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Wedding Ideas The essential guide to wedding invitations
The essential guide to wedding invitations

The essential guide to wedding invitations

Sending out your wedding invitations is an exciting moment for any couple. Your invites offer the first glimpse of what kind of big day you are planning and marks the official countdown to the wedding of the year (yours, of course!) At Hodsock Priory we’ve had the pleasure of hosting hundreds of beautiful weddings and our friendly team know everything there is to know about planning the perfect big day. Here we share our expert advice on wedding invitations, including the essential information you need to include and how to get the wording just right.

When to send out wedding invitations

Aim to send your wedding invitations 4 to 8 months before the big day. This gives your guests plenty of time to RSVP as well as arrange transport and accommodation.

What information to include on your wedding invitation

Let’s start with the basics. Whatever style day you’re planning and whatever wedding stationery design you opt for, there’s some essential information you need to include on every invite. These are:

  • Your names (traditional the bride’s name goes before the groom’s. For same sex couples you can choose whichever order of names you prefer.)
  • Your wedding date
  • Your venue (if you’re having the ceremony and reception in different locations make sure to list both, or just the reception address for evening guests)
  • The start time (guests know to arrive a little early for the ceremony so just write ‘ceremony starts at x’)
  • How to RSVP
wedding invitations laid out on wooden floor of Hodsock Priory
Credits: Photography – Emma Ryan | Wedding stationery – Paige & Co | Concept, styling & planning – In Awe Weddings

Who to address your invites from

Traditionally, a wedding is paid for by the bride’s parents, so they have typically been considered the hosts of the day. However, today in many instances it’s a combination of contributions from the couple and parents on both sides. If that is the case for you, think about wording such as: “Together with their parents, xxx and xxx would like to invite you…”

If you’re paying for the day yourself, the invite should come directly from you, for example: “We would love to invite you to join us for our wedding.”

Choose the right language

The type of language you use will really set the tone for the day, so consider whether you’d like a traditional celebration or a more informal wedding before you write your invitations. “Request the pleasure of your company,” is a popular option for more formal invites, while anything goes for informal celebrations.

bride and groom kissing outside Hodsock Priory
Credit: A Big Neon Glitter Photography

Let them know exactly who is invited

Avoid any tricky conversations by making it clear on the invitation who is invited to your day. If you’re sending to an individual, let them know if they can bring a plus one. If you’re sending an invite to couples with children, be sure to include whether children are invited or not – more on this later.

Be clear whether it’s an all-day or evening only invitation

The last thing you want is to deal with the awkwardness of an evening reception guest turning up for the full day unexpectedly. To avoid any confusion make sure you tweak the wording on evening only invites to make it absolutely clear. Although the start time usually gives a good indication, always be sure to include the words “Evening Reception” somewhere on your wedding invitations too.

What to include on an invite to an outdoor wedding

While the basic information and wording will be much the same for indoor and outdoor weddings, if you’re planning an outdoor ceremony or reception, it’s worth giving your guests some indication of this on the invitation. Something as simple as “Join us for our marquee reception in the garden,” helps let guests know what to expect (and provides the chance to choose the right kind of outfit or shoes to deal with whatever weather comes their way!)

Getting the ‘no children’ wording right

If you plan not to invite children to your wedding there are plenty of ways to let your guests know, clearly but politely. Something like “Due to numbers, we are unable to invite children to our wedding, but we really hope you’re able to come and celebrate with us,” or simply “We would like our special day to be an adult-only occasion,” will convey the message. If you’re inviting certain children (perhaps immediate family or children of the wedding party) or young babies, make this clear on your invites.

bride holding flower girls hand at Hodsock Priory wedding
Credit: Esther Louise Triffitt Photography

Talk about wedding gifts

While the prospect of including information on a wedding gift list or gifts of money may make you feel uncomfortable, the truth is most guests would love the chance to buy you a present to celebrate your wedding, so include details on your invites (or on a separate card). By all means start with something like, “The most important thing to us is having you with us to celebrate our day. But, if you would like to give a gift…” then include details of your gift list or honeymoon fund. Make it easy for guests to either buy a physical gift or make a monetary contribution with links to a wedding registry or honeymoon fund service.


Including a list of accommodation close to your venue is a thoughtful addition for guests who will be traveling and need to stay overnight. Be sure to cover a range of accommodation for different budgets and include a website or phone number for each one.


If you’re providing transport from the ceremony to your reception venue, make this clear on your invite. Alternatively, include details of local taxi companies and whether there is parking at the venue (including whether cars can be left there overnight).

bride and groom driving away in wedding car at Hodsock Priory
Credit: Jessica Sommerville

The menu

Consider listing menu options (if available) on a separate card along with your wedding invitations, for guests to make their selections when they RSVP. Make sure to ask your guests about any dietary requirements they may have, so you can pass this information on to your venue.


Typically set the RSVP date around 8 weeks before your wedding – this gives you enough time to chase up any of the inevitable late responses. Couples all have their preference on the best way to RSVP, and these can be:

  • By post
  • By text
  • By email
  • Through your wedding website

Try to offer your guests a couple of options to make it as easy as possible to respond quickly.

Planning your wedding at Hodsock Priory

There’s nothing quite like the excitement of planning your big day and, if you’re searching for the perfect country house venue, Hodsock Priory on the border of Nottinghamshire and South Yorkshire ticks all the boxes. Our award-winning, exclusive-use wedding venue is set in 800 acres of glorious countryside and our experienced team would love the chance to show you what makes it so special. If you’d like to find out more about Hodsock Priory or would like to book a viewing, just click here and we’ll get back to you straight away.

Credits for main image: Photography – Helen Rose Photography | Stationery – Ellie & Liv

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