1. As with any invitation, the host’s name customarily goes on the invitation. Traditionally the bride’s parents host the wedding. Today’s weddings can present us with a variety of different scenarios, but the guidelines remain the same.

  2. M.K. Klippel

    I understand the parents of the bride hosting the wedding being the only name of the couple to be put on the invitation but… I feel it makes it look like parents of the groom are not supporting the uniting of the couple and grooms family is not asking family and friends to join. I’m embarassed and hurt that our names were not included as “parents of”. It’s my sons wedding too, not just the bride and her parents’. Bride planned a $5000.00 rehearsal dinner that we’re paying for, why are we not considered part of the hosts. The wedding is far away from us so there will be a big expense for travel, etc. Bride and groom also expect a nice reception in our hometown a few months after wedding for the many of those who can’t travel the distance. Lots of $$ for that too. I really am feeling crushed that the invitation does not have our name as he IS our son and we are doing a lot for them for the wedding.

    • Graceandhonor

      This is an instance where hundreds of years of tradition are in play; tradition dictates that the bulk of expense for the wedding day itself is borne by the bride’s family, as in your case it is. It is certainly gracious of you to foot the bill for the rehearsal dinner, and tradition does dictate this as the obligation of the groom’s family; you, as the hosts should be the ones planning and deciding the budget for it and invitations to it should note you are the hosts. You are under no traditional obligation to host a later reception, but if you are, this is your chance to incorporate wording as you wish that states you are hosting this for your son and his bride.

      The tradition of not naming the groom’s parents on a wedding invitation is (in addition to the fact the bride’s parents are usually the paying hosts) based upon the assumption a man capable of becoming a husband is independent of his parents and does not need their permission to do so, nor their monetary backing. The idea of a rehearsal dinner is the modern equivalent of an ancient welcoming dinner given in honor of a bride and those accompanying her to the wedding who may have never met the groom’s family prior to the marriage and the expense was shouldered by his proud parents, intent on proving they were an affluent and cultured lot. (This is where the notion of inviting out-of-town guests to the rehearsal dinner also originates.) And, it was assumed that if the groom was happy with his choice of bride, then his family was most certainly rejoicing in his happiness.

      Tradition aside, some couples today are opting for the contemporary practice of listing the groom’s parents on the invitation, but in most cases, this also means his parents are paying for the privilege by contributing even more to the wedding expense. Perhaps it is not too late for you to discuss the viability of this with your son.

      As in everything, we need to carefully consider what we wish for, as the realization of it is often a shock.

      • Barb

        Just got the same shock. We as parents of the groom are not on the invitation. We are paying for the photographer, florist, limo’s, dj and rehersal. How do I approach this without causing a rift?

        • Graceandhonor

          The time to have discussed your role and expectations (with your son) would have been during discussion of your financial participation. He then should have spoken with the bride and her parents and her parents should have contacted you thanking you for your financial assistance and stating you would be listed on the invitation. It is puzzling that her parents did not do this in view of your substantial contribution, but at this point, try to put that aside and be gracious for the sake of your son’s happiness. At the appropriate time, in view of your level of assistance, I don’t think it would be a bad thing to tell your son you were disappointed. But, do this with caution, as you don’t want to taint the happy memories for him. I hope her parents do profusely thank you for your help at some point during the wedding event, or certainly afterward. If they don’t, certainly the bride and groom should. In any event, just know you’ve done all you have out of deep, selfless love for your son.

          • Brittany

            I completely agree with Grace & Honor. My in-laws felt this same way, and I just wanted to tell them so many times, “It’s not about YOU!” It’s the bride’s family inviting guests to the wedding of their daughter, to an independent, self-sustaining man. It doesn’t matter if you’ve paid for a few select things. I understand that it’s nice that you did that, but why worry about something so trivial as your name on an invitation that will, for most guests, be thrown in the trash after the wedding? I think that those of you that are complaining about your name not on the invitation need to be a bit more excited about the MARRIAGE, not the wedding.

            That said, as Grace and Honor mentioned, if you wished for your names to be included on the invitation, a discussion with your son should have taken place long before the invitations were sent out.

  3. M. Hunter

    Be thankful that you have parents! My fiance has never been married, and I have. He’s a lovely man and would like to share our day with others, and not have a toned down affair. So, the wedding will be in his hometown. Our problem is that both of our fathers have passed away, and my mother recently passed away, also. We both want to honor our parents, dead and alive, as they were a major factor in our growth. Since I will be paying for the most of the wedding, I have no problem with our names as “hosts”, but we still want to include our parents’ names. Suggestions, anyone?

    • I would say: “bride”, daughter of the late x and x to “groom”, son of the Y and the late Y invite you to their wedding. Particularly if you are having a wedding where your guests will mingle with each other, you don’t want to create an awkward moment where someone might mistake another guest for one of your late parents. I also think this is a tactful way to resolve the question of your parents before the wedding so that you may approach the subject on your special day as you please. You don’t want the subject of your parents to come up at your wedding at a moment when you are not prepared.

  4. Sharon

    Our son is getting married and the aunt’s and uncle’s asked to give them a brunch the day after the wedding. The person taking the lead has received feedback from other family members that they can only afford no more than a specific amount and now the per-person rate has gone over the amount.

    We, groom’s parents, are more than happy to help out and make up the difference.

    1. While awkward for the lead host, is it still OK to list all hosts as if they provided an equal $$ share for the event?
    2.. Groom’s parents would like to remain as anonymous contributors. Is that tacky and another awkward position for the lead host? We can keep a secret…:)

    • Graceandhonor

      All hosts, regardless of percentage, should be listed equally; your guests should not know who paid what. If you can make your offer of contributing without public acknowledgment in such a way as won’t offend the hosts, then do so. As for timing, will the wedding couple not be on their honeymoon the day after they are married?

  5. Best you could edit the webpage title Invitation Inquiry: Whose parents go on your wedding invitations? to something more generic for your content you make. I loved the the writing yet.

  6. Heather Belmonte

    My fiance’s mother refused to pay for ANYTHING stating, “It’s not my wedding, why should I have to pay for yours.” Now she is upset that her name was not placed onto the invitations. She has now returned her invite stating that she is not coming. What do I do?

    • Elizabeth

      It should be said that parents are not obligated to pay for any wedding costs. If you are hosting your own wedding (ie, paying for it) then it makes sense to word your invitation to indicate that.

      Since this is your fiance’s mother, you should let him deal with her – it is not really your place to fight these battles, nor is it as effective for you to do so. I hope you both are able to sort out this relationship and have a happy wedding with whoever chooses to come!

  7. Betsi

    While I realize this question doesn’t “best represent the most common concerns of [the Etiquette Daily] readers,” it is related to whose names are listed on the invite. My deceased mother left me some money specifically to help fund my wedding. Doesn’t that technically make her one of the hosts? I’ve seen myriad suggestions/opinions/”rules”/etc. on listing (or not listing) a deceased parent, but I feel the wedding-specific inheritance adds a twist to my situation. Personally, I like the idea of a superscript cross next to my mother’s name on the invitation and/or an appropriate tribute to her in the program.

    • Alicia

      Hosting is more then just paying for the wedding but actuially greeting and attending to the comfort of guests. As she is descesed she can not be a host. It will cause more disconcernment then pleasure to have your mom listed as hosting in addition several on the groom side or others who do not know are likely to be looking for and asking about why your mom was not at the wedding despite hosting and then feel foolish and sad when they find out at your wedding that she is passed away. Do not list her as a hostess as there is more to being a good hostess then money.
      In your case I would do the style of invitation that is
      You are invited to the wedding of
      Betsi Ann
      daughter of John Smith and the late Sarah Smith
      joining in marriage with
      John Adam Doe
      son of Fawn and Stag Doe
      on day month year
      at time oclock
      at some location
      in some town and state

    • Mrs. Czeisel

      Here’s the Emily Post wording for one deceased parent:

      Mr. [Mrs.] Arthur Watson Driscoll
      requests the honour of your presence
      at the marriage of his [her] daughter
      Susan Patricia
      Mr. Drew Randolph Morris
      Saturday, the seventeenth of May
      two thousand eleven
      at two o’clock
      New Haven Community Church
      New Haven, Georgia

      Alicia is right that hosting is not related to money.


  8. Judy

    I just needed to put my opinion in. My (the bride’s) parents paid for the entire reception. My husband’s parents gave us a monetary gift which we put towards some expenses (photo, limo). My parents paid a GREAT deal more than his towards everything – but we listed ALL parents as hosts of the day. My parents did not feel that the invite should be a playbill of who paid for what. And all response cards were addressed to my parents – so that signifies who is “in charge” of the event so to speak. In addition, it is 2011 – women are more than self-sustainable and I was not “given away” but rather two families were joined together. Many of my friends listed the bride’s parents as “host” at the top of the invite and listed the groom’s parents under his name as “son of”. That might be a solution to many of these sticky situations – but in my opinion, this just seems a little caddy and tacky. This appears as if the bride’s parent’s want top billing – when that is NOT what the day should be about.

  9. Eileen

    My parents paid for my brothers ENTIRE wedding. Church, limo, reception, flowers invitations, wedding gown you name it . Not to mention rehearsal dinner and paying for out of town guests. Guess what the BRIDES parents names went on the invitation not the grooms. They were more than happy to let it go and not get hung up on having their name on the invitation. The grooms parents need to get over themselves and realize the wedding is really a celebration for the couple!!!!

  10. Joan

    I’ve been married for 4 years now and I feel its right to share a bit of my persona experience with the wedding invitation sutff. I live on a small Island where, traditionally both sets of parents pay for the wedding expenses but I, being a working, independant woman, saved money from my salaries for my wedding while my husband expected his father (his mom doesn’t work) to pay for his share of the wedding expenses.
    Now what happened is that a few years before the wedding (we dated 8 years before getting married), my father in law started having an affair with a girl twenty years younger who ripped him off of his savings, you get the picture. One year before the wedding, my Husband talked to me about postponing it because of this, I refused saying I’m not going to pay for anyone’s fault, we put our efforts together, he quickly saved money for one year like I did, we put everything in one account and did all the wedding expenses from that account.
    Our wedding invitation said: “Justin and Joan together with their parents have the pleasure to invite you…” We paid for our wedding, my FIL nearly caused it to be postponed so I left out all the parents’ names on the invitation (to be fair), till today I didn’t hear a thing about it. Tradition is ok as long as it does not become ridiculous and outdated. In this modern era I think it is up to the bride and groom to decide.

    • Winifred Rosenburg

      Who pays and who hosts are separate things. Therefore, all the issues about who paid should have no effect on the invitation wording.

  11. Mother of the Groom

    I received my son’s wedding invitation in the mail and it is worded like this:
    Mr. and Mrs. Bride’s Parents Names
    request the honor or your presence at the wedding of our daughter
    Bride’s First Name to Groom’s First Name
    Reception to Follow
    I don’t really care that our names were not on the invitation, but the Bride and Groom’s names were not spelled out and it leaves the question in my mind of “Groom who?”
    Am I wrong to think this is tacky? I feel very hurt that his full name was not on the invitation and he said that anyone invited should know who they are….but that’s not my point! His wedding invitation doesn’t even has his full name AND the Bride’s parents have a different last name than she does so to me that is confusing to people who we invited because they don’t know what her last name is either.
    Your opinion please!!!

    • Country Girl

      I definitely understand your frustration! You are correct it is really confusing and strange to leave the Bride and Groom’s full names off. Most especially if they have semi-common names. I can’t tell you how many “Dave and Ashley”s, or “Joe and Michelle”s I know, and (unless your son Bucksnort is marrying his fiance Lalalina) there is a big chance that guests will have to rack their brains trying to figure out to whose wedding they’ve been invited.

      Since the invitations seem to have already been printed and distributed, there is obviously nothing that can be done about them now. And even though invitations and their wording are the choice of the bride and groom, you have a legitimate worry that friends and family members could be terribly confused. I would suggest to your son that he call all of those on his side to confirm that they received HIS wedding invitation. Let the bride-to-be deal with the confusion on her side. If you are contacted by any of these guests “We got an invitation to a Rick and Jill’s wedding, is that your son?” I would be sure to pass the message along and let you son know that guests are bewildered.

      • Ashleigh

        A bit OT but excellent name choices!! LOL!! I think “bucksnort” could accurately describe the noise I just made trying not to laugh hysterically in the middle of the office. :)

    • Elizabeth

      MOG – the invitation you describe is strange, indeed. I can understand your feelings on behalf of your son (and future DIL – if I were her, I’d be peeved, too!). However, what’s done is done, and any complaining can only have negative consequences. Either this is something your DIL and son knew about ahead of time and were OK with or, if not, then it is a prompt for them to take a greater hand in the planning of their own wedding. I can’t imagine not seeing and proofing my own invitations before they went to print. What does the couple think about all this??

    • Winifred Rosenburg

      You are right that the groom’s full name is normally used on invitations so recipients on the groom’s side aren’t left wondering “John who?” I haven’t seen a rule regarding use of the bride’s last name, but it would make sense to me to use it if it isn’t obvious based on her parents’ names. I don’t know if I would call their invitation tacky, but it is confusing.

  12. Bride to be

    Bride to be:

    I was completing my invitations by myself because my mother was 30 minutes late to the apointment with my calligrapher. I had everything pretty much completed where my parents were listed as the host and my groom’s parents names were on the invites after his name (AKA: Groom son of Mr. and Mrs. Groom’s last name). The calligrapher was helping me out with the wording since I had no experience. My mother walked in 30 minutes late (as usual) and started reading the invitations. I could tell imediately she was not happy with something. In a flustered voice she told me that his parents name’s should not be on the invite since my parents are the ones hosting. Since she was the one footing the bill for the invitations, the Calligrapher imetiately backed her up saying it is tradition that only the bride’s parents are mentioned since they are paying for everything except the tuxedos and the rehearsal dinner. Without my liking they completely disregarded my wish to have the groom’s parent’s names on the invites.

    About 2 months later when we get the invites sent out I realize the the groom’s parents were very hurt by their names not being on the invite. This is after I have already sent out the invites and the RSVP by date has past.

    I feel bad and I love them like family but to be honest, my family is droping over $20,000 for the wedding and my groom’s budget to my knowledge in under $2,000 for the rehearsal. I don’t care about how much they are spending but it is clear that my parents are 100% the Host of our wedding.

    I showed my groom a preview of the invitations before everything was set in stone and he said everything looked good. I think he was too busy to notice or something because when he finally found out that his parent’s names were not on the invites from his mother sobbing over the phone about how a family friend called to inform them their names were not on them, he all of a sudden was mad at me for the invites. If I had to do it over again, I would have faught my mom a little more on the discussion. I just thought since the calligrapher was agreeing with her that mabe it was proper. It is deffinently not woth ruining a relationship with your future in laws over.

    • Elizabeth

      Including the groom’s parents’ names on the invitation does not imply that they are hosting, especially if the wording is like this:

      Sally and John Smith request the honor of your presence at the wedding of their daughter, Sadie, to David Black, son of Mary and James Black.

      This kind of wording clearly indicates that the bride’s parents are doing the inviting (and the hosting) without leaving off the groom’s parents.

      I should also add that “hosting” and “paying for” are not the same thing. Both parents should equally play “host” since many family and friends will come from both sides. How the wedding is paid for is another matter entirely. Some couples pay for their own wedding but still list their parents as hosts.

      Since the groom did OK the invitations (he didn’t think of his parents either), you should both apologize to his parents, describe the matter as both of your faults (which it was), and ask forgiveness for your oversight. Your fiance should not just blame you, as he did approve them too.

    • Deborah

      Your wedding is much like our daughter’s coming up…however, As the mother of the bride the wedding is not just about the couple involved…it also about family…when the groom’s side does not contribute to the wedding costs there should never be an expectation to expect their name on the invitation. Sorry….mom is right…parent’s money…parents name. I also have a son and unless we pay50% of the cost I do not expect to see our names of the invite. Proper etiquette states, Brides family pays Brides parents names. Both families pay equally then both names. Bride and Groom pay for wedding its their choice…usually Sue Smith, daughter of Dick and Jane Smith and John Doe son of Sam and Alice Doe request…. As a bride the guilt you are made to feel from the groom’s side is not right when the cost is born by the bride’s parents. The reason rules exist whether one thinks them dated or not is so that expectations are known so that breaches of etiquette do not need to occur.

  13. seems the grroms family always gets deleted. never mind that the groom’s family has certain parts in the wedding, and never mind that if there was not a groom there would not be a wedding. if the bride’s family wants to pay for absolutely everything including the rehearsal dinner, then they have the right to omit the grooms family.

  14. Bride Amanda

    To not make anybody offended, I spoke to both families and they agreed that we just write, “We cordially invite you to….” and leave out the bride and groom’s family names of host’s and bride’s parents (mine are not here anymore) and cause confusion or issues. They agreed and it was as easy as that. It took up less space on the top of the invitation so we were able to write a short 3 line introduction we chose. It became peronal to both my fiance and I, and it doesnt have to be “traditional” and “proper” if you dont want it too. We have beautiful invites and nobody was offended, it was wonderful!

  15. MindYourP's&Q's

    The fact that this thread has been responded to time after time over 4 years shows that people are confused on this and it’s a touchy subject – regardless of what “should” or “shouldn’t” be done. You have two choices: 1) you either go the traditional route and follow Emily Post’s etiquette guidelines for that, or 2) you break tradition and you do what you think is best.

    To the Groom’s Family:
    It’d be nice if people would start assuming goodness in intentions of their family and their future in-laws – I laughed and then was disappointed in humanity when I read that a groom’s mother was sobbing over the phone when she wasn’t on the invitation. Really? It is what it is if the invitations have already gone out. Pick your battles and stop contributing to the drama. The couple have enough to worry about and wouldn’t you rather be in the planning process memory as a Sally-Solver instead of a Pammy-Problem? Thought so. Now stop being so suspicious that everyone is out to get you and no one cares about you because your name isn’t on the invitation.

    To the Bride:
    In my experience, the groom’s family seems to want to honor tradition when it’s convenient (e.g. only paying for the rehearsal dinner and expecting the bride’s family/couple to pick up the wedding tab – we’re probably talking a 1:10 ratio on cost here) and they don’t want to honor tradition when it doesn’t work in their favor (e.g. not being listed on the invitations, traveling to bride’s hometown for wedding, etc.). As long as they’re consistent in their values/outlook, don’t worry about it – at least you know what to expect. If they’re not, either call it out (not recommended) or don’t let it ruffle your feathers – keep planning/enjoying yourself and tell your fiance to deal with his Jekyll/Hyde family.

    Here’s the bottom line: Have an honest conversation with BOTH families that this is YOUR wedding (i.e. the couple) and you two love them and will make the best decisions you can throughout the planning process. Confront the fact that they may not have the same opinion or agree with you on everything, but that you are asking for their support and understanding that, ultimately, this is your wedding and you will make the final decisions (unless they’re only giving you money if you do it their way and you can’t pony up the cost yourself). They will (probably) give it to you since it’s not in the context of a disagreement and may even commend this proactive approach. This will be important later on when stuff like this happens – and it will, no one is immune – and you calmly reference their pledge of support and understanding. “This is one of those times when we’ve done the best we can with what we have and we don’t have the same opinion. You promised your support and now is a time when we need it.”

  16. For the the love of combining Families

    Wow- We sure have become a world of Opera Singers! You know when a Bride and a Groom Marry it is about 2 individual becoming one and bringing along two different families. I read a few that it is the parents throwing a wedding for THEIR daughter and a self reliant man! Wow- Guess what That self reliant man was raised and reared by two parents and a family full of siblings too! Who is paying for what is not the issue. Brides parents host grooms parents birth and raised the invites should include a line son of and then the parents name always!!!!!!!!! I am disgusted at the vanity, selfishness, and plain entitlement in some of the above comments, even if the bride and groom are footing the bill for a first wedding I think that they should state both sets of parents- they are your parents who are excited to gain a new son or daughter along with the extended family. When did marriage become such a selfish act???????????????? Everyone these days just seems to want a party and to show off instead of focusing on what the real meaning of marriage is- the coming together of a man and a woman who want to share their life together? Good luck to all of you out there- Just a note I have never not once in the probably 200 plus wedding invitations our family has received “NOT” seen both sets of parents on the invitation!!!!!!!!!!!!! Even the non religious ones.

    • Kari

      I think that’s exactly how it should be!! Both of these adults have precious families and it should be a celebration of their marriage…Both parents should be included!

  17. Tania

    After my husband and I have supported our son every minute of his life, as well as our extended family, financially and lovingly we are to find out that we are not listed on the
    wedding invitation at all. We are also contributing substantially financially to the wedding most likely much more than the brides parents. This is very, very hurtful.
    It is like we do not exist. Brides and their parents should realize that the grooms family are inviting family and friends also and it appears that the grooms family is not supporting the event.
    Why are the brides parents more important in the wedding?
    In days gone, it was true that only the brides parents paid for the wedding. And it was tradition that invitations were written as such. That is no longer the case and I do believe that the grooms parents should be recognized even if they are not contributing any money. It should not be about the money.
    So for all you future brides out there, do consider the feelings of others, it is not only
    your day but the grooms also and he grew up with loving parents who brought him
    up, to your benefit, to be the wonderful person he is today.

    • Elizabeth

      That’s a very sad situation, and I can sympathize with your anger/hurt/frustration. I wonder if it would have been better to be more explicit when discussing the wedding plans with your son (and his fiancee) that you had some expectations along with your contributions. I’m sure you simply assumed that you would be listed on the invitations. At this point, it sounds like what’s done is done. You may want to let your son know how you feel. They very likely omitted you out of a blind faith in ‘tradition’, and don’t know that they’ve inadvertently slighted you. In any case, I hope you can find it in yourself to resolve or overlook this, and don’t let it fester, so that you can enjoy your son’s wedding and take pride in the fact that you did raise him well.

  18. Lisa

    I think both parents should be on the invite. Because without the other person wouldn’t be around for you to marry.

  19. Ernie


    I am putting together our wedding invitations currently.

    At the moment we have the wording as the below:

    Mother and Father of the bride
    warmly invite
    Person X
    to attend the marriage of thier Daughter
    to Groom
    Son of Mother and father of the groom

    My parents are paying for 80% of the wedding, with the grooms parents kindly paying for the drinks bill.

    My financees parents have told us that they want to be listed at the top of the invite along with my parents.

    I dont want to take anything away from the contributions that my folks have put in, but dont want to upset my future inlaws.

    Personally I wanted to keep it traditional and structure the invite as how I have it listed above.


    • Elizabeth

      It sounds like the groom’s parents want to be listed along with your parents as the ‘hosts’ of this event. It makes sense – you will presumably invite half from your side and half from his side, and just as your parents will invite your side on your behalf, they want to be listed such that they are inviting their side on their son’s behalf. It is not “untraditional” to list both sets of parents at the top. There are many many ways of writing the invitation text. I would advise you to look through some of them and see if you can’t find a wording that suits everyone. It would not be “taking anything away” from your parents to list both sets at the outset. I believe my own wedding invitations were worded something like this, just for example:

      Mary and Bob Smith
      Carrie and George Black
      request the honor of your presence at the wedding of their children

      Lindsay Smith
      David Black

      at 6:00p on Saturday June 19 etc etc etc

      I would consult with your fiance to see how he would like to proceed, it seems like he should have an opinion on this as well.

  20. Jessica

    I have a bit of a tricky situation myself. My fiancé and I both have a deceased parent. We both agreed that somehow we want their names on the invite as well. I’ve seen where you can put

    Mr. John Smith and the late Mrs. Jane Smith.

    My problem is my father is remarried, and I want to include my stepmother as well. How in the world do I do this?

    Please help me!!

    • Elizabeth

      Jessica, while I certainly understand the sentiment behind your desire to include your deceased parents in your wedding, unfortunately deceased people cannot “invite” or “host.” Only the living can do that. The invitation is not the right venue for a remembrance of your parents. A better idea would be to have a toast in their name, or someone as a part of the ceremony can offer a prayer for those would could not be there, and you can include a line or two about them in the program if you have one.

  21. Katie

    My future MIL called my fiance the day after I showed her what the wedding invitations looked like, very hurt/upset that my parent’s names are on the wedding invitation and not theirs.

    My parent’s are not only footing a very large majority of the wedding, but they are truly hosting. The will be receiving response cards, hosting engagement parties, working with out of town guests and family members to make arrangements.

    My fiance’s parents believe that a couple should take care of their own wedding and will not be contributing monetary or hosting wise to the wedding.

    My fiance and I both agreed that it would be nice to include my parent’s on the invite due to how much they are doing for the wedding but now he seems guilty for not including them.

    I don’t feel we should have to redo the invitations, but what would be another way to acknowledge his parents at the wedding?

    • Elizabeth

      It would have been nice to check with them beforehand. Including their names on the invitations doesn’t have to mean that they are hosts. (I’m thinking about the style which lists the bride and groom’s names followed by “daughter of Ann and Bob Smith” and “son of Jane and James Randall”.) However, you do have tradition to fall back on, as it is very traditional for the bride’s parents to host the wedding and to be listed on the invitations. It is a bit ironic that they believe you two should do it on your own, but then are hurt about not having their names included. If you are going to have a wedding program, they will naturally be listed there. And if you are doing something like a unity candle, they can be involved in the ceremony. You could also ask them to make a toast, to do some kind of blessing or grace, or some other part of the ceremony of the evening (not necessarily during the wedding ceremony, but before or during the meal). Hopefully one or more of these strategies will mollify them. Also, your fiancé can do a lot to assuage the hurt feelings. He knows them best, he would know how to help them feel better about things (or he would know if they are just “like this” and if it would be best to ignore their pouting). It might be helpful if he or you (or you both) apologize for not checking with them earlier, but assure them that you plan to include them in X, y, or z way. If they cannot be placated, the last resort might be to offer that you will reorder your invitations if they will pay for them. Best of luck, and congratulations.

  22. Lori C

    Because your parents are truly hosting, their names are supposed to be listed first at the top of the invitation, which it appears you have done. The groom’s parents names are not listed on the traditional wedding invitation at a religious venue.

    If your wedding is at a secular venue, the traditional invitation still lists your parents first at the top because they are hosting. The groom’s parents are listed under his name on the invitation as son of Mr. and Mrs. James Eric Madison.

    If your wedding is at a religious venue, your invitations are correct. I suggest your fiance talk with his parents. (I would word this differently if his parents truly can not afford to contribute) Mom, Dad, you were very clear with Betty and I that you were not interested in hosting or contributing to the cost of our wedding. Which is perfectly fine, you made your decision and we accepted your decision. However, Betty’s parents did offer to host and offered to contribute to the cost of our wedding. The host’s name is always listed on any invitation. This is why only Betty’s parents are listed on the wedding invitation, because they are hosting and the wedding is at the church.

    Note: If your wedding is at a secular venue, please have the invitations corrected to have his parents name listed under the groom’s name, son of Mr. and Mrs James Eric Madison.

    The groom’s parents will be listed in the wedding program if you have one. I presume you will have them escorted to their seats. They could do a reading or a prayer. You could have the parents each light a candle and then you light a candle from their candle during the service. I have seen at the end of the ceremony before the couple go back up the aisle, the bride gives the groom’s mother a flower, a hug and a hug to his father. The groom would do the same for the bride’s parents. His parents would be included in the receiving line if you have one. The groom’s mother and/or father could offer a toast at the reception.

  23. Vicki C

    My daughter is getting married in a few months, and we are soon to be ordering invitations. The groom’s parents will not be included on the invitations, as they are not paying for anything except the rehearsal dinner. That is their party, and my husband and I do not expect nor will we be offended if our names are not on those invitations. We are doing it the traditional way. We are paying for the ENTIRE wedding. WE are the hosts. End of story. As I am reading these posts, it seems to me that there a great deal of non-contributing groom’s parents who take for granted they should be recognized or acknowledged because they feel entitled to be. Wrong. Put your money where your mouth/ego is and then you have a legitimate expectation. Just be glad you are not in our shoes. His side has not offered to do a thing. NOTHING. And really, that’s fine by us. Just saying…

  24. Amen to Vicki C and Penny P!
    As the Bride’s mother, I must say I am amazed
    that those who don’t pay should expect acknowledgement in the wedding invite. Our daughter was told if they pay for it we will be happy to come as invited guests to their wedding. However, if we paid, we expect to have veto power over some parts of the wedding. In addition, we told them both that if they chose to do the wedding themselves we would hold a party at a later date to introduce the future son-in-law to our friends and family. [if guest list was limited to immediate family.]
    Why anyone should think the bride’s parents should fork over 20-30K+ of money and let the bride and groom control all the decisions is ludicrous. Our daughter and future spouse have been involved in the entire process with being consulted for their desires and wishes along the way. Then the budget comes into play. Not one grooms family understands that their desire for being listed on the invite with their failure to contribute 50% insults the brides family and parents by having this expectation. For bride’s families that share the wedding cost equally the grooms family should be on the invitation.

  25. Bride is annoyed

    Let’s start this by saying that I have never seen an invitation with the grooms parents on it. Ever!

    My Mother and Father are putting a lot of money towards my FH and My Wedding. They are paying for absolutely everything including the rehearsal dinner. My FMIL told us early on that she can’t contribute anything. My mother has been trying to including my FMIL in the planing of the rehearsal dinner but my FMIL says that she just doesn’t care. She can never make it to any wedding planning sessions, tastings or gown fittings.

    She then told my FH in tears that it is mine and my mothers fault that she hasn’t been planning the rehearsal dinner and that we won’t include her. She also wants to wear one of two dresses; one that shows way too much skin for the church we are in (or anywhere for that matter) or one that costs almost as much as mine with its own train.

    Now we have the invitations (approved by my FH and me) and her name is not on them. She says that we are disrespecting her family even though we have tried our best to include her.

    We have a small family part of the ceremony where her and my mother are participating as well as her name in the program. She now wants her name at the top of the program in BOLD and my mother to not participate in the ceremony at all. She feels that this will make it “even”.

    Our wedding is early August and we don’t have the time or the money to print new invitations out and I don’t want to bend to her commands.

    My FH and I are at our wits ends. Does anyone have advice as to how I can explain it to her without her freaking out?

    • Elizabeth

      Dear Bride, I would avoid interacting with your FMIL and allow your fiance to deal with her concerns. It is traditional for the bride’s parents to host the wedding, and traditionally the bride’s parents are listed (alone) as hosts. I personally don’t see the big deal about including the groom’s parents. There are ways to phrase is (such as Mike Smith, son of Jane and Jim Smith) that list the groom’s parents without calling them out as hosts. But if you and your fiance agreed to have the invitations a certain way, then it is not really her place to gripe. And leaving your mother out of the ceremony will not “even” anything out. You and your fiance should decide how you want the wedding to go, and simply present it to her as fait accompli. I would advise you to stay out of her dress shopping. Her choices only reflect on her. Who cares how much her dress costs? Staying out of her business might help her to stay out of yours.

    • Lori C

      Bride, I also suggest your fiance deal with his mother. You are his support. He talks. He should calmly explain the hosts of the wedding are listed on the wedding invitation. Define ‘hosts’ as the people paying for the wedding. Brides parents are paying for the wedding, therefore they are the hosts and their names are on the invitations. Reminder her she declined to co-host. He approved the invitations listing your parents as hosts. Reassure her no one who is familiar with wedding invitation etiquette is going to presume any disrespect toward the groom’s family.
      Rehearsal dinner: your fiance can explain the rehearsal dinner is usually hosted (and paid for) by the groom’s parents. She is welcome to host if she foots the bill. Since she declined, your parents graciously stepped up and are taking care of the rehearsal dinner. Now, is there any way the groom, groom’s mother and/or the groom’s family could pay for the rehearsal dinner so his mother may host? Instead of a sit down dinner, could mother pay for BBQ, hamburgers/hot dogs and/or grilled chicken with her relatives providing side dishes and drinks? Something casual and inexpensive?
      Addressing her complaint she has been excluded: fiance should recap all of the times you, he and your mother have invited her to the planning meetings, tastings and dress fittings. Gently remind her she was asked but declined to participate. Continue to invite her to participate.
      Groom’s mother’s part in the ceremony: fiance explains everyone is participating in the family part of the ceremony as per his wishes. Everyone’s names will be listed in the program and no one’s name will be in bold. Now, is there anything special she can do during the ceremony? Read a passage from the Bible? Read a poem? Something before the ceremony like handing out the bouquets, pinning on the corsages and boutonnieres? Can she help the bridesmaids dress?
      Mother’s attire: If there truly is a dress code for your church, I presume the church has something in writing which says what body parts need to be covered. Fiance should give this piece of paper to his mother. If there is no dress code and the dress is too tight, too low and/or too short, let her know she can wear what she likes. Same with the dress with the train. How she dresses reflects only on her. Let that one go.
      I apologize for this extremely long answer. I suggest your fiance discuss one issue at a time. I think it will be too much for him to address all the issues with mother all at once. If she tries to side track to her other grievances, he can steer her back. Mom, we are talking about invitations. Once he has explained and she tries to readdress invitations, redirect. Mom we have discussed the invitations. The issue is closed. Change subject. Good luck!

    • Gail

      As an up coming mother of the groom this August, we are giving a large amount of money to the bride and groom to use for the wedding , rehearsal dinner or what ever the wish to spend it on. We have not been included in any part of the planning not by choice. The wedding will take place at the brides parents home so the are planning and HOSTING the wedding. I do not expect to be named as the host, but mentioning the names of the grooms parents is not hosting. As others stated an invitation can state ” son of Jane and John Doe.” It is out of respect for the grooms family that there son is getting married also on this day. NO PARENT SHOUD DEMAND A NAME PLACEMENT. To those groom parents who pay nothing, be glad you are invited to the wedding.

  26. AGardner

    I feel it’s a honor and respect to have parents names on your child wedding invitation. I truly hurt inside because I just received my son’s invitation, even no parents are listed. The invitation to me is a token of respect & honor to all friends, family to watch their child begin their new beginning -starting their family. All I can say is I hurt inside, and yes all the parents are helping with the wedding. But what is done is done and we well still have a wonderful wedding and reception. And in time I will get over this.

    • Lori C

      An invitation is a piece of paper asking guests to attend an event. The invitation lists the type of event, the host(s), date, time, and place of the event. Invitations really have nothing to do with showing anyone honor and respect.
      If your son and his bride-to-be are paying for the majority of the wedding, they are hosting. If you and the bride’s family are equally paying for the majority of the wedding, then both sets of parents would be listed as hosts. If the bride’s parents were paying for the majority of the wedding, they would be the hosts. If you and your son’s father were paying for the majority of the wedding, you would be listed as hosts. If the costs are equally split between the couple and both sets of parents, all three couples would be listed as hosts.

  27. christina Rodriguez

    I see every situation as a different one. Personally, my father (I’m the bride) said he would pay. After I got engaged, he didn’t call me for MONTHS (only on my birthday). Every call was from me saying hello and right away he would say I’m stressed out I don’t have $$$ meanwhile he went on a vacation to FL and bought his gf new furniture. My fiancé’s parents leaped in and offered to pay for our reception. I personally feel it’s only right I put their names on the invitations. If I out both, their names for sure will be first.

    • Elizabeth

      Christina, in that case you could use invitation wording like this:

      Groom’s Dad and Groom’s Mom
      cordially request your presence at the marriage of their son Groom to
      Christina Lastname,
      daughter of Bride’s Dad and Bride’s Mom.

      With wording like that, it is clear that the groom’s parents are the hosts, and it still acknowledges your parents on the invitation.

      I’m sorry to hear about your father’s behavior.

  28. Lacey

    I’m trying to figure out my invitations to our upcoming wedding and my parents are paying for the entire wedding, and then the groom and I are paying for the rest..so his parents are not contributing at all.
    His parents were never married, are not on speaking terms to each other, and both are married now, but never were to each other. He has had tenuous relationships with both sets of parents due to the complicated situation they are in. This being said I know since they are not contributing they do not have to be included, but he anticipates them being very upset if not included. I want to check with my parents if they are ok with them being included on the invitation, but if they are to avoid drama I think we would like to.
    How is the most tactful way to do this, and do I need to do all 4 names or just the Mr. and Mrs. (Male name) last name?

  29. Etta

    My niece was cheap and did not mail out all her wedding invitations. I had to ASK when she was sending out the invitations and she said her sister was delivering them because we live in different towns 200 miles away. We received ours 3 days before the wedding. Her parents are divorced (birth mother is out of the picture) and her father has remarried. No parents were listed on the announcement and the wedding, dinner, flowers, everything is being split 50/50 by each side. My opinion is since she doesn’t care for her fathers wife she didn’t want her name on the invitations so she excluded her father and in-laws. Her father did not see the invitations until he saw mine. I am appalled that she has done this.

    • Elizabeth

      For situations where you want to acknowledge your parents but not list them as “hosts”, I like the format that reads:

      You are cordially invited to the wedding of Jane Smith, daughter of Sarah Black and Justin Smith, to Justin Morgan, son of Deborah and John Morgan…

    • Lori C

      Burdened: Since you are paying for the vast majority of your wedding, you and your fiance are the hosts. If you want to include the parent’s names on the invitations, you must include your fiance’s father’s wife’s name. You cannot leave her name off the invitations. Since you and your fiance do not want to include her, it would be best not to have any of the parents listed. The two examples for the couple hosting from Emily Post dot com are:

      Ms. [Miss] Andrea Jane Brigante
      Mr. Robert Holden White
      request the honour of your presence
      at their marriage
      Saturday, the tenth of July
      two thousand seventeen
      at half after four o’clock
      First Congregational Church
      Richmond, Virginia

      The honour of your presence
      is requested
      at the marriage of
      Ms. [Miss] Andrea Jane Brigante
      Mr. Robert Holden White
      Saturday, the tenth of July
      two thousand seventeen
      at half after four o’clock
      First Congregational Church
      Richmond, Virginia

      If you have a wedding program I strongly encourage you to use the program to thank your fiance’s father’s wife for her assistance. Doesn’t matter if she obtained these items at cost or from a favor. She offered her assistance and you both accepted this assistance. You should graciously thank her. If you don’t have a wedding program, please acknowledge her with a toast at the reception. I suggest your fiance tell his parents and you tell your parents ahead of time this is going to happen. Insist this is the right thing to do and neither of you will be sympathetic to any hurt feelings. Good luck and happy wedding!

      • Burdened

        Just to clarify a couple of things
        The reason we felt it unwise to include the step mother on the invitation in the first instance was due to the nature of her relationship with the mother prior to fiance’s parents divorce, we’re questioning whether the parents are even going to be able to sit on the same table as the father will insist that his wife will join him, and I don’t want that sort of drama at my wedding.

        Secondly the gifts and offers from friends were mostly my own ideas to reduce the amount that the step mother had to pay, considering it was not her own child’s wedding. I don’t hold it against her at all, and I’m deeply thankful for any assistance provided at this point.

        • Lori C

          Burdened, When people divorce many times there is animosity. I am sorry you and your fiance have to deal with this. You and your fiance may separate his father and wife from his mother. His mother should sit closer to the front at the ceremony. His father and wife could sit several pews back. Same thing at the reception. Mother sits close or at the head table depending on how you are setting it up. Father and wife sit at the other end of head table or at a different table out of the Mother’s direct line of site. Hopefully if your fiance asks all the adults to act like adults, they will comply with no drama. Good luck!

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