How Do I Word a Wedding Reception Invitation

Wondering how do I word a wedding reception invitation? The good news is that you're not bound by the same strict rules of etiquette that govern the wedding invitation itself. A reception invitation can be a little looser, as long as you remember to include all of the needed information.

Formal or Informal?
How you word your reception invitation depends on whether you are having a formal or informal wedding. A formal wedding requires a formal invitation. Most formal weddings include a separate reception card, especially if the reception and wedding are held in two separate locations. Most luxury wedding invitations will include reception cards. If you're doing it on your own, the reception card itself should be on similar stationery.

If your wedding is informal, you may just jot a note at the bottom of the wedding invitation informing your guests that a reception will follow. If it's in a different location than the ceremony, include the name of the venue.  

Reception Invitation Essentials
Spending a fortune on fancy stationery and wedding invitation envelopes won't help if you're missing the essential details of the event. All too often, brides get caught up in how everything looks, only to discover they've forgotten to include what time the reception will be held.

At a minimum, you need to tell guests where the reception will take place, what time it begins and what will be served. If a choice of dinner items will be offered, list them on the RSVP card and let your guests check off their preference.

Wording for a standard reception would look something like this:

Join us for dinner and dancing
Sunday, June first, two thousand ten, at six o'clock in the evening
The Hilton
Michigan Avenue

If children can't attend, be sure to note this:
Adults-only cocktail and reception following the ceremony
Sunday, June first, two thousand ten, at nine o'clock in the evening
Hotel De Pere
11 Wilmington Avenue

Be sure to let guests know if dinner, cocktails or simply dessert is on the menu:
The pleasure of your company is requested at a dessert reception
following the ceremony at the home of
Mr. and Mrs. John Doe
15 Cardinal Lane

Wedding breakfast immediately following ceremony
at the residence of Mr. and Mrs. John Doe
17 Rose Court

Black tie Reception and Dinner
On Sunday, June first, two thousand and ten, eight o'clock in the evening
Lenox Country Club
1515 Sandstone Way

For a less-formal occasion, you can simply provide a schedule. In this case, you don't need to use the formal method of writing out times and dates.

Cocktails served at 6:00 PM
Dinner served at 8:00 PM
Dancing, 10:00 PM until midnight
On Sunday, June1st, 2010
The Hilton
1515 36th Avenue
Chicago, Illinois

What to Include
For all reception invitations, be sure to list the start time, the day, the date and the location. Day and date should appear next to each other, as in Sunday, June 1, 2010. It's not an unforgivable offense to omit the day and just offer the date, but it's much easier for your guests to remember if you include both.

On a formal invitation, write out the numbers, including the year. On an informal invitation, you can use numbers for the date and the year.

The address of the reception doesn't need to be on the reception invitation. If most of the guests know the location, or you're having it at a local landmark, just put the name of the site. If it's hard to find or unfamiliar, include the street address.

Even if most guests know the location, include a separate sheet of paper with driving directions and parking instructions. This doesn't need to be on the same stationery as the rest of the invitation, but it should be printed neatly on a piece of paper that guests can stick in a pocket or purse.

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