Monday, February 02, 2009

Wedding Wording Etiquette: The Host Line

One of the trickiest parts of your wedding stationery is figuring out your wedding invitation etiquette. Some brides may think that invitation etiquette is an old system that no one uses (as I admit, I even thought that once) but with a few tricks you can have perfect etiquette that also doubles as a special thanks to the host(s) of your wedding. So this week, let's go over some of the fundamentals of your invitation wording.

The old still in use. True, many of your friends might not know it, but I promise your parents and all their friends do, so do your grandparents and their entire generation. One of the best tricks to get perfect wording is to use Smitten Invitation's wedding invitation etiquette helper. It's a bit involved, but if you can answer a handful of questions about your wedding, you'll have flawless wording in less than five minutes.

Today let's go over an extremely important line: the host(s) line.
It's very important that you show your gratitude to your hosts by putting their names in the proper place of acknowledgement. This isn't just fussy etiquette, the host line is like toasting your guests- it really shows your appreciation.

Who is your host? This line used to be fairly simple as the bride's parents always hosted the wedding, but now it might include the groom's parents (or just be the groom's parents), the bride and groom, or even the children of the bride and groom. Essentially this is whoever is hosting (aka paying for) the wedding.

Sample one: The parents of the bride are the hosts. This is a "traditional" wedding where the bride's parents have paid all major expenses, though the groom's parents may have paid their traditional expenses such as honeymoon, rings and rehearsal dinner. This isn't "the most correct" solution, but if your wedding meets the description above, then use it guilt free.

Your wording should sound like:
Mr. and Mrs. John Roberts
invite you to the wedding of their daughter...

Sample two: The parents of the bride and the parents of the groom are the hosts. This is when the parents of both parties have agreed to split the cost of the wedding. It's not used for 20/80, it's the real 50/50 split (or close to it). List the parents of the bride first and then directly underneath list the parents of the groom (even if one is paying slightly more than the other).

Your wording should sound like:
Mr. and Mrs. John Roberts
and Mr. and Mrs. Paul Boxer
invite you to the wedding of their children...

Sample three: The parents of the bride are the hosts, but you want to include the groom's parents' names on the invitation. This is becoming more popular and is standard with Jewish and Mormon etiquette. The parents of the bride are still recognized as the hosts in this method and the groom's parents may not be paying anything and still may be included with this method.

Your wording should sound like:
Mr. and Mrs. John Roberts
invite you to the wedding of their daughter
Jane Roberts
Ryan Boxer
son of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Boxer...

Sample four: The bride and groom are the hosts with the support of families, children, or even just the bride and groom. This option is a great catch-all if your wedding doesn't fit into any of the above examples. If the bride and groom are picking up most/all of the expenses they may list only themselves. If it's complex hosting situation, or if the bride and groom wish to acknowledge their families support they may include "together with their families" after their names. For second weddings they may choose to include their children in the invitation which is a beautiful way to start a blended family, or a family with supportive grown children (who you should list out by name).

Your wording should sound like:
Jane Roberts
Ryan Boxer
together with their families (or children)
invite you to the their wedding...
Stationery by Smitten Invitations


Newport Nuptials said...

What is the etiquette if the bride and groom contribute, the parents of the groom contribute and the parents of the bride who are divorced contribute?

zoliepup said...

I was hoping you might address our situation. We've been looking for an answer to this question for a while.

His parents have generously offered to pay for our wedding (though we were originally planning to pay ourselves). My parents have no cash and are not contributing at all... I wanted to honor his parents for throwing the wedding, but I know that my parents would be deeply hurt and embarrassed to not be included in the host line. No matter what I do with the wording, I end up kind of snubbing someone :(

Any suggestions? Because this is causing me a headache!

Jacqueline said...

I used the wedding invitation etiquette helper from the link above, and I'm not the end result is correct. Here it is:

"N. and N. together with their families request the honour of your presence at our wedding"

Why is it "their families" but then "our wedding"??

This cannot be correct... is it?

Melissa said...


Great catch! You're correct, it should be one of the other- either both should be "our" or "their," and I'd recommend "their" for the more formal feel.

We'll be changing that right away on our Etiquette Assistant, thanks again!

If you need any other help with your wording, please feel free to email me at mbumstead(at) or call toll free 1-877-705-1277 and I would be more than happy to help you figure out the right wording for your situation!
Melissa (from Smitten Invitations)

Cristine Douglas said...

Thanks for sharing these ideas on wedding invitation etiquette. Honestly, writing some wedding invitation wording for someone who has divorced parents is truly a headache. Thanks to this guideline I now know what to do.