Same-sex wedding invitation wording

Planning The little (or gargantuan) envelope landing on the doormat will be the first taste most of your guests will get of your wedding. You can tell a lot from wedding invitations – how formal, what theme, likely availability of bouncy castles in the vicinity...

And so, as you'd expect – and no doubt already know – the internet is awash with advice and problem pages on wedding invitation wording.

And for same-sex couples who may feel a little lost in the still overwhelmingly heteronormative wedding industry, invitations can be a particularly sticky wicket.

Seems to me that so much is governed in wedding traditions by binary genders, and so if you're in a queer relationship of any description there isn't always the easier option of following what's been done before.

But, oh, having to find our own ways to something beautiful and personal can be a great thing. And once you get the wording sorted, choosing a design will be really good fun, I promise!

So what exactly does your same-sex wedding invitation need to say? Well, good news: in short, almost exactly what an invite for any wedding needs to say. It needs all of the key wedding information somewhere within that package to be really effective.

You’re most likely going to post it out, which means you can be sure, barring postal mishaps, it’ll be in your guests’ hands and quite probably pinned up somewhere (or at least in the stack of important stuff on the kitchen table if you happen to have me as a guest).

No matter how information-packed your wedsite is or how many helpful reminders or emails you send out between now and the day itself, the invitation will be the thing your guests refer to the most and the thing they bring with them for reference, if they bring anything at all. So make it count.

For what it’s worth, here's my personal checklist I used when designing my invites...

1. Who’s getting married, sillies!


But whose name goes first? Who cares?! Alphabetise or play rock-paper-scissors. Even if you use just first names in the main bit of wording, stick your full names somewhere within the info so guests don’t get confused. You’d be surprised.

2. Who, exactly, is invited.

You may think it’s obvious, but do you mean to invite just the two adults or a whole family of eight? Do your single guests get a plus-one? Be specific. Make sure you've got your guestlist super-finalised, as uninviting people (unless they've behaved like a supervillain) is really not cool.

3. Who's hosting.

If you have children, either together or from previous relationships, you can always say something like ‘join us as we celebrate with our children/family’.

4. Time.

Nothing wrong with making this slightly earlier than the ceremony start time. Alternatively, you could make a polite request for early arrival, such as: '12.00pm ceremony. Please take your seats by 11.45am.'

5. Location of both ceremony and reception.

Try to include addresses and postcodes somewhere on the invite. A map can be really handy, especially one with helpful landmarks.

6. Your wedsite address.

And on the site, be sure to repeat all the invitation information so the site can work as a one-stop reference should they lose the paper invitation.

7. RSVP instructions.

How and by when? Bear in mind most people planning a wedding have trouble getting all the RSVPs back, which is why we wrote this sneaky little post. Make sure you include a return address / email address for RSVPs.

8. Dress code.

As long as it's not demandingly specific, you won’t sound bossy, you’ll sound helpful.

Then there's the host question.

Okay, so checklist done. Now, how about one of the most divisive aspects of the modern wedding invite – the inclusion (or not!) of parents or anyone who is helping to pay for the day.

Traditionally, the invite was worded and sent from the bride’s parents, who would have single-handedly coughed up the whole wedding bill, making them the hosts.

This scenario rarely happens at most weddings these days, but parents may still get a mention on your wedding stationery. You might have seen something like: ‘With their parents, Maude and Eleanor would like to invite you…’, which gives a nod to parental support without taking the ownership away from the couple.

The role of parents as the hosts of a wedding is now a little outdated, though, and it’s reasonable to view such contributions as a gift to you, for you to spend and plan to match your needs and priorities. So if you just want you and your beau’s names on the invite, I think it’s totally reasonable to do so.

...And the gift registry dilemma...

Another issue is the gift registry. Do you include it on your invite or not? I’ve seen plenty of both, but etiquette dictates you omit it and let the details get around by word of mouth. Why? Well, it’s considered impolite in traditional circles, although I'm not so sure it matters, although perhaps I'm almost too practical.

Your decision on gift registry mentions all comes down to how much you care if you offend any particularly traditional guests – along with how much faith you have in your guests to find out the information via word of mouth or via your wedsite – and, of course, what makes you the most comfortable.

There are so many online examples of wording, but don’t just copy and paste the first one you come across – save, pin or print your favourites, and let the ideas percolate for a few weeks.

Optional extras.

You may also want to include:

• A map and directions

• Food choices and return instructions, if needed

• A menu, if food choices not needed

• A rough schedule of the day (don’t get too specific because with months to go, things may shift slightly)

• Details of local hotels for those who are travelling/wish to stay

• Details of any local public transport, or of any transport you’re providing for guests

• Song request slip and return instructions (to pass on to the DJ)

• An elaboration on your child policy. This can help prevent parents taking offence, although really most will understand. Again, plenty of wording inspiration online. Be sensitive and express ‘regret’ but don’t feel you have to apologise.

What have I missed? Share below what else your kick-ass wedding invitations include, and any other issues you and your partner are doing battle with in the arena of invites.

Tags: invitations, planning, same-sex, family, etiquette, ideas, guests

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