Invitation Honoring deceased mother

Hello, I searched for this in the other posts, but did not see anything like this unique situation: My fiance’s mother died several years ago and his father was “remarried” in a religious, but not legal, ceremony. His father really does not want people to know they are not legally married so we cannot use her legal last name on anything (His father and father’s “wife” got upset with us when I used her legal last name in an informational letter to the bridal party that I also sent to them and my parents). (She uses his last name unless it is on something like her tax return, etc). On the invitation we would like to honor his deceased mother, but I do not want to leave out his father’s “wife” and offend and/or hurt her and my fiance’s father. My fiance does not have a good relationship with his father’s wife and still has a hard time with his Mom’s death (in ’05). I am beginning to think that maybe we should just put our names on as hosts, but my parents will feel hurt if we leave them off. Is it possible to word the invitations so that my parents are mentioned as hosts, his mother is honored and his father’s wife is on there somehow too, without any last name associated with her (i.e. Mr.Joe So-and-so and his wife, so-and-so)? I really don’t want it to get complicated and I don’t want to offend any of our family either.
Thank you so much!

Donna, Wedding Queen, President; Top Wedding Sites

My condolences on your groom’s loss. My mom died when I was a kid and my sister and I both married without her present. It is a bittersweet time.

It’s a shame that the groom’s father has chosen to set such a poor example, furthered by asking his son to deceive his family and friends. Unfortunately, there is no proper way to word a wedding invitation and leave off the last name of his stepmother. It should read something like this:

Mr and Mrs. John Doe (your parents)
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Jane Anne Doe (bride)
Mr. Jason Smith (Groom)
Son of Mr. and Mrs. Gerald Smith (Groom’s Parents)
also son of the late Mrs Janice Doe (deceased mother of groom)

Of course, you could still do it this way, and it sounds like only you and your parents would know it was wrong., but I can’t condone that option.

Alternatives are to leave off the groom’s parents completely (if they are not paying or involved in hosting) but that style is becoming outdated) or you could leave all parents off, which you feel is unacceptable for your parents.

I’m sorry his parents have put you in such an uncomfortable situation. Please let us know what you decide.

Jay Remer, The Etiquette Guy, International Protocol and Corporate & Social Etiquette

I think sticking to the facts and traditional protocol is the proper way to proceed. The fact is that your fiance is the son of Mr. John Doe and the late Mrs. Jane Doe. The new wife need not be mentioned, esp. since she is not legally his wife.


Thank you both so much! I will let you know how this all transpires! Also, my parents are paying for my dress, but really cannot afford to help otherwise and his grandfather gave us a fair amount of money for the wedding so it is confusing in this case who “hosts”. Basically it is half his grandfather and half my fiance and myself.

Donna, Wedding Queen, President; Top Wedding Sites

yes, this is true in most cases these days. The parents of the bride are no longer obligated to host a wedding for the couple since most couples are already financially independant of their parents by the time they marry. So hosting shouldn’t iply paying, though some still feel that to be true.

There’s nothing wrong with sending wedding invitations out eithout names, like this:

Jane Anne Doe
Mr. John Thomas Smith
together with their parents…