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Bride unsure where to note groom's late mother

Friday, October 11, 2013 - 1:16 pm

Q.: Karen, is it correct to list my fiance's parents on our wedding invitation if they are not hosting the wedding? If so, can we list his deceased mother on the invitation, as well? I know it would mean a lot to him to have her mentioned.

A.: Weddings are emotional times and bring up a lot memories of those special people in our lives who are no longer with us. Wishing they could share the day makes their absence even more poignant. In as much as, I think they should be mentioned and remembered, I don't think the wedding invitation is the place to list them. Since deceased people can't issue an invitation, I think the program is a better place to list loved ones “In Memorium.” Many people list parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles and godparents. All are appropriate, but should be listed discreetly.

Some cultures do list deceased parents on wedding invitations, marking their name with an asterisk or a small cross, but if it is not the tradition in your culture, I advise against it.

Traditionally, a wedding invitation is issued by the bride's parents, but today, there are many variations on how invitations are worded and who is issuing the invitation. If both sets of parents are helping with the expenses, both can issue the invitation. If the couple themselves are hosting, then they issue the invitation. As far as mentioning the groom's parents if they are not hosting, it is perfectly correct. Simply list them on the two lines after the groom's name. For instance, “son of Mr. and Mrs. James Smith.”

Karen Hickman is a local certified etiquette/protocol consultant and owner of Professional Courtesy. To submit questions, email