What (and What Not) to Say

We all know that you're not supposed to list where you're registered on the wedding invitation, right? Good! But many couples encounter situations that they feel might merit a quick mention on the wedding invitations. However, with few exceptions, nothing but the standard date, time, and location of the ceremony should be listed on the actual invitation.

By the Way …

How can we let guests know we'd prefer black tie? The words “Black Tie Invited” at the bottom of your invitation will let guests know that you're planning a formal wedding. However, you can't mandate tuxedos, suits, or any other type of dress.

Can we write “No Smoking” on the wedding invitation or reception card? While it's okay to forbid smoking at your reception, you shouldn't print that on the invitation. Just leave the ashtrays off the tables, place small “No Smoking” cards on each table, and be sure the wait staff knows your wishes. Depending on your venue, smoking may not be allowed or may only be allowed in designated areas.


Strictly speaking, “The honor of your presence is requested” is wording reserved for those getting married in a house of worship. If your wedding is not at a house of worship, try “You are cordially invited” or “Request the pleasure of your company” instead.

Is there a way to indicate on the invitation that children aren't desired at the wedding? This should not be indicated on the invitation; it is implied by the inclusion or exclusion of the child's name on either the outer or inner envelope. If the child's name is excluded, the parents should understand that children aren't invited. However, not everybody will get these subtle hints, so be sure that your mother and anyone else who may be asked are aware of your policy.

Gifts Galore

How can I let people know where we are registered? Registry information should not be included with the wedding invitation. Have your mother, future mother-in-law, wedding party, and other family members pass that information along when and if they are asked what you would like or where you are registered. Posting that information on your wedding website is also acceptable.

Some of my guests are not in a position to buy gifts. Can I request that people not buy us gifts by printing “No gifts, please” on the invitation? Such a request is not proper on an invitation. A handwritten note to specific guests will do the job. For example, “We look forward to seeing you at our wedding, and we are asking our friends not to bring gifts. Your presence in itself will be as fine a gift as we can imagine.”

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