The invitations are a significant element of wedding planning. They don't simply tell guests when and where the happy occasion is to occur, they also signify who is hosting and sometimes identify the parents of the bride and groom. Often times there are more than two sets of parents and the wording may not be tailored exclusively to those hosting the event.
Traditionally the only names that are on the wedding invitation are those of the bride and groom and those hosting the event. Many weddings these days are paid for by the couple getting married which would leave theirs as the only names that belong inside the invitation. Often times, however, the couple chooses to honor their parents and step-parents by including their names in the wording of the invitation.
The hosts are the ones doing the inviting and they get top billing. If the bride's parents are hosting the wedding, the invitation may read something similar to, "Mr. and Mrs. Steven Edwards invite you to the wedding of their daughter, Miss Kelly Anne Edwards to Mr. Charles Donovan, son of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Barker (groom's mother and new husband) and Mr. and Mrs. Brian Donovan (groom's father and new wife). When only one parent is remarried, the name of the unmarried parent will be listed and the married parent will appear as "Mr. and Mrs." Regardless of which parent has remarried, the mother will be listed first.
Another option is to introduce the hosts, followed by the bride and groom (unless the bride and groom are the hosts), date, time and location of the wedding. The remaining sets of parents (or all three sets of parents if the couple is hosting their own wedding) will then be listed starting with the bride's mother and ending with the groom's father. This is a good way to include everyone especially when the host parents are one of the sets of parents who are divorced and remarried.
If more than one parent or set of parents is contributing, the invitation should read, "Mr. and Mrs. Steven Edwards, along with Mrs. Brian Donovan invite you to celebrate the marriage of their children. In this case the remaining parents can either be placed at the end of the invitation or alongside the name of their child preceded by "the parents of."
When the couple is hosting with help from the parents, the invitation will read "Miss Kelly Anne Edwards and Mr. Charles Donovan, along with (whichever parents are contributing) invite you." The names of the remaining parents are placed at the end.
Consider using the all inclusive phrase "together with their parents" without naming any specific names at all. This tactic can avoid possible conflict about whose name is placed where or eliminate the uncertainty of how to word them all into the invitation.
While many couples wish to honor a deceased parent on the invitation, it is not considered acceptable to word the invitation as if a deceased person is hosting the event. Instead identify the parent after the child's name (Miss Kelly Anne Edwards, daughter of the late Steven Edwards). If this doesn't suit the invitation wording, a dedication to the deceased parent can be placed in the ceremony program. The program is also a good place to honor all sets of parents should you decide not to place their names on the invitation.
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