Traditionally, the bride's parents pay for the wedding, and thus their name is listed on the wedding invitation, often at the beginning with something along the lines of, "Mr. and Mrs. John Miller request the honor of your presence as they celebrate the wedding of their daughter Emily Lynn to Matthew Scott Jones." However, as more and more couples have both sides offer financial help or they pay for the wedding on their own, the wording can be altered.
If the groom's parents are paying for the wedding, then the invitation wording can be altered by simply switching the names. For example, "Mr. and Mrs. Timothy Jones request the honor of your presence as they celebrate the wedding of Miss Emily Lynn Miller to their son Matthew Scott Jones."
If the couple simply wants to include the names of the groom's parents on the invitation, then their names can be added in the following manner: "Mr. and Mrs. John Miller request...wedding of their daughter Emily Lynn to Matthew Scott, son of Mr. and Mrs. Timothy Jones."
If both families are paying for the wedding and want to be at the top of the invitation, then the wording should introduce both families and announce the marriage of their children: Mr. and Mrs. John Miller and Mr. and Mrs. Timothy Jones request the honor of your presence at the wedding of their children Emily Lynn Miller and Matthew Scott Jones."
Some couples may want both of their families to be included, in order to represent a more unified celebration. The traditional way of doing this is to list the bride's parents' names on the wedding invitations (if they are the ones paying for the reception) and then the groom's parents' names are listed on the rehearsal dinner invitations, which is traditionally an event the groom's parents host.
If the bride and groom are sharing the wedding costs, then the invitations may read: Emily Lynn Miller and Matthew Scott Jones together with their parents request..."
In reality, the invitation does not have to signify who is paying for the reception. According to The Knot, a wedding planning website, it signifies who is hosting the event, but of course that can be interpreted to be many different parts of the planning process. Traditionally, the invitations listed the bride's parents because it signified giving her away, but American society has generally moved away from that concept, so altering the format in tune with the altered custom makes sense.
Divorced and Remarried Parents
If the bride's parents are divorced, but hosting the wedding jointly, then the wording would be: Mrs. Janet Miller and Mr. John Miller request the honor of your presence..." If the bride's parents are divorced and one or both are remarried, you wish to include the step-parents and they are jointly hosting the wedding, then the mother's name is listed first on her own if she is not remarried (Ms. Janet Miller) or with her new husband's name if she is (Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Pendleton) and then the father's name, alone if he is not remarried (and Mr. John Miller) or with his wife's name if he is (and Mr. and Mrs. John Miller). In either instance, when there is a name other than the bride's (Pendleton instead of Miller) then the wording should conclude with the bride's full name: "...at the marriage of their daughter Emily Lynn Miller."
If the groom's parents are hosting the event then his parents and his step-parents names would be substituted for the bride's parents' names in the preceding example.
Proper etiquette dictates that the mother's name always comes first. This can be a useful rule to cite when divorced parents are not amicable and both wish to be listed first.
- Photo Credit invitation de mariage image by Christophe ThÃ©lisson from Fotolia.com
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