What is the Etiquette for Including a Stepmother in the Wedding Invitation?

by Nadia Nygaard
You wedding invitation should reflect what's important to you.

You wedding invitation should reflect what's important to you.

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Trying to figure out how to include your stepmother in your wedding invitation can pose a challenge depending on what your parents' relationships are like and what kind of pressure you are getting from family on whether to include or not include her. Ultimately, it is up to you to honor your stepmother in your wedding invitation in the way that best suits your relationship with her.

Etiquette

You have a lot of options when considering whose names to put on your wedding invitation. The choice can be a personal one, based on your relationship with your stepmother, or it can be a practical way of recognizing those who have contributed to your wedding with money or time. If you and your fiance are paying for your wedding yourselves, who you choose to name on the invitation is solely up to you. However, if you are accepting contributions from your parents, including your stepmother directly or your father, good etiquette calls for including each of their names. If you have a good relationship with your stepmother, but still feel that you want to include only your father and mother on the invitation, talk to your stepmother about it. You can avoid hurt feelings by explaining your position, and offer an alternative, such as a reading at the wedding or her name in the program.

General Wording

If your relationship with your stepmother is complicated, consider using wording that generally recognizes each of your parents without specifically including or excluding anyone. For example, you could say, "Together with their parents Paula Jane Marsh and Gabriel Cardena request the pleasure of your company as they exchange vows."

All Names

To recognize the contributions of all your parents, consider naming each. Give a separate line to each married couple or single parent. If your stepmother is no longer married to your parent, but she continues to be an important figure in your life, allow her a separate line. For example, Ms. Gail Booker (mother) and Mr. and Mrs. Jeremy Caine (father and stepmother), the parents of Sonya Caine, request the pleasure of your company as she weds Michael Castor, son of Mr. and Mrs. Hank Castor (father and stepmom) and Mr. and Mrs. Charles Oppenhauer (stepfather and mother).

Father and Mother Only

Your preferences might demand that you list only your father and mother on the invitation without reference to stepparents. This might be because you do not have a close relationship with your stepmother, because your stepmother came into your life after you became an adult or because you only want to honor your parents' contributions on your wedding day. Take the time to consider hurt feelings, but know that, in the end, it is your wedding day and you can choose who to name on your invitations.

About the Author

Nadia Nygaard has been writing and editing since 2005. She is published in "Farm and Ranch Living" and has edited projects as diverse as grant proposals, medical dissertations and tenant law handbooks. She is a graduate of the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Arts in English and women's studies.

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