because I hate the wording that you’re “supposed” to use!

    THANK YOU!!!!!!

    • Totally agree. My favorite line: “And I know, for a fact, that our relationship would never ‘request the honour of your presence’ or ‘cordially invite you,’ no matter how much we wanted you there.”
      We have been thinking for a long time on how to do wording, and this helps validate what we’ve been thinking: an invitation from us should SOUND like and invitation from US!

  2. one of my biggest pet peeves is when people write out “two thousand and eight”, because when dealing with numbers the word “and” represents a decimal point. i like the way you worded your invitations much better.

    • Thank you! It ALWAYS bugs me when people put and in a year! But people get annoyed with me when I correct them. Just use numbers! They’re so much easier to understand

      • Though, I think it is helpful to write out “The third of February” or whatever, as countries abbreviate dates differently. The US would use 2/3/11 whereas Australia would say 3/2/11, etc.

        But, agreed, you should technically just say “two thousand eleven,” omitting the word ‘and.’

    • Not in Australia – 2024 is written as two thousand and twenty four. An “and” is placed before the tens. If you want to denote a decimal place, you say “point” and then list the numerals, so 2024.56 is written as two thousand and twenty four point five six

      • Ah, I stand corrected about the “and” then. I was just making that point about the numbering vs spelling it out.

        • I realise – was more pointing out that writing in words still don’t always help matters.

    • I agreed, for a bit. Then I realised that for many invites are nearly a piece of art/typography. Often writing it out in words makes it look much better.

  3. I am stressing horribly about trying to word an invitation that will include acknowledgment of my divorced parents, the fiancee’s divorced parents, and my stepmom.

    I guess “family” is good, but only 1/2 of mine is paying (dad’s side) because my mom can’t afford it. Someone’s feelings always seem to get hurt.

    • Well, your mom can help in ways that have nothing to do with money, right? I mean, wrangling bridemaids, or going with you to food tastings, or stamping and addressing invites, or even just listening and supporting you when you’re having a freakout, that’s SUPER helpful!

      If your dad and step-mom are still married, what about something like:

      “Please join
      Lilac LastName
      Daughter of Mom LastName
      and Stepmom and Dad LastName
      HTB* LastName
      Son of Mom LastName
      and Dad LastName
      As they begin the rest of their lives together…”

      blah blah blah (*HTB is Husband-To-Be).

      I’ve read that if the parents are divorced, the names should be listed on separate lines.

      Hopefully something like this will help alleviate hurt feelings – although honestly, if someone is determined to have hurt feelings, there’s not a lot you can do about it!

    • I think it’s okay to just use “family.” You could even use a little silliness to deflect the hurt: “Lilac & Partner, together with lots of family members, invite you…

      The whole POINT is keeping it casual. Join the revolution!

      • Heck we used “and family” and our invitations were only of the only pseudo-formal things we had. It was a great way to include mention of our families, and still avoid the awkwardness of certain people who should be listed according to the traditional way who were not being invited.

    • even though my parents paid for the majority of our wedding, i didn’t want to exclude anyone, so our invites read “together with their families, me and him invite you to join in the celebration of their marriage”.
      that way, everyone was included 🙂

      • “Together with their families, Jane and John invite you to…” is in fact Miss Manners-approved wording! Inclusive, doesn’t imply exchange of moneys, etc. Good on you!

    • Can you please tell me how you dealt with this b/c Im dealing with the exact same thing and my dad is not budging about certain things since my mom can’t afford to help. Any advice would be great!!!!

  4. I just received an invitation in the mail, sent *back* to me because I spelled out some of the numbers.

    The address was correct, but the delivery person was apparently unable to read the spelling of numbers. You know, like “Highway ninety-eight” and “Apartment seven hundred and ten.”

    That’s what I get for trying to be fancy-pants.

    I say, if anyone gives you hell, tell them you don’t want to pay double postage, and you do want to communicate clearly to your audience.

    • Agreed about the gauge of formality thing – informal invites could induce that your guests to rock up in t.shirts which might make them feel a little wierd when they realise that the bridal party are attired in rustling silks, corsetry and top hats! The level of formality/style of the invite lets your guests make an educated decision about what they want to wear etc. I’d feel embarrassed if I wore jeans to a ball, although personally I think evening gowns at bbq’s are hot.

  5. One thing that’s worth bearing in mind is that some people apparently use the invite to gauge the formality of the wedding. Super formal invites might also lead everyone to believe they need to turn up in super formal clothes, which is great if that’s the look you’re going for, less good for your chilled out back yard BBQ wedding.

    Personally I hate the traditional wording anyway, it reminds me of period drama and why I get frustated with all the characters because they’re so busy “requesting the honour of your presence” or “wondering if I might beg a moment of your time” when it would be a lot less trouble for everyone if they just got to the point.

    Luckily (very luckily) our parents agreed that the traditional wording didn’t work for us and we went for a fairly direct approach:
    “You are warmly invited to attend the wedding of Me and Him on Date at Time in Place and afterwards the reception in Other Place” with nothing implied about who is hosting the event or planning it or whatever else you’re ‘supposed to’ imply.

    We took a similar approach with names on invites. I was not going to wrestle with titles and correct forms of address for 150 people so they were all addressed to “Jane + John Smith” or “Jane, John + James Smith” for those with kids.

    • Oh yes! My mother just about had a heart attack when she realized I addressed the invitations to just “Jane & John Smith” (sometimes just “Jane & John” if I couldn’t remember what last names they were using) instead of Mr & Mrs or Dr & Mrs, etc.

      But really… it came down to a.) I don’t care about the formalities and b.) I didn’t want to bother finding out who was Mrs or Ms or who got their doctorate or which uncle was the 3rd or Jr., etc. Who has the time!? I just want to invite them to come party with me!

      • I would have to disagree, actually. If I were a “Jr.,” I would be annoyed if someone “didn’t care!” about it and addressed me without putting Jr. – i.e., by my father’s name.

        Similarly if I was a doctor (which I’m not). I’m not going to begrudge the fact that someone who went through those years of medical school, and IS a doctor, does prefer to be called doctor.

        I think “informal wording” is ok, but I’m going to disagree with you on the “I don’t care what people’s names/titles are.”

        • Fair enough! I should say, I care about people’s names. But I don’t call my uncle Mr John Blah Jr. I call him Uncle John — so that is how I addressed it. And if I’m not going to address my best friend’s invitation to Mrs Blah, I’m not going to call her husband Dr. Blah — I call them Amy and Joe Blah. The familiarity is what I was going for.

        • Also, I think you can assess this for individual guests. You’re right that some people would really care about those things and hopefully you know your guests well enough to know that.

          On the other hand, my parents both have Ph.D.s and they could care less about being referred to as “Dr.”

        • But similarly some people feel very strongly about never being addressed by their full name. I feel that it would be just as wrong to address a friends invite ‘Mrs Rebecca Lastname’ when I know she hates being called that and would prefer ‘Becci Lastname’.

          It’s something that will vary between guests but I think if you know someone well enough to invite them to your wedding you will also know them well enough to be aware of how they prefer to be addressed.

          In my case I don’t know anyone I would normally call ‘Mr & Mrs Lastname’ (and I don’t know any doctors or juniors at all, far as I know), even my bosses boss introduced himself as ‘Dave’. It also fit with the formality of the wedding as a whole in a way more formal names wouldn’t.

        • Word. If someone you know (and love enough to invite to your wedding) is a freaking doctor (or a judge, or serving in the military, etc), show a little respect.

          In addressing the invitations, we didn’t use any honourifics… except the doctors and their spouses.

  6. My friends would totally understand if we did the formal thing, as they did, but we won’t be. It will be silly, a little sweet, and fun. My mother agreed that my parents’ names will be left off, despite the fact that they are paying, for particular reasons. I wish my friends were getting married now so I could see the totally awesome weddings and invites they would come up with after having grown into themselves. And I am thankful that I don’t feel the need to cordially invite anyone.

  7. When I first designed my invites they had pretty standard wording and at the time I was happy with them. After that I put them away for a few months and didn’t look at them until I went to print them out.

    When I looked at them with fresh eyes, I discovered that what had seemed perfectly normal before now looked snobby and boring. I decided to tweak the invites and ended up completely redesigning them that night.

    As I was trying to decide how to lay out the text I quickly typed in
    “In case you hadn’t heard, Nina and Rod are getting married!
    Together with our parents we invite you to share in our celebration of commitment and love.” intending to delete it later and replace it with proper wording.
    After showing this to Rod and trying to think of what else we could write, we ended up deciding that my spur of the moment words were more ‘us’ than anything we were going to find on the internet so it ended up going on the final invites.

    As another space filler I jokingly put the vows from ‘The Corpse Bride’ on one of the invite inserts.

    “With this hand
    I will lift up your sorrows
    Your cup will never be empty
    For I will be your wine
    With this candle
    I will light your way in darkness
    With this ring
    I ask you to be mine.”

    Then I loved it so much that it too ended up on the final cut of the invite.

    The experience taught me that no matter how much thought and careful planning you put into anything, sometimes it’s those little impromptu moments that really mean something.

  8. Oh I’m LOVIN’ this post & discussion. I need to work on writing the invites this week & was just going through exactly what you are talking about.

    Thanks to the other OBBs for offering wording suggestions – I’m definitely going to incorporate some of the simpler language in our invites.

    BTW – if you didn’t check out the jovial RSVP, do so. I love it!

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