Wedding Invitation Etiquette for Three Sets of Parents

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Exhibiting the proper etiquette and wording in your wedding invitations when there are three sets of parents hosting your wedding prevents complications such as hurt feelings or leaving someone out. Determine the best invitation wording based on the formality of your wedding, who is paying for--or hosting--the wedding and the relationships you and your betrothed have with everyone involved.

From the Parents

  • List each set of parents on the invitation if all of them are paying for the wedding or if it's important to you and your fiance. Formal weddings typically include at least the bride's parents' names. If the bride's parents are divorced and remarried and all of the parents are helping host, invitations could be worded like:

    "Mr. and Mrs. Joe Smith and Mr. and Mrs. Steven Jenkins
    and
    Mr. and Mrs. Robert Jackson
    request the honour of your presence
    at the marriage of their children..."

    The bride's mother is listed first, then her father, followed by the groom's parents. If the bride's divorced parents are co-hosting but you'd still like to include the groom's parents as well, you could use the following wording:

    "Mr. and Mrs. Joe Smith and Mr. and Mrs. Steven Jenkins
    request the honour of your presence
    at the marriage of their daughter
    Jennifer Marie Jenkins
    and
    Raymond Earl Jackson
    son of
    Mr. and Mrs. Robert Jackson..."

    If the groom's parents are divorced and remarried, the groom's mother would be listed first, followed by his father, using the same format. If the bride's mother is unmarried, drop all of the titles and use her first, maiden and married name unless she has gone back to her maiden name, in which case you'd list her first and maiden name.

    For a less formal wedding, or if you'd like to name each parent, list them as "Joe and Jacki Smith and Steven and Sarah Jenkins."

From the Couple

  • Using invitations that list only the bride and groom's names is another option if you are hosting your own wedding, don't want to exclude or include certain parents or stepparents or just want to cut down on too many names being mentioned to avoid confusing or overwhelming your guests.

    If everyone is contributing to the cost of the wedding, you could use:

    "Together with their parents,
    Jennifer Marie Jenkins
    and
    Raymond Earl Jackson
    request the honour of your presence
    at their marriage..."

    Or, simply issue the invitations from both of you:

    "Jennifer Marie Jenkins
    and
    Raymond Earl Jackson
    request the honour of your presence..."

Things to Consider

  • Marrying your fiance is supposed to bring your families together and create or strengthen relationships and bonds you both have with your families. If one of you has a new stepparent that you don't wish to include on the actual invitation, or worse, the other parent would be hurt by it, consider not mentioning any names on the invitations, but include the parents' names on your wedding program. Before ordering any of your wedding stationery, particularly your invitations, give each parent a copy of your plans to address any complaints or concerns. This way no one is surprised and you can adjust the wording if necessary.

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