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Whose Name Goes First On Wedding Invitation? [Traditionally]

Designing the wedding invitations is one of the most fun and creative parts involved in a wedding preparation. The opportunities are infinite! Yet, this can also cause quite a lot of confusion; especially with all the traditional wedding etiquette there is to follow. One common question that couples often ask is whether the bride or the grooms name goes first on the wedding invitations. With ours shortly due, I spent some time researching to find out exactly what you need to do.

So, whose name goes first on the wedding invitation? Traditionally, the first name of the bride goes first, followed by the full name of the groom. However, it has been known for the grooms name to come first, especially in instances where the grooms parents have paid for the invitations or a considerable amount of the ceremony. In the case of a same-sex wedding, the order will be a matter of personal preference and choice.

Thankfully, we have a lot of options when it comes to our invites. What is even better is that nowadays you do not necessarily have to spend time and money on a professional graphic designer!

The online space is abundant with numerous templates to design your own invitations and order them directly for print.

You can create a design that is completely personalized to your taste as a couple and that corresponds to the style of the wedding – from the bride’s dress to the tablecloths at the reception.

A design can be so many things: elegant, rustic, floral, gold, modern, simple and so much more.

Luckily, the times we are living in allow us to shift from strict rules and go out of the typical white, silver and pink wedding patterns. Even so, there are still some elements that need to be taken into consideration.

So, let us explore this very common question when designing a wedding invitation more closely. We’ll also be covering some of those other important questions you may have, including when you should be looking to send them out.

So, be sure to keep on reading to get all the information you need!

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Does The Man Or Woman’s Name Go First On Wedding Invitations?

The woman’s name traditionally goes first on a wedding invitation. This is the most common practice and people usually follow it.

Generally, it will be the brides first name (forename), followed by the grooms full name (forename and surname).

It is in fact a tradition that has can be traced since the invention of the wedding invitation!

Why Does The Bride’s Name Go First?

Traditionally, the bride’s name goes first because it is a custom the bride’s parents to host the wedding: that is to pay for it.

Therefore, one of the acknowledgements they are given is their daughter’s name to be placed first on the invitation.

After the wedding, the groom’s name can be placed first on the thank you notes.

Let us now look at the other main reasons for this particular ordering:

Personal choice

Of course, nowadays anything is possible and tradition is tradition but the couple is free to choose this detail.

Sometimes the parents pay only half of the wedding and the couple pays the rest.

Many contemporary couples marry later in life and by that time they are able of affording the whole wedding themselves.

Others go for very simple ceremonies and a very limited circle of guests, which makes the ceremony much cheaper.

Many people do not even reflect that much on the issue with names and place their names pretty randomly.

Ladies first

It is very gentlemanly to let your future wife have her name first because, hey, ladies first!

It is always nice to allow women small gestures sometimes such as opening the door for them or letting them walk in before you and the same can be applied for a wedding invitation.

The leader of the wedding

Most often the bride is the one that actually takes the lead organising the entire wedding. This is natural because her family would traditionally be in charge of the ceremony.

And also, which woman does like dealing with decorations, picturesque venues and fairy-tale dresses!

Since she is pretty much the entire driving force of the whole ceremony, it would be a nice acknowledgement if her name goes first on the invitations.

What About Same-Sex Weddings?

Same-sex weddings can be tricky in a sense whose name should be first. Let’s look at some suggestions!

Personal preference

If there is a personal preference the couple can discuss and decide together what each of them prefers.

Same-sex weddings are completely free from old-fashioned wedding customs and it is all about discussing!

Alphabetical order

Printing the names in an alphabetical order is very simple, fair and straightforward way to decide whose name goes first.

It takes a minute, no discussions required and no one will be left feeling offended.


If both people agree, they may choose the names’ order according any titles they may hold: For example, if one has a higher educational degree than the other, their name may be first or if one is let’s say a doctor or a PhD.

The level of the personal income may also play a role by placing the person who earns more first.

However, this may be offensive to the other side. It is advisable to discuss this in advance, if the decision will be based on titles and/or income.

What Is The Etiquette For Wedding Invitations?

The etiquette for the wedding invitation can be quite intimidating for the bride and sometimes the simplest things can prove difficult to decide.

However, with a bit of research and a couple of invitation drafts, the end result is very organized and simple.

Here is the most common etiquette when designing a wedding invitation aside from placing the names!

When Should The Wedding Invitations Be Sent Out?

Traditionally, wedding invitations should be sent out six to eight weeks before the ceremony, this is about two months prior.

Don’t send them any later than this because guests may not be able to clear their schedules. Some of them may have to travel, which takes additional planning.

You also do not want to send them out too early, because there is always the risk that they can be lost, forgotten or that you do not get the responses you initially had hoped for.

Some couple also choose to send save-the-date cards without any further details, just to allow their guests to literary save the date and not plan anything on this day.

This is done between six to eight months prior.

How Are The Guests Informed About The Dress Code?

The guests are informed about the dress code through the invitation.

This detail can be placed at the right low corner of the wedding by writing “black tie”, “cocktail event”, “casual attire”.

Also, sometimes the tone of the wedding or the font of the letters can imply a more formal or a more casual event.

Where Is The Return Address Placed On A Wedding Invitation?

The return address usually stays on the back flap of the envelope.

Where Should The Date And Time Lines Be Placed?

At the centre of the invitation, after the couple’s names. For formal events everything is written out in full and numerals should be avoided.

Should There Be Any Hosts Lines?

Traditionally, the bride’s parents host the wedding; that is they have paid for it.

The invitation may be issued from both the couple and the bride’s parents. It is more of a personal choice nowadays.

For example: “Mr Richard Bradshaw and Mrs Elizabeth Bradshaw invite you to the wedding of Natalie and James”.  

There is also etiquette for divorced, divorced and remarried parents and deceased parents but this is a subject of another article.

How Much Should You Spend On Your Wedding Invitations?

The average cost of wedding invitations is between $400 and $650. This price can vary depending on the number of guests, wedding theme, design and materials.

Some designs offer the options of decorating with real pearls, authentic lace or Swarovski crystals. If you want to save some money, you can design your own invitation by using online platforms with pre-prepared templates.

You will still have to pay for printing, shipping and any additional taxes that may apply.  

Should Registry Information Be Put On The Invitation?

No, registry information should not be included in the invitation.

This may imply that you are actually asking for presents, instead of enjoying this happy day with your loved ones.

How Much Time Should Be Given For RSVP?

Your guests will have an average of five weeks to rethink their schedules and inform you if they will be attending the wedding.

This is plenty of time and if anyone does not RSVP within five weeks then consider them not coming.

Do Ceremony Guests Need To Be Invited To The Reception?

According to standard etiquette everyone who attends the ceremony should be invited to the reception after.

Inviting guests only to the ceremony and not the reception is not a good idea and can turn out awkward and very impolite.


The bride’s name traditionally comes first and is followed by the groom’s name on a wedding invitation.

This comes from old time when the whole wedding used to be hosted by the bride’s parents. Placing her name first on the wedding invitation was a way of acknowledging that.

Nowadays, of course, traditions are not so strict and the couple can choose how to go about their wedding.

If it is a same –sex wedding, the names can be put in alphabetical order, by personal preference or by titles. Some couples do not even reflect on this anymore and place their names randomly.

The invitation itself is easy to organize but it may take some time and questions may arise.

Make sure full information about the date, place and time is included, include a return address, information about the dress code and select your guests carefully.

Avoid including registry and give your guests plenty of time to rework their busy schedules.

Hopefully this article has managed to answer many common questions that can come up when during this process. As you can see, its not as straightforward as you might have initially had thought!