Introduction to Same-Sex Wedding Invitation Etiquette

Melissa Desjardins Photography

Wedding invitations. On our best day, they can intimidate us. Between “the honour of your presence” and “the pleasure of your company” it feels like there are so many rules that you are just bound to make some monumental social error. Complicate them even further by trying to construct an invitation for a gay or lesbian wedding, and it’s surprising that more couples don’t simply elope!

Relax. It is possible to meet the social demands of Miss Manners and still accurately reflect the unique aspects of your same-sex wedding.

The Hosts

First, determine who will do the inviting. Who is hosting your wedding? The hosts traditionally issue the invitation, whether that includes one or both sets of parents, or the couple themselves, or some combination thereof. There are myriad rules for spelling, punctuating, and ordering the names, and it is totally acceptable for an LGBT couple to adhere to these structural rules while modifying the order of names and references to “he or she”, for example, to suit their personal situation. You can find whole compilations of invitation etiquette guidelines on the websites of stationers and on those of etiquette gurus like Emily Post.

The Ceremony

Many of the finer points of writing wedding invitations are associated with the formality, time, and location of your ceremony. Wording is modified for formal church weddings versus a casual morning wedding in the garden. When holding a church wedding, one “requests the honour” of guests’ presence, and honor is spelled with the “u” as is traditional in Great Britain. For other weddings, hosts “request the pleasure of” guests’ company. Other traditions that apply to all weddings, gay or otherwise, include spelling out “Doctor” in someone’s name; spelling out the date completely, down to the year; and not spelling out Mr., Ms., or Mrs. on the invitation itself. Again, consult any traditional resource for these rules – they apply to all.

Resources for Same-Sex Couples

There are as many different variations of wedding invitation wording as there are engaged couples, so where do you go to figure out the exact patterns for your situation? Etiquette gurus like the aforementioned Emily Post offer extensive web resources where you can search for your particular situation. Bridal forums, like those at WeddingWire.com and GayWeddings.com are great sources of peer and expert support. The etiquette of every aspect of gay weddings is still being written. Invitations are no different. Adapt what is socially traditional to the reality of your relationship and you should be able to avoid running afoul of even the most critical etiquette police.

Photo courtesy of Melissa Desjardins Photography

S. Walker is a freelance writer for GayWeddings.com.