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Tricky Wedding Invitation Wording - Divorced or Deceased Parents

I receive a lot of questions about wedding invitation wording, so many that Emily Post's Wedding Etiquette book is never far from my side. You've never planned a wedding before, so of course you have questions and I'm happy that I can be here to help you sort out the details.


wedding invitation wording for deceased or divorced parents

Wedding Invitation Essentials

Before we get too far, I thought it would be helpful to go through some of the essentials first. For hundreds of years, wedding invitations have followed a formula - following it will guarantee you success and keeps it simple, no need to overthink this right?


Whatever wording you choose to fill in, the formula remains the same:

- Who is hosting: this could be parents of the bride, parents of the groom, both parents, the couple themselves or a mix

The purpose of the event: this could be a marriage, nuptial mass, vow renewal, nuptial mass, commitment ceremony, or even a celebration following a private ceremony

Who is being honored: that's the couple

When the event will take place: this includes both the date and time

Where the event will be: generally the name of the location along with the city and state and sometimes the address


Beyond that, anything goes with how formal or casual you want to be with the actual wording.


About that Host Line

So that host line - this is traditionally who is paying for the wedding.

If the bride's parents are paying for everything, they get the spotlight. List their names first. If you would like to include the groom's parents, list them under his name as 'son of...."

If both families are contributing, tradition will have you list the bride's family first, then the groom's parents followed by 'invite you to the marriage of their children" or something similar to show unity of the two families.

If the couple is paying for the wedding, it's appropriate to use "together with our families" or leave parents off completely, but check with your parents first to make sure no one will be mad about that.

If the groom's family is paying for a majority of the wedding, you can honor them by having their names listed first.

Mr. and Mrs. William Mays

request the honour of your presence

at the marriage of

Ms. Laura Marie Johnson

to their son

Andrew Owen Mays


Wording for Special Circumstances

Not every family fits into the same formula for wording your invitations, so let's take a look at some other circumstances that might pop up. Feel free to contact me with other situations you might need help with!

When the Bride has a Deceased Parent

Mrs. Christine Johnson

requests the honor of your presence

at the marriage of his daughter 


Mrs. Christine Johnson

requests the honor of your presence at the marriage of

Laura Marie

daughter of Mr. Dennis Johnson


Laura Marie Johnson

daughter of Christine Johnson

and the late Dennis Johnson


For this situation, if you want to included the deceased parent, you want to include it in a way that they aren't directly inviting, but are still mentioned on there.


When Parents are Divorced

The trick here is that each parent is listed on a separate line, this indicates that they are not married

Mr. and Mrs. Scott Spencer


Mr. Dennis Johnson

request the honor of your presence... 


When Someone has Stepparents and one Biological Parent isn't Involved in the Wedding

In this case, include both parent and stepparent together and make sure to use the phrase "their daughter". If you see your stepdad as Dad, honor that and make sure people know you are 'their' daughter, not just 'her' daughter.

Mr. and Mrs. Dennis Johnson

request the honour of your presence 

at the marriage of their daughter

We kindly request that our wedding day be for adults only.

While we would to invite everyone to our day, due to space limitations we kindly request that our wedding be for adults only.

Although we love the children in our lives, due to space constraints, we ask that only adults attend.


Hopefully this helps get your wheels spinning on which option would work best for your wedding!


I get it, wedding stationery can be an unexpectedly overwhelming part of the wedding planning process.  Grab your copy of The Wedding Invitation Planning Guide, including your complimentary wording planning sheets to walk you through the ins and outs. You'll get organized and take a load of stress off and be ready to rock those invitations.



Tagged: Planning Tips


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