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Invitation Wording For Smart Cookies Part 2 | Manolo for the Brides

Invitation Wording For Smart Cookies Part 2


Yesterday we talked briefly about the standard forms for wording wedding invitations… and now we start getting into the finer points. What do you do when your parents have divorced? What if they’ve remarried? Multiple times? What if one of your parents has, sadly, passed on?

Not to panic. There are forms that have developed over time, because no matter your situation, you are not the first one facing it.

If the parents are divorced and nobody has remarried, here is how it looks:
Ms. Julia Eloise Culpepper
and
Mr. Edmund Godfrey Smythe
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Gwendolyn Petunia
to
Mr. Wilfred Mikhail Jones
son of
Ms. Frieda Maureen Jones
and
Mr. Dagwood Edgar Jones

Note that how the divorced mother is addressed depends on which surname she uses socially. That means the parents of the bride in this example also illustrate nicely how to word things when your happily married parents don’t share a last name.

But what if one or both of your parents has remarried? Do they all get listed? And what if one has been remarried multiple times? Do you have to list every step parent you’ve ever had?

Well, if any of those step parents are no longer a part of your life, you are under no obligation to list them. In fact, if you’ve got four step parents between your two parents… it would get mighty crowded up there to try to squeeze them all into the invitation. These things are only so big and the writing can only be so small before nobody can read what it says.

The rule of thumb would be to include only current step parents. In that case, your wording would go like this:

Mr. and Mrs. Donovan Q. Culpepper
and
Mr. and Mrs. Edmond Geoffrey Smythe
request the pleasure of your company
at the marriage of their daughter
Gwendolyn Petunia
to
Mr. Wilfred Mikail Jones

Or, as I said yesterday, you can just skip the names of all the parents and use this form:

Together with their parents,
Miss Gwendolyn Petunia Smythe
and
Mr. Wilfred Mikhail Jones
request the pleasure of your company
at their marriage

But what if one of your parents is dead? In that case, of course, you have my deepest sympathy. It’s not easy to lose a parent. My own beloved mother and Mr. Twistie’s father had both shuffled off this mortal coil well before we were married. We were also hosting our own shindig, so we just went with the ‘together with our parents’ wording.

Then again, you may want your parents’ names on your invitation. Here’s how to do it properly:

The honor of your presence is requested
at the marriage of
Miss Gwendolyn Petunia Smythe
daughter of
Ms. Julia Eloise Culpepper
and
the late Mr. Edmond Geoffrey Smythe
to
Mr. Wilfred Mikhail Jones
son of
Mr. Dagwood Edgar Jones
and
the late Mrs. Frieda Maureen Jones

Please note that this is the only form in which a deceased parent is ever listed on a wedding invitation. The dead cannot host parties. No, not even if they would have approved the match.

If you’re not doing this form, simply use the names of the living parents as shown in whatever other form is most appropriate to your needs.

Tune in again tomorrow to see how to list everyone when holding a same-sex celebration, or when one (or more) of your parents is in a same-sex relationship.

One Response to “Invitation Wording For Smart Cookies Part 2”

  1. sunny October 14, 2011 at 7:29 am #

    I have only one objection here: I can’t stand the use of Mrs. John Smith, for example, instead of Mrs. Mary Smith. To me, it is a pretty clear statement that Mary Smith is nothing more than her husband’s wife.

    We absolutely refused to put it on any item in our invitation packet, and I have told our celebrants not to refer to me with it after we are pronounced married.

    I know it is traditional, but I also think some traditions should be left for dead. Anyhow, I wish you had listed an option for those of us who think that method is antiquated and sexist. Just my two cents! =)