Formal Invitation Etiquette – TIME

It’s time to play stump the expert again! We had a customer email us over the weekend asking how to specifically word a formal invitation’s time when you have a starting time and an ending time. My first gut-instinct was that you never put an ending time on a formal invitation…you only put the starting time. However, what if a situation yields itself to have an ending time necessary? For example, if a reception location hosts weddings all day long and you only have a four hour time period. We all know that in this economy, time is money, thus sometimes an end time is needed.

Let’s start by remembering the time table for what time means on a formal invitation and what time coordinates with which phrase, “morning, afternoon or evening”…

Morning 12:00 AM – 11:59 AM
Afternoon 12:00 PM – 5:59 PM
Evening 6:00 PM – 11:59 PM

When writing out the time on a formal invitation, you’ll need to use whole and half hours, completely written out. For example, 11:00 AM would be written as “at eleven o’clock in the morning”. If you have to use an end time, you will need to keep use of the “in the morning/evening” phrase at the end of the time. For example, 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM would be written out as “from six o’clock until ten o’clock in the evening”.

The customer I was assisting had an interesting situation to which her party began in the morning and ended mid-afternoon. When this occurs you must formally write the time as, “from ten o’clock in the morning until two o’clock in the afternoon”. This long winded sentence is not a favorite of mine either, however if you’re going to write the time out correctly, proper form must be used. On the alternative, you could always revert back to a more casual time-writing, “10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.”

Have more etiquette questions? Feel free to visit our complete invitation etiquette guide on!

Tags: how to write a starting and ending time on a formal inv, how to write the time, Invitation Etiquette, invitation timelines, write the time on a formal invitation, writing the time on an invitation

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