Once you decide on your wedding venue, you’ll want to figure out just how formal (or informal) you want your wedding to be. After all, just because you’re getting married in a rustic barn doesn’t mean you can’t ask everyone to wear ballgowns and tuxes! In fact, when it comes to wedding dress codes, you can choose anything from casual to semi-formal, cocktail and black-tie (about as formal as you can get). If you’re hoping for the latter, you’ll want formal wedding invites to follow suit.
What is a Formal Wedding?
When we talk about a formal or semi-formal wedding, we are almost always talking about attire. You’ll want to include this information for your guests on your wedding website. Alternatively, you can also include it on a reception card in your invitation suite, or on the bottom right of your invitation.
While you can have your wedding ceremony in a religious venue or the same location as your reception, other things you’ll want to consider aside from attire are your catering and decor. A plated meal is typically the norm for a formal wedding, and a full bar with spirits, wine, and beer are generally expected.
When it comes to entertainment, think big! Big bands or a DJ with a great sound system and plenty of room to dance top the list. You can also add in other entertainment that doubles as wedding favors, such as a caricature artist that will draw fun pictures for guests. You could even consider a tarot card reader. Just make sure the number you of artists you hire corresponds with the number of guests. It’s disappointing if you want to partake in the fun and have to wait in too long of a line!
What Your Formal Wedding Invites Should Include
When it comes to your invites, a formal wedding invitation will have a classic look and feel to it, especially when it comes to the shape. (Think square or rectangular and other traditional designs). You’ll also want to make sure you’re using the proper wedding invitation wording, especially for a formal wedding. This is where wedding invitation etiquette comes into play, and you’ll want to make sure your invite has all the necessary wording, line by line. This will include the host line, request line, names of couple, date & time, location (include the full street address but do not include the zip code!), reception info (IE: “dinner and dancing to follow”), and the optional dress code. You do not want to include any abbreviations in a formal wedding invite, especially for state or street addresses. For example, “avenue” is always spelled out, as are California and Georgia.
Formal wedding invite wording would likely use “pleasure of your company” or “honor of your presence” if getting married in a religious venue (the British spelling for “honour of your presence” is also common for a formal wedding) as well as “celebration of their marriage.” You would also consider using the couple’s full names, including their middle names and the bride’s last name as well.
WGM Says: To make sure you’re getting your wording right, try our wedding invitation wording tool. Simple enter in your wedding info, and the tool will do all the work for you.
What Should a Formal Wedding Invitation Include?
Formal wedding stationery should include the wedding invitation and rsvp card, as well as any other inserts you wish to use such as maps, reception card (if it is separate from your ceremony location), accommodations card, and an inner envelope if you choose. You can read here about how to assemble wedding invitations once you have all your supplies.
And because this is a formal wedding, accessories are always welcome. Consider using belly bands, wax seals. (Shop our favorite accessories on Minted!)
Ready to shop for elegant wedding invitations? We picked out our favorite formal wedding invitations on Minted, below. They are such a great resource for all types of styles and designs, with prices starting at $2.51 for 100 classic, 5×7 invites. You can shop their entire formal collection here. And don’t forget to use the code WGM20 to get 20% off!
The Best Formal Wedding Invites
‘Inlay’ by Pixel and Hank
Real gold foil adorns this clean and elegant wedding invitation that features a restrained textured border.
‘Someone Like You’ by Design Lotus
This modern minimal design is classically understated.
‘Dawning’ by Carrie O’Neal
A perfect blend of modern and classic that will work for a variety of venues.
‘Initial’ by Jennifer Postorino
A script initial sits atop classic type in this traditional wedding invitation that comes in our latest color obsession, sage green.
‘Pen’ by Lori Wemple
Letterpress always looks beautiful for formal wedding invites, especially with a design as clean and whimsical as this one. Minted’s letterpress invites are printed on thick, soft paper on vintage Heidelberg presses, resulting in a beautiful texture.
‘Happiness x 2’ by Melanie Kosuge
A Chinese-wedding inspired ‘Double Happiness’ invitation featuring geometric line art and traditional motifs. Available in classic ruby, blush, mist, water lily, and more color options.
‘Black Tie’ by Ashley Rosenbaum
An elegant and glam wedding invitation whose name is spot-on for the type of wedding it works for!
‘Ahava’ by Ana de Sousa
Featuring the word ‘love’ in Hebrew, this invitation looks beautiful foil-pressed, however you can also get it without.
‘Anson’ by Kristie Kern
While this fresh yet traditional design comes in 8+ colors, we love it in the ‘Latte’ option shown here.
‘Adorned Ampersand ‘ by Jennifer Postorino
Looking to make a statement but still be timeless? This simple and elegant wedding invitation features classic type and a delicately embellished ampersand.