Wedding Invitation Etiquette: Wording
Including Parents’ Names in the Invitation

Preventing Parental Temper Tantrums

I recently heard a story of a groom’s parents getting pretty upset that they weren’t mentioned in the wedding invitation, making for some rotten attitudes when the big day finally arrived! Avoid drama and decide who is going to be included in your letterpress wedding invitation early on.

Here are some examples and inspiration for laying out parents’ names your own wedding invitation wording:

Bride’s Parents Only

Typically, whoever is hosting the wedding celebration is mentioned on the invitation. Times are changing, but bride’s parents were traditionally the ones hosting the affair, hence the mentioning of the bride’s parents’ names only.

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Bride and Groom’s Parents

If both parties are responsible for the celebration–or if you can’t bear to hurt anyone’s feelings– include both the bride and groom’s parents within the wedding invitation wording. You can also say something a little more casual, such as “Together with our parents.”

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Bride and Groom Only

In some cases, the big day is only about the bride and groom. There’s no need to mention parents’ names.

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Including Divorced or Deceased Parents

Remember that our letterpress wedding invitation designs are completely customizable. If you have divorced or deceased parents that you cannot imagine not mentioning, no problem! Extra names can be gracefully added.

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Written by Katie

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  1. Posted February 12, 2013 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Hi Diana!

    How traditional or formal is your wedding celebration going to be? I am wondering if you can get away without listing parents’ names at all..

    Together with our parents

    Diana Marie Smith
    John Patrick Doe

    Invite you to share in the celebration
    of our marriage


    Is your fiance set on having his parents’ names and his names listed, and listed first? You can throw tradition out the window even further by listing his parents’ names first and his name last, like in this photo:

    Mr. and Mrs. Patrick Doe
    Mr. and Mrs. James Smith

    request the honor of your presence
    at the marriage of their children

    Diane Marie Smith
    John Patrick Doe

    That way you still give his parents their credit, but your name is listed first, since you are the bride to be given away.


    Let me know if you want to brainstorm further!

  2. John van Dalen
    Posted February 13, 2013 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if there is an appropriate HOST wording protocol on invitations when the bride’s parents are divorced and only the father is paying for the event? The bride’s mother is only willing to pay for the bride’s dress.
    How can the father and mother be appropriately recognized. Obviously putting both their names at the top of the invitation is unfair when the mother has almost no involvement in underwriting the event.
    The mother is not, in this case, a HOST. If her name is omitted from the HOST line of the invitation, is there another way her “contribution” can be appropriately recognized?
    Is there an etiquette “rule” that would substantiate the protocol? I want to provide substantive backup to the father.

  3. Posted February 14, 2013 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Hi John!

    You can always go with something like this:

    Mr. John Doe
    requests the pleasure of your company
    at the marriage of

    Emily Doe
    daughter of Ms. Susan Doe


    James Smith II
    son of Mr. and Mrs. James Smith I

    This way, the mother is not the host but is still acknowledged as the bride’s mother. If this doesn’t sound like what you are going for, shoot Katie an email at!

  4. Natalie
    Posted February 24, 2013 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    I was wondering, which way is the proper way to address parents on invitations for the groom’s mother? We call her by middle name, but she recently has decided to use her first name with her boyfriend’s family. Do we list her by her middle name that we personally are familiar with calling her or by her formal first name?

  5. Posted February 25, 2013 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Hi Natalie!

    Traditionally, the groom’s (and bride’s) mother’s name was associated with her husband’s last:

    Mr. and Mrs. George McHugh

    If you want the groom’s mother’s name separated from her husband’s (or ex-husband’s) and different guests are familiar with both her first and last name, try including both:

    Mrs. Anne Marie Smith


    Mrs. Anne Smith or Mrs. Marie Smith

  6. Craig
    Posted April 27, 2013 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Do i just start of with a wedding gift idea on the invite. Or should we start first with: gift idea: and then saying we wantmoney?

  7. Posted April 29, 2013 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Hi Craig, I’m not sure I understand your comment! Some couples have opted to say “No Boxed Gifts Please” on their wedding invitations, implying that they just want cash. If this isn’t what you meant, shoot me an email at and we can brainstorm together! Best, Katie

  8. Leslie
    Posted June 3, 2013 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Hi there!
    We would like to mention our parents’ names on the invite, but here is the dilemma:
    his mother is deceased and his dad is remarried.
    How would we word this?
    Thank you!

  9. Posted June 3, 2013 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Hi Leslie!

    Your situation is a special one, but there are ways to word it! :)

    A lot depends on your actual wording (including who is hosting the affair, who can’t handle not having their name first, etc!), so this is just an example:

    Mr. and Mrs. Jack Daniels
    request the honor of your presence
    at the marriage of their son
    Patrick Daniels
    son of the late Mrs. Mary Daniels
    Leslie Marie
    daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Smith

    Are your parents the ones hosting the celebration? If so, your parents’ names would be listed first, and they would announce the marriage of you to your groom. Email me at if you had something else in mind!

  10. Rachel
    Posted June 24, 2013 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    I’m a bit confused about including my mother on my wedding invitations because she is a widow. Should I have them printed with Mrs. John Doe or Mrs. Jane Doe?

    Thanks, Rachel

  11. Posted June 25, 2013 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Hi Rachel!

    We happen to have the perfect video for your situation:

    Of course you can switch up whose parents’ names are listed first, and how to word it all together. You might have a more formal or casual celebration than the wording examples in the video. Email me at if you want to brainstorm further!


  12. Casey
    Posted July 2, 2013 at 7:22 am | Permalink


    Thanks for all the great information! I have an additional question that is not listed. My mom wants her name to be also indicated on the invitation. Instead of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Smith, she would like it to say Mr. Peter and Mrs. Anne Smith. They are still married. Is this ok? Or does that indicate they are separated or divorced?


  13. Nathalie
    Posted September 5, 2013 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    Looking for help in wording our destination wedding invitations. My parents are divorced, both remarried. I am not particularly close to my step parents. My father is paying for our reception, my mother is paying for my dress, my fiance and I will pick up the rest. The groom’s father is deceased, and his mother is ill, and not able to attend, and at this point does not have the state of mind to understand we are getting married. We have already sent out save the date cards, and know some who will not be able to attend, though would still like to send a proper invitation. I am uncertain what the best wording is, whether to include parents, etc. Thanks!

  14. Posted September 6, 2013 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Hi Nathalie,

    There are several ways to approach this. Because the situation is unique, you might want to talk with the family and see how they want to approach this. Typically, whoever is paying for the wedding is the host, and the person who is sending the invitations. We have other blogs that may help you make your decision. Check out: Also, this blog addresses the issue of deceased parents. We have helpful videos too, if that is easier for you:
    Good luck and we hope your day is wonderful, fun, and everything you wish it to be!

  15. Becky
    Posted February 2, 2014 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    If the grooms parents are paying for the wedding should they be listed first on the invitation?

  16. Posted February 3, 2014 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Hi Becky,
    This blog might help you with that decision, although I would say yes.
    Thanks for your reply!

  17. Jen
    Posted February 13, 2014 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    We did not want to go down the traditional route of putting the brides mothers name (father deceased) on the invitation even though she is helping with the cost of the reception. However she had now requested that the invitation reads “brides mother invites you to the wedding of her daughter.” Is there any alternatives to keep us both happy or should I just word the invitation as she has asked?

  18. Posted February 13, 2014 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Hi Jennifer,

    We have some useful videos that might help you make your decision. Check out our videos page, and scroll to bottom. There is one in particular that is about invitation wording without parent’s names.

    Good Luck!

  19. Sandy Schutze
    Posted May 6, 2014 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Having gotten divorced when my son was two years old, I invested a great deal of my life raising him. At 37, he is finally getting married and his fiancé and he have decided not to include me on the invitation. His fiancé says she worked as a wedding planner and since her parents are paying, they should only be the only ones listed (according to etiquette). I offered to help pay but she said that would be disrespectful to her parents. I am hurt and disappointed and have lost all enthusiasm to participate in what should be a joyous celebration. Am I wrong to want to be listed? He is my only child.

  20. Lin
    Posted September 15, 2014 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    How do you list the grooms mothers boyfriend on the invitation?

  21. Posted September 16, 2014 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for asking! I would like to direct you to the section of the article titled “Divorced or Deceased Parents.” A suggestion from us would be to list this as: Bride’s Parents, Groom’s Father, Groom’s Mother, and Mother’s Boyfriend invite you to celebrate the wedding of Bride and Groom. Whatever order you would like is appropriate depending on the order of significance. We hope this helps. Let us know if you have any further questions.

  22. reeze
    Posted February 16, 2015 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

    Hi, how will I put parents name in the invitation if the bride and groom are hosting the wedding. But the bride’s mother is deceased already and his father remarried and want the name of the stepmother to be reflected in the invitation.

  23. Posted February 17, 2015 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    In the line with your parents names, it could read:
    “daughter of Mr. & Mrs. (dad) and (stepmother) (last name) and the late Mrs. (mom)

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