Invitation Advisor: Tips for Venue and Reception Wording on Your Wedding Invitations

March 13, 2012 § 2 Comments

from Martha Stewart Collection by Crane & Co.

Whew! Have to admit I played hooky the last couple days of last week – too much excitement from the Hitched by Hip Ink launch!

But, today we’re back with a continuation of our in-depth series on invitation wording (using the word in-depth is awesome and makes things sound very important, like we’re on 60 Minutes!) – looking at how to word your venue information, as well as wording for receptions.

I’m sure you can’t handle the excitement, so let’s get to it 😉

While I will admit that venue wording isn’t as tricky or dramatic as some of the other things we’ve talked about, I do think it’s important to know how things are done traditionally, as well as what’s currently in favour.

I’m actually going to talk about venue and reception wording together, as one often has an impact on the other.

There are basically two options here: ceremony and reception at the same location, or ceremony and reception at different location. Yes, technically you could have a ceremony or reception-only invite, but for today’s purposes, we’ll just pretend that doesn’t exist to save me from getting carpal tunnel and you from eye strain. If you’re in the situation where you need to do a ceremony or reception-only invite, just as Uncle Google – he always knows how to help.

Ceremony and reception at the same location:

Traditionally speaking, you would usually see the following:

“Saturday, the ninth of June, two thousand twelve
at six o’clock in the evening

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel
Toronto, Ontario” 

Notice you don’t use the word “at”. You don’t need to say “at” Chuck E. Cheese on an invitation, just name the venue, and people will get the idea. Second, notice that the street address is missing. Traditionally, and formally, an invitation does not include a street address – simply the city and state/province. Back in the day the reason was that most people knew exactly where the venue was, because there weren’t many choices and most of them would be local anyway. These days, well – times have changed. There are tons of traditional and non-traditional wedding venues, and many, many guests are travelling and unfamiliar with the city where the venue may be located.

It is acceptable these days to put the venue’s address on your wedding invitation. I just think it’s unattractive and unnecessary – strictly personal opinion. I feel that the address doesn’t belong on your invite – that’s what a direction/guest info card or wedding website or GPS or the internet or whatever is for. I may be in the minority on this one, but I don’t think THAT much hand-holding is necessary for guests. I’m not saying that the address shouldn’t be somewhere in your invitation package (one reason I’m a fan of the catch-all Guest Information card), just that it doesn’t necessarily belong directly on your wedding invitation. That said, it’s not “wrong” to include the address at all.

As for the actual venue information, how should you word it? I have to say that because of my stance on not including the address, I think very specific and detailed wording is necessary for the name of your venue. I like to include exactly what the venue is, ie. St. Francis Xavier Roman Catholic Church, Four Seasons Hotel, Carmen’s Banquet Centre, Spencer’s on the Waterfront Restaurant. If it’s a hotel or banquet hall that has multiple rooms, it’s also acceptable to include the specific room (ie. Main Ballroom, Vancouver Room etc.) – although that information can also appear elsewhere.

What if it’s not a place with a name? What if it’s your backyard or a public space or something similar? In that scenario, I do think you can include the address if you’d like, although again, it’s not 100% necessary on the invite if you’ve got it elsewhere as well.

And what about the reception?

If the reception is at the same venue/location, you can include reception wording directly on the invite (either as part of the main wording or as “corner copy”, meaning in smaller text in the lower right-hand corner of the invite).

You can use all sort sorts of wording, like:

“Reception immediately to follow”

“Dinner and dancing to follow at 6 o’clock”

“Join us for revelry and merriment after the ceremony”

…whatever “fits” with the tone of your celebration. Just remember that if the reception does not immediately follow the ceremony, that should be made clear by giving a start time for the reception itself – guests are much happier and more comfortable when they know what to expect. Also, I think it’s important to specify what type of reception guest should expect – ie. cocktails and hors d’oeuvre, dinner, light refreshments, whatever. If what you are doing is non-traditional in any way, give your guests a heads up to make sure your celebration runs smoothly.

Ceremony and reception at the same location:

Traditionally in this case you would use a separate Reception card, inviting guest to the reception. Again, the wording is fairly flexible – you might say something like the following:

“Please join us at a reception in honour of the new
Mr. and Mrs. Jingleheimer Shmidt  

at six o’clock in the evening
Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Grand Ballroom
181 Wellington Street West, Toronto, Ontario”

You can pretty much word it in any way that communicates the information and fits with your invitation wording.

These days, it’s becoming more rare to see reception cards, and I frequently have couples who ask for all of the wording to be on the main invitation. Again, I would say it’s totally acceptable to do so at this point, although I do think a reception card is still de rigueur for very formal events.

As for the rest, much of the above still applies; however, it’s important in this case that it’s completely clear that the ceremony and reception are at two different locales and the exact time that each starts. In many cases guests may have to amuse themselves in the break between the ceremony and reception, so make sure they know exactly how much time they will have to kill.

So, what’s left? Well, we do have a few odds and ends to talk about next week when we wrap up this series on invitation wording, and we may even have some juicy controversy, so do come back 😉

§ 2 Responses to Invitation Advisor: Tips for Venue and Reception Wording on Your Wedding Invitations

  • TonyHudson says:

    Your web site is great. I am impressed by the details that you have on this site. Thank you.

  • […] The Invitation Blog has come up with some simple tips for correctly wording the venue and reception locations on your wedding invitations, and they even break down scenarios to help you remember when to use a specific style. Lets check those tips out. There are basically two options here: ceremony and reception at the same location, or ceremony and reception at different location. Yes, technically you could have a ceremony or reception-only invite, but for today’s purposes, we’ll just pretend that doesn’t exist to save me from getting carpal tunnel and you from eye strain. If you’re in the situation where you need to do a ceremony or reception-only invite, just as Uncle Google – he always knows how to help. […]

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