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Phrasing on Wedding Invitation Stirs Up Confusion

DEAR ABBY: My fiance and I are in the process of ordering our wedding invitations, and the phrase "the honor of your presence is requested" versus "the pleasure of your company is requested" is causing a problem.

The woman at the store insists we use the latter because the ceremony won't be in a church. My research on the internet says if the ceremony is a religious one, the phrase "the honor of your presence" is appropriate, and it is also our preference. However, if the ceremony is a civil one, the "pleasure of your company is requested" is the preferred one.

Our minister will be performing the ceremony in the gazebo at the country club. Although it's not a church, the ceremony will certainly be religious. What's the proper etiquette on this issue? Invitations are on hold until I hear from you. -- DONNA IN FLORIDA

DEAR DONNA: The salesperson at the store is mistaken. The wording on your wedding invitation is not determined by whether you are being married in a church.

I ran your letter by Lisa Grotts, a San Francisco Bay-area certified etiquette expert, who had this to say:

"The wording of wedding invitations varies, depending upon who is hosting the wedding, i.e., the parents of the bride or groom. If the bride's parents are hosting, then the phrase 'the honor of your presence' is correct. However, if you and your fiance (or other family members) are hosting the wedding, then the more modern terminology 'the pleasure of your company' is preferable."

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