Wedding Invitation Etiquette: Religious & Cultural Customs

catholic wedding invitationLove. Amore. Amore. Amour. There are oh so many ways to say love. So it isn’t surprising that there are oh so many ways to get married.

Below, we cover the invitation etiquette for several different cultures, religions and customs. Because while the end result is the same, how the bride and groom get there is a unique and special experience as individual as a snowflake. Except so much more romantic.

Roman Catholic Weddings
Jewish Weddings
Mormon Weddings
Hispanic Weddings
Military Weddings
Double Weddings
Second Marriages

Roman Catholic Weddings

The Roman Catholic Church requires the posting of banns, the public announcement of a couple’s intentions to marry. The banns must be announced from the pulpit or in the church bulletin three times before the wedding. The traditional posting of the banns was the forerunner of today’s wedding announcements.

Catholics can be married in a simple wedding service or in a Nuptial Mass. A Nuptial Mass is a wedding ceremony performed as part of the Catholic Mass (or service). When the wedding ceremony will be a Nuptial Mass, the invitations should mention that a Nuptial Mass will be performed. Nuptial Masses are about an hour long. Placing the phrase “Nuptial Mass” on the wedding invitations alerts guests to the fact that the wedding will take a little longer than what they might be accustomed to.

Nuptial Masses were once performed only at or before noon, but are now performed in the afternoon as well. Unless special permission is granted by the bishop, Nuptial Masses may not be performed during Lent or Advent. As suggested by the invitations, the bride and groom are joined together in holy matrimony. Therefore, “and” is used instead of “to.”

top

Jewish Weddings

According to Jewish tradition, marriages are made in heaven. Men and women are brought together to marry one another by God himself. Women are not married “to” men. Rather, men and women are joined together in marriage. In recognition of this tradition, the joining word on Jewish wedding invitations reads “and” instead of “to.”

Jewish custom also celebrates the joining of the two families, so the names of the groom’s parents always appear on the invitations. Their names most properly appear beneath the groom’s name and a line reading “son of Mr. and Mrs. Solomon Lang” or on two lines reading “son of / Mr. and Mrs. Solomon Lang.” Their names may also appear at the top of the invitations beneath the names of the bride’s parents. This is done occasionally by parents of the bride who feel that they honor the groom’s parents more by placing their names at the top of the invitation. When this is done, the request line reads “at the marriage of.” The bride, in this case, uses her full name but no title. The groom’s title is omitted as well to maintain uniformity.

While it’s equally correct to use “at the marriage of their children” and “at the marriage of,” many people feel that if a couple is old enough to get married, they are no longer children.

Hebrew lettering is often used on Jewish wedding invitations. It may take the form of a quotation from the wedding blessing, blind embossed across the top of the invitations, or the entire invitation text may be reproduced on a part of the invitation. When the invitation appears in both English and Hebrew, the Hebrew version appears on the right-inside page.

top

Mormon Weddings

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are married or “sealed” for “time and eternity” in temples open only to practicing Latter-day Saints. Weddings are generally small and intimate, attended by family and very close friends.

The reception afterward is a much larger affair to which all friends and all members of the bride’s and groom’s extended families are invited. Since more guests are invited to the reception than to the ceremony, the invitations are for the reception. Ceremony cards enclosed with the reception invitations are sent to those guests who are also invited to the temple ceremony.

Invitations to Latter-day Saint wedding receptions differ from standard reception invitations in that they mention the wedding ceremony was performed in the Latter-day Saint temple. Because Latter-day Saints place great emphasis on the importance of families, the groom’s parents are honored by having their names mentioned on wedding invitations. Their names appear beneath the groom’s name, preceded by “son of” on a separate line.

Guests drop in and out of Latter-day Saint receptions. They arrive to congratulate the newlyweds and stay for a while to talk to friends and to renew acquaintances. Then they leave and go on their way. Consequently, the timeline on the invitations mentions the time period during which the reception will be held.

Ceremony cards draw a distinction between weddings held in a Mormon temple and weddings held elsewhere. When weddings are held in a temple, it’s so noted on the ceremony card.

While most Latter-day Saints do send their photographs with their invitations, it’s not proper to do so. The principal purpose of wedding invitations is to invite guests to your wedding. Anything else is superfluous. You may, of course, send photos in a separate mailing.

top

Hispanic Weddings You’re getting married: Felicidades!Here are our etiquette tips on how to have a perfectly proper Hispanic wedding:

  • Traditional invitations to Hispanic weddings are issued by both sets of parents.
  • The names of the bride’s parents are always listed first.
  • Hispanic invitations can be done in a number of different formats
    • They may be engraved on one page, in English or Spanish, with the names of the bride’s parents listed separately on the first two lines, “and” on the third line, and names of the groom’s parents listed on the next two lines.
    • They may also be engraved in both languages on the two inside pages of the invitations. The left-inside page may be engraved in Spanish and the right-inside page in English. When this format is used, the parents’ names appear as described above.
  • Another frequently used format for Hispanic wedding invitations is an invitation engraved on the two inside pages. In this case, the right-inside page is an invitation from the groom’s parents and the left-inside page is an invitation from the bride’s parents. Common copy, such as date, time and place, may be combined in the center of the invitation.
  • Customs may vary from one Latin American country to another. If you have any questions concerning the etiquette practiced in a particular country, it’s best to call the protocol officer in their consulate for answers.

top

Military Weddings

Invitations to weddings involving members of the United States armed services follow the same general guidelines used for civilian weddings. The format and the wording are the same. The only difference is in the use of titles: While civilians use social titles such as “Mr.,” “Mrs.” and “Doctor,” military personnel use their military titles, which many times include their rank and branch of service.

Military titles should not be abbreviated. Officers in the army, air force or marines with a rank of captain or higher use their military titles before their names. Navy and coast guard officers with a rank of commander or higher also use their military titles before their names.

When officers’ names are used by themselves, the name of their branch of service is mentioned on the line beneath their names. When their names are used with their spouse’s names, the branch of service is not mentioned.

Junior officers don’t use titles (neither military nor civilian) before their names. Their titles appear on a second line before the name of their branch of service. First and second lieutenants in the army both use “Lieutenant” only. In the air force and marines, however, “First” and “Second” are used. All members of the military use only their branch of service on a second line. Their ranks are not used.

High-ranking officers who retire generally continue to use their military titles. Their retired status is noted after their service designation. When the service designation is not used, as on invitations issued by a retired colonel and his wife, the officer’s retired status is not mentioned.


Parents of the Bride: Married
Parents of the Bride: Divorced
Bride’s Name
Groom’s Name

PARENTS OF THE BRIDE

Parents are Married

FATHER IS AN OFFICER

Colonel and Mrs. Andrew Jay Forrester

FATHER IS A JUNIOR OFFICER

Lieutenant and Mrs. Andrew Jay Forrester

FATHER IS A NONCOMMISSIONED OFFICER OR ENLISTED MAN

Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Jay Forrester

FATHER IS A RETIRED OFFICER

Colonel and Mrs. Andrew Jay Forrester

MOTHER IS AN OFFICER

Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Jay Forrester

or

Captain Mary Chance Forrester
United States Army
and Mr. Andrew Jay Forrester

BOTH PARENTS ARE OFFICERS

Colonel and Mrs. Andrew Jay Forrester

or

Captain Mary Chance Forrester
United States Army
and Colonel Andrew Jay Forrester
United States Army

BOTH PARENTS HOLD THE SAME RANK

Colonel and Mrs. Andrew Jay Forrester

or

The Colonels Forrester

or

Colonel Mary Chance Forrester
United States Army
and Colonel Andrew Jay Forrester
United States Army

top, Military Weddings

Parents are Divorced

FATHER IS AN OFFICER

Mrs. Mary Chance Forrester
Colonel Andrew Jay Forrester
United States Army

FATHER IS A JUNIOR OFFICER

Mrs. Mary Chance Forrester
Andrew Jay Forrester
Lieutenant, United States Army

FATHER IS A NONCOMMISSIONED OFFICER OR ENLISTED MAN

Mrs. Mary Chance Forrester
Andrew Jay Forrester
United States Army

FATHER IS A RETIRED OFFICER

Mrs. Mary Chance Forrester
Colonel Andrew Jay Forrester
United States Army, Retired

MOTHER IS AN OFFICER

Captain Mary Chance Forrester
United States Army
Mr. Andrew Jay Forrester

top, Military Weddings

BRIDE’S NAME

OFFICER

Commander Jennifer Marie Forrester
United States Army

JUNIOR OFFICER

Jennifer Marie Forrester
Ensign, United States Navy

NONCOMMISSIONED OFFICER OR ENLISTED WOMAN

Jennifer Marie Forrester
United States Navy

top, Military Weddings

GROOM’S NAME

OFFICER

Major Nicholas Jude Strickland
United States Marine Corps

JUNIOR OFFICER

Nicholas Jude Strickland
First Lieutenant, United States Marine Corps

NONCOMMISSIONED OFFICER OR ENLISTED MAN

Nicholas Jude Strickland
United States Marine Corps

top, Military Weddings

Double Weddings

The elder sister’s name appears first on invitations for a double wedding ceremony for sisters. When a double wedding ceremony is performed for brides who are not sisters, it’s best to send two separate invitations.

top

SECOND MARRIAGES

Sometimes, the second time is the charm.

When either the bride or both the bride and the groom are re-marrying, the wedding invitations are issued by the bride and groom themselves.

A bride who is being married for the first time to a groom who is marrying for the second time, typically, has her invitations issued by her parents. In other words, it’s the bride’s status that determines the wording of the invitation. The groom’s previous martial status is not a factor.

How should the invitations for my second marriage be worded?
Second-time brides who are divorced use just their first, middle and last names on their invitations. No title is used. Whenever the bride’s title is omitted, the groom’s title is also omitted. This keeps the wording of the invitations consistent.

Widows marrying again properly use “Mrs.” followed by their deceased husband’s name. A young widow, however, may have her parents issue her invitations, even if they issued the invitations to her first wedding. A young widow uses her first, maiden and married names. No title is used.

The most formal wording for a second marriage omits the invitational line. A less formal, but still correct, wording places the bride’s and groom’s names at the top of the invitation.

My parents sent traditional invitations for my first wedding. Is it proper for me to send traditional invitations for my second wedding?
Wedding invitations set the tone for the wedding, regardless of whether it’s a first, second or third wedding. If your wedding is going to be traditional, you should send traditional invitations. Many second weddings, however, are less formal.

The invitations to these weddings may be informal, too. Instead of an ecru letter sheet, a card bordered in a bright color or decorative design may be used. The invitation may be engraved or printed in ink to match the border. As a finishing touch, the envelopes may be lined in a matching color or pattern.

Some etiquette books claim it’s improper to have invitations to a second wedding engraved. Is this true?
The quality inherent to engraving exists whether you’re marrying for the first or second time. There’s no reason why the invitations to your second wedding cannot be as beautifully engraved as those to your first wedding. If you appreciate the quality of engraving, then by all means have them engraved.

I’m marrying for the third time. How should my name read?
Your first name, maiden name and second husband’s last name are used. Your first husband’s name is omitted entirely.

I’m divorced and getting remarried. May I use “Ms.” instead of “Mrs.”?
“Ms.” is never properly used on wedding invitations or on most other forms of social stationery. The use of “Ms.” is reserved for business correspondence and, under certain circumstances, the addressing of wedding invitation envelopes. If you like, you may omit “Mrs.” and use just your first, maiden and married names. If you do that, your fiancé’s title is omitted as well.

I’m a doctor. Is it proper for me to use my title?
If you’re a medical doctor, you may use your title on your wedding invitations. Your title precedes your name and no advanced degrees appear after it. “Doctor” should be spelled out, not abbreviated. Ph.D.’s do not properly use their academic title. My first wedding was an elopement.

This time around I’m going to have a traditional wedding hosted by my parents. How should my invitations read?
Your wedding invitations read as if this were your first wedding, except for your name. Instead of just your given names, your first, maiden and married names are used.

My first marriage was annulled. How should my wedding invitations read?
An annulment makes a marriage null and void. Therefore, you’re entitled to use your maiden name. On invitations issued by your parents, your full maiden name is used, not just your given names. Your maiden name, preceded by “Miss,” is used on invitations issued by you and your fiancé. Your titles may also be left off invitations that you and your fiancé issue.

How can we let our guests know that their gifts are not necessary?
While many couples don’t feel that gifts are necessary, many guests do. Asking them to not give you gifts deprives them of an opportunity to share their love with you. (It may also seem presumptuous.) Besides, the types of gifts given to older couples are different from those given to young ones. You may find yourselves as pleased with your presents as your guests are with giving them.

We’d like our guests to donate the money they would otherwise have spent on gifts to our favorite charity. How is that indicated?
Unfortunately, there’s no tactful way of doing that. While enclosing a card reading “In lieu of gifts we ask that you send a donation to the Special Olympics” may seem innocent enough to you, others may see it as presumptuous. It’s never proper to let your guests know that you expect anything from them —except the pleasure of their company.

top

5 thoughts on “Wedding Invitation Etiquette: Religious & Cultural Customs

  1. Pingback: Wedding Invitation Etiquette: A Line By Line Guide «

  2. Pingback: Wedding Etiquette: Reception Invitations & Late Receptions «

  3. Pingback: Now That My Campaign Is Over, I’d Like To Talk To You All About The Church Of Latter-Day Saints | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source « Ye Olde Soapbox

  4. Pingback: Cranes Wedding Invitations

  5. Pingback: Multicultural Wedding Spotlight: Cambodia meets America – A Cambodian Khmer Union | KolorBlind Mag

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s