Who issues the wedding invitation?

Friday, June 16th, 2017

letterpress wedding invitation

I have a friend out of town who is planning her wedding, and she picks my brain by text message from time to time. I love to help her and think of it as an extra little gift I’m giving her for her wedding. Recently one of her questions was this: who issues the wedding invitation? Specifically, if you have stepparents, are their names included on the host line?

The answer to the first question, “who issues the wedding invitation,” is this: either you and your fiancée, you and your fiancée with your parents, or your  parents issue the invitation.

To the second question, “are stepparents included?” Stepparents are traditionally not included on the host line. Of course there are exceptions (the death of a parent, a stepparent becoming an adoptive parent, etc.), but in straightforward circumstances where you have a set of divorced parents co-hosting a wedding, only their names are listed on the invitation. Easy enough, right? Not always. A lot of emotions come up during wedding planning, and often those show up when the wedding invitation is being drafted. Ultimately etiquette exists to help people be gracious to one another and to provide some sort of social norm. If etiquette is telling you to do something that is going to hurt a close family member, deviate! However, if your family and your circle of friends prefers tradition and are comfortable with the standard rules regarding wedding invitation text, you’d likely refer to the guidelines below. My favorite resource for topics like this is The Wedding Blue Book by Crane & Co. I can’t recommend it highly enough!

A few options:

The first is the most traditional, where the invitation is issued from a set of divorced parents. The mother is remarried. In this case, the parents are hosting the event:

Ms. Jane Doe (mother)

Mr. John Smith (father)

request the honor of your presence

at the marriage of their daughter…


The second example below is where the invitation is issued from the couple with their families. The couple and the parents are hosting the event together:

Together with their families

Bride’s name


Groom’s name

request the honor of your presence 

at their marriage…


The third example below is where the bride and groom are hosting the wedding and issuing the invitation:

Bride’s name 


Groom’s name

request the honor of your presence 

at their marriage

There are many specific cases (widowed bride, divorced bride) that would change the wording above, but traditionally, these are the formats we see most often.

The line “request the honor” indicates that the ceremony will take place in a house of worship. You can also use the English spelling “honour” to inject more formality into your invitation. If you were not being married in a house of worship, you would use the line “request the pleasure of your company,” as in the image above taken by Katie Stoops for a shoot we did at Tuckahoe Plantation for Southern Weddings Magazine. The invitation was designed by The Lettered Olive.



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