When is there reason to prefer "along with" over "alongside", or vice versa?

Received feedback, re a wedding invite:

Jane and Simon,
alongside Sam and Diane [i.e. Jane's parents],
cordially invite you ...

that it should be "along with". I thought these two phrases were interchangeable, and under the intentions of our copy (whimsical but adhering to standards) "alongside" seemed preferable.

I'd like to understand under what circumstances either choice is a better fit, and if my correspondent's advice is correct, how strictly it ought to be followed.

If it helps, my fiancée and I are American and everything is taking place in the US. Also the question is not about conventional wedding practices (that probably doesn't belong here at all), only the word usage.

  • I personally would just use with, especially if Sam is shelling out for the wedding and you're not mentioning the groom's parents. – KarlG Jun 13 '18 at 16:57

Alongside implies a physical location. For instance, "right next to."

1 : along the side : in parallel position
2 : at the side : close by · a guard with a prisoner alongside

Along with means in conjunction with, or part of a group.

1 : in addition to (something or someone) · a plane carrying heavy radar equipment along with full fuel tanks

2 : together with (something or someone) · A bill came along with the merchandise. · He worked along with several colleagues to finish on time.

In the example of the wedding invitation, in order for four people to have been alongside each other, they would have to have been physically huddled in a group, almost touching each other, when writing the invitation . . .


Please don't even think about "along…" anything. All you'd achieve would be to brand yourself a foreign speaker struggling. Any specific Answer to what you actually asked will leave many other questions - quite possibly dozens - unanswered with, to the extend you care, the possibility of spoiling your celebration.

When it matters in English Britain wedding invitations either come exclusively from the bride's parents or are seen as innovations, prolly whacky; quite possibly deviant.

Many "How to…" books in shops, let alone WWW pages through your search engine of choice, will explain why that's so, among hundreds of other things about weddings. Why would such books exist, let alone make profits, but that weddings are very, very much difficult than most brides-or-grooms-to-be ever imagine?

The real point is it can't matter what anyone here contributes. You need to speak in huge detail to half a dozen or more suppliers of all the goods or services you might need for your wedding including printers who, please remember, will prolly also be handling you orders of service and other stationery.

Printers who can guide you through the common pitfalls in terms that make sense to you might be right for you. Those who can't or won't, aren't. The same is true whether you're actually looking to pay a commercial printer, or listen to a few friends before printing everything yourself.

  • thanks for your attention here. I'm editing the question to reflect that we and the wedding are American. – jsharp Jun 14 '18 at 2:01
  • Good for you and can you explain three or four differences between American and any other English wedding protocol? Three or two, perhaps? – Robbie Goodwin Jun 22 '18 at 18:30
  • 1
    for what it's worth, the invitation issued by those to be wed is hardly deviant in my experience, leading me to think the strictures are more forgiving at least in my social circle than your answer would suggest. thanks again for your time. please consider dialing back your tone, it really makes this SE seem unwelcoming. I'm sure your intention is only to help and inform so i hope you'll accept the feedback and adjust accordingly. – jsharp Jun 24 '18 at 21:15
  • If “the invitation issued by those to be wed is hardly deviant in my experience” can you make that grammatically clear? If “the invitation issued by those to be wed…” and “the invitation…” mean the same, what’s the point? If “the strictures are more forgiving” in your social circle why are you posting queries here, rather than in your own circle? I suggest the strictures are not more forgiving in your social circle; just different, and if you know of any culture in which “strictures” about weddings are “forgiving” then please name it now, with examples, or forever hold your peace. – Robbie Goodwin Jun 30 '18 at 19:45

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