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Q&A: Invitation Wording: How to State the Time?

Q.

I will be getting married at 5:30 p.m. How do I word the time on the invitations? I've heard "half after five" is appropriate, but I think it sounds stuffy. If "five thirty" is okay, should I hyphenate or not? Also, should I say "in the afternoon" or "in the evening?" I don't want my guests to think I'm having a formal, black-tie wedding -- plus it's summer and the sun will still be up, so I'm leaning toward "afternoon."

A.

"Half after five o'clock" is the traditional wording, but if you feel that sounds too formal, you can certainly use "five-thirty in the afternoon" or "in the evening." Also, "afternoon" is fine, for the reasons you've given, even though five-thirty is technically evening.

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