The Host Line: The first line of the wedding invitation is where you list who’s hosting the wedding. In times past, the bride’s family always hosted (and paid for) the wedding. Thankfully, those days are done. Hosting the wedding is, in the end, a (mostly meaningless) honor that you get to choose how to pass out. Both (or all) your sets/singles of parents can be listed as hosts. If you have five sets of parents and you want to list them all—go for it. One set of parents might be listed as hosts. You can host the wedding yourself, in which case the lines are reversed “Terry and Renee invite you to…” or the host line is omitted entirely. You can also make the host line more general “Together with their families.” There are two issues worth noting here. Firstly, no matter who says what in the course of guilting you, the host line on the wedding invitation isn’t for sale; it’s an honor that you should bestow in a way that makes you feel comfortable. Names are not listed in order of who paid more (or who paid at all). And secondly, this particular honor is generally only used for the living (since these people are, ostensibly, inviting you to a party). A common way to honor the dead is to alongside a member of the couple’s name as “Renee Smith, daughter of Beth Smith,” or “Renee Smith, daughter of Iris Milfrid and the late Beth Smith.”
The first line of the invitation is dedicated to the host of the wedding, also known as the party covering the expenses. Traditionally, the bride’s parents paid for the wedding but with changing times, the groom’s parents, bride and groom, or a combination of all three are contributing. There is no official order or requirement to list the names. It’s all up to personal preference.
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Now that you have the basics covered, it’s time to get specific. The first question is; who’s name goes first, the bride or the groom? Traditionally, whoever is hosting the wedding will get first billing. This is usually the Bride’s parents, making the Bride’s name the appropriate choice. In cases where there are co-hosts or two brides, the couple will have to decide for themselves. If you’re having difficulty, say the names out loud and see if any option has a better ring to it.
Host Line: This line is dedicated to honoring the host. This is typically the Bride’s parents and should begin with the father and then the mother. This is the formal way to write it, but with today’s etiquette, it’s very much appreciated to include both sets of parents. If you are paying and hosting the wedding yourself, place your own names starting with the groom.