Wedding Wednesday: Wedding Invitation Etiquette [Episode 77]


Today we’re answering all your wedding invitation etiquette questions! Including: whether or not to include your parents’ names on your invitations, who gets a plus one, when to send the invitations and more!



Episode breakdown

Should I include my parents’ names on my wedding invitations?

Including your parents’ names on your wedding invitation is completely optional! If you decide to go this route, there are several options available to you, each with an implied meaning. Today we’ll cover how to do it!

But first, traditionally, wedding invitations include a host line before the request to attend and then the names of the couple. The host line is where you might include some or all of the parents involved and the request to attend is often something like “the pleasure of your company” or “would love for you to join them”.

Something like this:

Host line

Request to attend

Names of the couple

Side note: Some of the examples below include formal titles and others don’t. How you choose to go about doing this is up to you and will be largely dependent on how formal your wedding is. The rule of thumb is that if you use titles for a parent, you should use them for all parents listed on the invitation. Consistency is key.


Partner A’s parents only

In the instance that Partner A’s parents are hosting the wedding (ie paying for it), you would put their names on the host line.

Example: “Mr Garth Hilton and Mrs Mary Hilton request the honour of your presence…”


Partner A’s parents (hosting) and Partner B’s parents (not hosting)

Here’s a way to include both sets of parents in the invitation, while implying that only Partner A’s parents are hosting.

Example: “Mr Michael Peterson and Mrs Leigh Peterson request the honour of your presence at the marriage of their daughter Jennifer to Matthew Brand, son or Mr Jeremy Brand and Mrs Jayne Brand…”


Both sets of parents

This implies that both sets of parents are hosting the wedding!

Example: “Mr and Mrs Collard and Mr and Mrs Yates request the pleasure of your company at the wedding of their children…”


All parents and couple

Let’s say you and both sets of parents are hosting (and paying for) the wedding. It’s possible to include everyone without individually naming each person.

Example: “Together with their parents, Glen and Kelly request the pleasure of your company…”


Deceased parent

If a parent is deceased but you want to mention them in the host line, try this…

Example: “Jane Kingsley, daughter of Mr. Adam Kingsley and the late Iris Kingsley…”


Divorced parents

In this instance, you can include all the names but you’ll want to keep each parent on a separate line. Stepparents can be added to the same line as their partner.

Example: “Mr Doug Johnson and Mrs Lydia Johnson

and Mr James Conway and Mrs Elizabeth Conway

and Mr Harold Smith and Mrs Karen Smith

invite you to the wedding of their children…”


When should wedding invitations be sent?

The pros say that six weeks before your wedding, you should send out invitations. Wedding invitation etiquette states that overseas guests should receive notice sooner. This will give them time to book flights and arrange accommodation.


How should I gather RSVPs?

There are a number of ways to do so, and we recommend selecting the one that is easiest for you. Less hassle is always a WIN!

  • Provide an email address or phone number on your wedding invitation.
  • Use a wedding website with an RSVP page. Put your website address on the invitation.
  • Send an RSVP card (and an envelope with a stamp) along with your invitation.

Note: Your RSVP date should be no sooner than three weeks prior to your wedding day. This will give you a week to follow up with people who haven’t RSVPed (it happens!) and give your final headcount to your caterer and venue two weeks before the Big Day.


Who gets an invitation?

Spend time compiling your guest list to ensure that you have not overlooked anyone. It is courtesy to include those you know cannot attend the wedding on your invitation list.


Should I invite children to my wedding?

This is a very personal decision that should be made by you and your Other Half. Our recommendation is to have one rule and stick to it. For example, you could invite any children that are in the bridal party (flower girls and page boys) or any children that are related to you (nephews, nieces and your own children), but nobody else’s. If you begin to make additional exceptions, guests could be offended.


What about plus ones?

This is another personal decision that should come with one rule. Etiquette says that widows and widowers should have the option of bringing a guest. Another rule might be that siblings and anybody on the bridal party can bring a plus one. A grey area may include a guest who has a partner that you haven’t met. The decision as to who you invite should be made by you and your Other Half, but be consistent so as not to offend anyone.