Sep 27

Rules for writing time on an invitation

One of the essential parts of an invitation is the time of the celebration.

But how should you write the time in the wording on your invitation? Is it correct to use an A.M. or P.M. after the time on an invitation?

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Could the time on your invitation be confusing? If your party starts at 4p.m., the “p.m.” is not needed. Only a crazy person would start a party at 4 a.m. (and if you do start a party at 4 a.m., please put the “a.m.” on your invitation).
    If the party starts at 9 p.m. and it is a breakfast party, then please use the P.M. designation. You don’t want people showing up in their jammies at 9 a.m. for your pancake fiesta.
  • Are you having a formal celebration? (wedding, shower, rehearsal,…) Don’t use A.M. or P.M. Don’t use these abbreviations. And state 1/2 hour starting times as “half past” – for instance, if the wedding starts at 4:30 p.m., your wedding invitation should say “half past four o’clock“. Correct formal invitations don’t even use numerals – it is proper to spell out the time using words instead of digits (use “six“, not “6“). If there is any doubt about whether the time is in the morning or the evening, use the words “in the morning” and “in the evening
  • Does the party start or end at 12:00? Use “noon” or “midnight” so that your guests will not be confused.
  • Is your celebration informal? Sure, use A.M. or P.M.
  • Is this a military celebration? Use military time. Can’t remember how to convert to military time?  If the time is after noon, add 12 to it. For example, 9 p.m. is 21:00 in military time. 11:00 p.m. is 23:00.  Midnight is 24:00.  Start over at 0:00 after midnight.

If you’ve decided to use A.M. or P.M. on your invitations, the experts say to use both the letters and the periods (a.m. and p.m.). But we at Poly Graphics will print your invitations any way you would like them. Part of learning and knowing the rules is to know when they can be broken. It is perfectly acceptable to use just the letters with no periods if you like them that way.

Hope that this helps,


P.S. Your goal when writing invitations is to get the important information to your guests. As long as they can figure out what time your party begins, you’ve given them what they need.

P.P.S. As Steve Miller says “time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ into the future

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2 Responses to “Is it necessary to have an AM or a PM on your invitations?”

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