Etiquette is meant to be a guide to good taste and to make everyone as comfortable as possible. Wording a wedding invitation when one or both sets of parents are divorced doesn’t have to be difficult and it’s ok to stray from the accepted rules.

When the bride’s parents are divorced, her mother’s name is listed first with her father’s name on the line beneath it. Do not use “and” to separate them.

My parents are divorced and my father has remarried. Where does his wife’s name go?

Traditionally, only the names of your natural parents should appear on the invitation. However, if you’re close to your father’s new wife and want to include her, the rule is to have your mother’s name on the first line. Your father and his wife go on the second line as “Mr. & Mrs.” followed by your father’s name. Your stepmother’s first name should not appear here.

My mother is divorced and is using her maiden name, what title should she use?

Depending on your mother’s preference, she can go without a title or with “Ms.”

Both of my parents have remarried and I’m close to both stepparents. Should they be included on the invitation?

It’s up to you. If you’re more interested in including your extended family than sticking to strict rules of etiquette, by all means do so. Your mother and her husband go on the first line as “Mr. & Mrs.” Dad and his wife appear on the second line as “Mr. & Mrs.” Again, no “and” between the those two lines.

I usually advise my stationery clients treat the traditional etiquette rules as basic guidelines. Every rule can be bent or broken as it needs to in order to fit your unique situation.

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