(Closed) Invite Wording/dealing with divorced parents

posted 7 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
69 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

I think you should just make it short and simple and write something like:

Together with their families, Bride & Groom, invite you to celebrate…


Also, my parents are paying for the wedding and they would not be OK if we listed all parents’ names on there as hosts of the wedding since the non-paying parents aren’t really hosting.

Post # 4
11418 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2009

I do not have my trusty reference book nearby, so I hesitate to answer this without knowing for certain.  However, I THINK you could this type of format:

Mr. and Mrs. John Phillip Smith (your FI’s parents, who are paying for the wedding)
Mr. Winston Alexander Phillips (your dad)
and Mr. and Mrs. Edward David Wilson (your mom and stepdad)
request the honour of your presence at the marrige of their children
Emily Jayne Phillips
Derek Jonathan Smith
Saturday, blah blah blah

I’m sure some other bees will chime in soon, if they haven’t already by the time I post this. 

ETA:  I do agree with the prior poster that only the hosts of the wedding need to be on the invitation, and they may not want to share the spotlight with others who are not contributing.  However, I was attempting to find wording to accommodate all parties, in case you want/need to include them all.

Post # 5
7901 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: March 2012 - Pelican Grand Beach Resort

On invitiations (the invitation itself and on the envelope) “and” means “joined in marriage.”

I would put:

Mr. and Mrs. (Your mom and step dad, or just your mom)

Mr. (Your Dad)

request whatever

Your name


His name

son of Mr. and Mrs. (His Parents)

Post # 7
542 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

Do you like this??

Mr. and Mrs. Future Father-In-Law
request the honour of your presence at the marriage of their son
John Doe
daughter of Mr. and Mrs. mom and stepdad


Mr. My Dad

Saturday, the twenty-first of September
two thousand thirteen
at one o’clock
My Ceremony Location

City, State


My parents are divorced with only my mother being remarried (for 10 years now) and I didn’t include my stepdads name on the invite and he didn’t care. My mother actually suggested this surprisingly, but she and my dad were the hosts of our wedding.


Post # 9
1636 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

I think a good way to word it would be the way Brielle suggested – list all parents at the top with “request the honor of your presence at the marriage of their children.”  Technically your parents aren’t hosting, but I don’t think there’s a problem doing it this way unless your FI’s parents are going to get uppity about needing to be distinguished as the hosts.  My dad and stepmom are the ones contributing towards a large part of my wedding, but I wanted all of my parents/stepparents to be on there because they all raised me and are all important, so I listed them all.  Only my mom and my stepdad recently separated so I’ve got 3 lines for my parents’ names alone.  Whatever.  Modern family.  And then FI’s parents are listed under FI’s name.

Have you seen the site mygatsby.com?  That’s where I ordered my invites and I found them very reasonably priced – and there are several designs that will allow you to fit a ton of lines of text, so you could fit all the parents’ names in whatever format you want (you’re not limited to a certain type of wording – you write everything yourself and space the lines the way you like on the invite).

As for seating, my personal opinion is that it wouldn’t be cool to separate your mom from her spouse.  I understand the awkwardness, but you say your mom and dad still get along great.  There are times in life when people just need to be grownups and behave.  If your mom had left your dad for her new beau like two months prior to the wedding, some intervention might be necessary, but even then I would expect one of the parents to resolve the seating problem themselves without you needing to be the referee.  I have a similar situation involving my mom and stepdad.  If someone feels too hurt to sit near someone else they’ll work out a different arrangement for themselves, but they all know they are entitled to a spot up front – I’m not going to involve myself in trying to separate anyone.

Post # 10
1014 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

Mr. and Mrs. Future In-Laws request the pleasure of your company

at the marriage of their son

Mr. Fiance


Ms. Smhoning

daughter of Mr. Bio Father and

Mr. And Mrs. Stepdad Lastname

Saturday, the….


Id definitely put your finances family first, since they are paying, aka hosting.  I’d also put your dad in front of your mom and stepdad. 

Is their a reason all three of them can’t sit in the front row? Will you have any other VIPs in that row, like grandparents, or godparents, aunties, brother in laws, etc.? I don’t think it’d be awkward to sit them all 3 together, assuming they don’t take issue. I think it’d be more obvious to have your stepdad forced into sit a few rows back.

Post # 13
1696 posts
Bumble bee

I am a stuffy old goat, I know, but I suppress a polite shudder any time I receive an invitation to a private event that looks like it was extended by an entire social committee. The actual rules of traditional etiquette are flouted all the time, so don’t hesitate to carry on doing so where they don’t apply, but I am going to tell you what they are (so that you can flout them on purpose instead of accidentally), and try to explain why they are (so that you can decide advisedly which ones to flout).

First: polite people keep their financial arrangements private. Invitations do not advertise who is paying for anything, and paying is NOT the same thing as hosting. “Hosting” means taking full personal responsibility for the safety and comfort of the guests under your roof — or at least, the roof you have rented for the occasion. The hostess is the person who makes the final decision on the guest list, the menu, the entertainment, and the arrangements.

Second: at a wedding, the hostess should be the bride’s near relative — or, nowadays, the bride herself. As a result, the wedding is supposed to be in a style, however modest, that the bride’s family can afford. This is because the bride is seen to be leaving her family to become part of her husband’s family. This is her family’s last chance to act on her behalf. If she relies on her husband’s family even before the wedding, it makes her look like she is ashamed of where she comes from and is marrying for wealth and status.

Third: any social event should be hosted by one hostess. If she is married, her husband may optionally co-host. This is because hosting is a responsibility — quite a big one — and for any role of great responsibility there needs to be one place where the buck stops.

Fourth: the purpose of an invitation is NOT to “honor” special VIPs, but to inform the guests WHO is inviting WHOM, to WHAT, WHEN, and WHERE. So, in this case (assuming you have decided to flout the second rule above; which is, it must be admitted, arguably rather sexist) WHO is “Mr and Mrs FIL”. The totally hide-bound utter-etiquette-stickler traditional wording would then be:

Mr and Mrs John Fil*request the pleasure of the company of
leave a space* to write in guests names

at the wedding of

Miss* Smho Nig
daughter of
*Mrs Step Father
*Mr Birth Dad

to their son
*Thomas Mark

on fourteen May at two o’clockat Saint Thomas United Church

*The host and hostess could just as well be referred to as “Mr John Fil and Ms Jane Fil” if your future mother-in-law prefers to see her given name in print, or even “Mr John Fil and Ms Jane Mil” if she has kept her own name. She can even use the title “Mrs” or “Miss” with her own name if she prefers and we sticklers will barely raise an eyebrow. 

*If you plan to use inner envelopes, you don’t need the write-in line on the invitation, because you can specify WHOM you are inviting on the envelope instead. In that case, just use “request the pleasure of your company at the wedding of”

*You get the title “Miss” (or “Ms” if you are more modern) because you are not yet related to the hostess;

*Your parents sneak onto the invitation as part of the WHAT section where they help your more distant (forgetful) relatives remember who exactly you are. Your step-father gets on there obliquely by means of your mother’s using his name. If that isn’t good enough or if your mother uses her own name, you could change this part to “Mr Step Father and Ms Birth Mother” even though it isn’t technically accurate and will put your father’s nose out of joint.

*Each parent gets his or her own line, because they are not married to each other and you never “write up” unmarried persons together on social correspondence. Technically, that means that if you end up hosting this yourself, it should be just you and not “you and future husband”. It also means that any non-living-together couples you invite as couples should each get a separate invitation instead of “Mr John Myguest and Ms Anne Guest-of-guest”

*Your darling fiance loses the title “Mr” because parents do not refer to their own offspring by titles.

Fifth: in safe social situations, ladies come first. This does NOT apply on the outside of envelopes, no matter how many people wrongly tell you otherwise; but it does apply in safe social or ceremonial circumstances. So at the church, your mother sits in the first row on audience left.

Sixth: You do not sit divorced couples together (ever) or break up married couples at the ceremony (you do, at dinner, though). This is because divorce is awkward, especially in the context of a wedding, and you do want to show respect for the institution of marriage, which includes the real and persisting marriage of your mother and step-father. So your step-father sits with his wife, and your father sits in the second row. What you can do, though, is ask your mother and step father to sit somewhat inside the pew farther over to the left, so that there is no-one sitting in front of your father in the second pew and he sits more centrally, right next to the aisle. If he has no wife, let your grandma sit with him to balance things.


Post # 14
9667 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2019

Mrs ______________ (your mum’s name) & Mr _______________ (your dad’s name)

request the pleasure of your presence at the marriage of their daughter

(your name)


(your FI’s name)

son of

(your FI’s parents names)

I wouldn’t include your SD’s name, he isn’t hosting or anything, and he isn’t your parent

Post # 16
1636 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

@smhonig:  I’m glad it was helpful!  That site is awesome, and the invitations are so easy to personalize.  I fell in love with the Annie design.

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