Formal or Informal Wedding Invitations?

Wedding invitations are one of the first items you will select for your wedding. There are a few steps involved and some details to consider when finding the right fit. If you have begun your search, you have probably noticed there are thousands of options out there and it can seem a bit overwhelming!  Here is a guide to helping you select and personalize the right set for you.

The first question you need to ask is…are you hosting a formal or an informal wedding? Formal wedding invitations are considered to have a “proper” look and the wording is remarkably different from the casual invite. If you are moving in the formal direction, choose invitations that use a tissue liner in the center with an exterior envelope to protect the invitation itself. While a few physical characteristics may vary, the key distinction is in the verbiage.  Here are a few wording details that may diverge in a formal invitation:

  • They are sent by the “host” of the event using a formal or proper name and a title.
  • Middle names are included.
  • “Request the honour of your presence” is often used over statements such as, “please join us”.
  • The time and date are spelled out such as, “Saturday, the twenty-fifth of May at seven o’clock in the evening.”
  • The city and state are included and fully spelled out.

A casual wedding invitation creates a canvas for creativity and character. These invitations may appear more simple or imaginative and allow the use of informal wording such as:

  • We are saying “I do!”
  • “We have found our happily ever after. Join us in celebrating!”
  • The date and time do not need to be spelled out in a formal way.
  • You can include the name of a particular host or just let your guest know they are invited in any creative form.

If you are unsure about which invitation best suits your wedding motif, click here for your wedding invitation guide

When to Add “Plus One” on a Wedding Invitation

Traditional etiquette does not require you to add that sometimes dreaded “plus one” to your wedding invitations.  Although, sometimes it is necessary.  Here is a guide for determining when a date should be included, and when it is optional.    


Married and Engaged Couples:

A guest who is married should always bring their spouse, no question.  But, did you know this rule also applies to engaged couples?  Take it as a compliment if you catch the soon-to-be-hitched pair taking a few notes!

Long Term Relationships:

If you are inviting a friend who is involved in a “long-term” relationship, consider allowing them to bring their significant other.  There are differing opinions over what qualifies as “long-term,” but in this case, you get to decide.  Contemplate these factors:

  • Are they exclusively involved?
  • Are they pursuing their relationship beyond casual dating?
  • Have they been together for an extended period of time?

Close friends and family should take priority when finalizing your guest list, so don’t feel pressure to include a “plus one” in this situation. A good friend should support your decision!

Live-in Significant Others:

Couples who live together, but have no finalized plans to tie the knot, should be treated the same as those in a long-term relationship.  If you have extra space, let this “plus one” take priority over another’s casual date.  But if your guest list is tight, sharing a roof doesn’t mean they can’t spend a little time apart for your wedding!


Each circumstance will need to be considered on a case by case basis. If you face controversy over your decision to not include a “plus one,” honestly explain to your guest why you made your decision. Inevitably, you should share your special day with the list of your choice!