Putting all the information guests may need on your invitations is so important to avoid confusion and a barrage of questions later on as you're preparing for your wedding day. Use the below guideline on what I recommend you include in your invitations.
There are seven key things you need to include in the main wording on your invitation:
1. Guest name(s), including children's names IF invited
2. Host(s) names
3. Couple's names (if not hosting)
4. Wedding ceremony venue location
5. Day, month, year and time that the wedding will take place
6. Wedding reception venue location
7. RSVP details
Depending on who is hosting your wedding will affect how you word the beginning of your invitation. For example, if both sets of parents are hosting then you would use something like the example below:
Or if the wedding couple alongside both of their parents are hosting together then you may wish to use something a bit more like this:
Make sure your guests know how to get to your venue! Include directions if you think there may be a chance your guests could get confused about where to go and remember not everyone has access to reliable sat-nav. If necessary you may also want to include information on parking.
If you have out-of-town guests attending your wedding then include information on hotels available in the vicinity and any discounts available to them.
You may also want to include a separate reception card with your invitation as per below.
Wording etiquette is that if the reception is before 1 pm it is a "Breakfast Reception", after 1 pm you can just use "Reception" unless you want to highlight that there will be a sit-down meal in which case you should use "Dinner Reception".
You should aim to have all of your RSVPs back from your guests at least four weeks before your wedding as you'll need to finalise these numbers with several of your suppliers such as the venue and caterers.
Make RSVPing as easy as possible so your guests will respond on time. If you're going to include an RSVP card then don't forget to also include a stamp. Alternatively, you may want to direct your guests to your wedding website if you have set one of these up.
If you're giving your guests meal options then this is the place to ask them so you can give a count to your caterer. You'll also want to find out if any of your guests have any dietary requirements you may not be aware of so this can also be fed back to the caterer
TIP - number the names on your guest list and write the corresponding number on the RSVP card so if someone returns the card without their name or if you can't read their handwriting then you'll know exactly who it belongs to.
An optional extra is to provide your guests with a schedule of your day, especially if you're wedding spans multiple days and consists of a few events such as rehearsal dinner, welcome drinks, day-after brunch etc.