I'm an American calligrapher living in France, designing a suite of wedding invitations for a Spanish bride living in London! Complicated enough? I can't really go to the bride with questions regarding traditional wording in the UK, though some quick google searches have shown me that in England they don't follow Emily Post's rules...

Could someone help me with a few of these?

  1. In America, one is invited to a wedding, not a marriage. It would be possible to request the pleasure one's company at a marriage ceremony, or a celebration of one's marriage... but NEVER simply the marriage. I've searched and haven't found any real authority on the British English of wedding invitation etiquette, and so I thought I'd ask here. Many online purveyors of wedding stationery with .co.uk addresses seem to prefer "marriage" instead of wedding, though this seems grammatically incorrect...
  2. I've always written out the date and avoided numerals for formal invitations-- "on Saturday, twenty seventh July, two thousand thirteen", but I'm seeing mostly Arabic numerals on .co.uk addresses (2013). Is this standard? Also-- the one example of a longhand date that I've seen on a UK site showed the year written as "two thousand and twelve". Two thousand twelve would be standard American, without the and. Can anyone clear this up for me?
  3. the last line of the invitation, which mentions the reception venue: "and afterward at the Crescent Room" ---- I'm seeing "afterwards", which sounds awful to me, but is perhaps standard English?
  • Shouldn't there be an 'of' between 'twenty-seventh' and 'July?'
    – user867
    Dec 6, 2012 at 0:10
  • It's generally best to ask separate questions separately. For example, the "two thousand and twelve" question has, I believe, already been asked and answered on this site (also, related). The marriage vs. wedding question, on the other hand, has always bugged me, too, and as far as I know, has not been asked here before.
    – Marthaª
    Dec 6, 2012 at 15:03

2 Answers 2


Afterwards would definitely be the preferred word in my experience.

Inviting somebody to a marriage does seem to imply that they are going to be houseguests for a good few years! It is regularly used though.

If the couple are personally inviting the guests then I would suggest “our wedding”. If one or both sets of parents are issuing the invitations then either is usable but I have normally seen “the marriage of…”.

(I’m English by the way)


The British authority on such matters is Debrett's. Recommendations on the wording for wedding invitations are given here.

  • 2
    Quite right: but Debrett's skate over OP's actual questions. And is compulsory in numbers; ?'afterward' would be a solecism, as being only marginally grammatical. Dec 5, 2012 at 16:52
  • 1
    Afterward, toward, and forward are all standard American English. Happy to use afterwards if that's preferred in England, but Afterwards sounds almost as wrong as Anyways to my ears. Thanks for the help!
    – Joy
    Dec 5, 2012 at 18:15
  • Any thoughts on the grammaticality of "wedding" vs. "marriage"? The ceremony or the institution ?? Debrett's uses "marriage", and doesn't spell out numbers. This is a very traditional wedding so I'll be looking for usage that is typically and historically formal, over what may be considered current.
    – Joy
    Dec 5, 2012 at 18:21
  • The choice between wedding and marriage is a matter of vocabulary rather than grammar. One of the Oxford English Dictionary’s definitions of marriage is ‘The action, or an act, of getting married; the procedure by which two people become husband and wife’. You will have tradition on your side if you follow Debrett’s advice. Dec 5, 2012 at 19:47
  • The link is no longer working, but typing Debrett's on Google worked well enough. The language used is very formal, polite and reminiscent of days gone by.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jan 28, 2014 at 7:18

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