rustic wedding invitation with eucalyptus and twine

What to include in a wedding invitation: a complete guide

What to include in a wedding invitation? Well, you need the essentials, obviously but exactly how much extra detail needs to go in there? Do you have to include an rsvp card, what about menus? And is it really OK to mention gifts (or money instead of gifts)? I go through all of these questions time after time when I meet couples planning their wedding invites. As with most things wedding related, there are no right or wrong answers. But I do have some really useful guidelines that will help you decide exactly what to include in a wedding invitation.

modern calligraphy style wedding invitation with rose gold foil
Rose gold foil printed wedding invitation – a bespoke design

What to include in a wedding invitation – the essential who, where, when and how

First, and most importantly, you need to make sure you include all the details that relate to the wedding ceremony and reception itself:

WHO is hosting the wedding and who is getting married?

Now these could be the same things, if you as the couple are hosting. If not, maybe it’s parents, or you together with your parents or families. This is the opener for your wedding invitation. Then if it’s not you as a couple hosting you need to include your names too. And you’ll probably have questions about which name goes first. Don’t panic – I have you covered on that one.

Which name goes first on a wedding invitation?

WHERE and WHEN is the wedding?

Then you need to make sure you include the where and when for the ceremony and reception. So that’s the date, time, and venue for the ceremony as well as the venue for the reception that will follow (if it’s different from where the ceremony is being held).

HOW and when do you need your guests to reply by?

Finally, let your guests know how to reply to you and when by. I often talk about including your RSVP details. You can either do this with a printed wedding RSVP card, or you can simply include an email or phone number within your invitation details. Not sure what RSVP means? Go have a look at this post:

12 things you didn’t know about wedding RSVP cards

Remember, RSVP cards are really handy for collecting other info too. Things like dietary requirements, menu choices (more on those later), transport requirements and even song requests.

8 details you can include on your wedding RSVP cards

concertina wedding invites
A concertina style wedding invitation from my Green & White floral collection

How do you word those invitations now you have all the important details?

So once you’ve collected together all the important details to include in your wedding invitation you’ll be wanting to know how you go about putting that into the right wording. Do you want a formal, traditionally worded invitation or something more relaxed and casual? I’ve put some ideas together on my post here:

Wedding invitation wording ideas for UK weddings

a rustic wedding invitation with extra information and a reply card with menu choices

What to include in a wedding invitation information card

OK, that’s your basic wedding invite wording is sorted. But what extra information cards that you need to include? They form part of the invitation too. What goes on them? Well, lots of things. The secret is to give your guests just enough detail to arrive at your wedding informed and prepared. Don’t overload them with things they don’t need to know. Here’s a quick summary of the type of things that are most popular to include.

Include the full location details for all venues

Include the full address, postcode for sat nav and any other details that might make it easier for your guests to find. Don’t forget to do this for both your ceremony and reception venues if they are different. This is especially useful if it’s not a regular wedding venue, maybe a marquee or a barn.

Give a little more detail about timings

The actual invitation part should have the ceremony time. If you want your guests to arrive a little earlier for welcome drinks, or to be seated in time for the ceremony, tell them in your additional information. It’s also really handy if you let them know what time the party finished so they can book their taxi home. Did you know, the fancy way to say this is ‘Carriages at…..’

What does carriages at midnight (and other weird wedding invite lingo) mean?

What’s the situation with transport and parking?

If you are putting on any transport for your guests, let them know. Also, give them a heads up about the parking situation at the venue.

Is there accommodation at or near the venue?

Tell your guests if there is accommodation available at the venue and if there is, how to book. You can also include a few nearby alternatives.

autumn theme concertina style wedding invitation with a menu printed onto plantable seed paper
Concertina style wedding invitation, which includes menu choices, from my Autumn collection. This one is printed on plantable seed paper

Do you need to include a menu?

You only really need to include a menu if you are asking your guests to pre-order from a number of choices. If you are then it’s a good idea to give them a reply card with tick boxes too so that they can easily let you know what they’ve chosen. 

When and how to ask for menu choices in your wedding invitations

Do you have a specific dress code?

What dress code are you having for your wedding? Is it black tie, casual and relaxed, or cocktail dress? Let your guests know in the invite so that they can arrive in the correct attire.

Should you include a gift list or wish poem?

Is it really OK to include a gift wish or a poem about preferring a monetary gift in your invitation? In my experience, it is generally the norm now, so if you feel comfortable with it, go ahead.

Is it OK to ask for money instead of gifts in your wedding invitations?

What are the arrangements for children?

Traditional etiquette says that you should not assume your children are invited unless they are named on the invitation. Many couples choose to include a little note in their guest info to further clarify this.

blush wedding rsvp cards and extra details
Wedding invitation, information and reply cards from my Modern Monogram collection

Want to read more about what to include in a wedding invitation details card?

9 things you can include on a wedding invitation information card

So that’s it, my comprehensive guide to what to include in a wedding invitation. You absolutely need to make sure you include all the essential details – the who, where, when, and how (to reply). How you put these details together and what words you use is entirely up to you. You can choose a very formal, traditional style or wording or something more relaxed or contemporary. For the additional information cards, try to give your guest enough information to arrive for your big day prepared and relaxed. Don’t overload your wedding invitations with unnecessary detail. Remember, other than a save the date, the invitation is the first glimpse your guests will have of the celebration to come. It should set the tone for the big day and let them know what kind of event to expect.

This blog is part of my Wedding Stationery Guides series, read more of them here:

Click here to see what’s on my Wedding Ceremony Stationery Checklist

Click here to see what’s on my Wedding Reception Stationery Checklist

Click here to download your complete printable wedding stationery checklist

Hi, I’m Jo and I have been doing this since 2006! When you book your wedding stationery with me, I will guide you through the process of deciding what to include in a wedding invitation. I have many more, in-depth guides and checklists that my clients gain access to when they book with me. I help to make the whole process stress free and enjoyable. If you’d like to know more about how I can help you with your wedding invites and stationery, drop me a message via my contact page or check my online calendar and book a quick chat to find out more.

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