How to Word a Wedding Invitation With Deceased Parent(s): Step-By-Step

Updated

Having your parents present at a wedding is a big part of this special day. For those who have lost a parent or both parents, it’s important to honor their memory for this milestone. Weddings are already an emotional time, so understanding how to remember a family member is a must. 

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How do you word a wedding invitation when you’ve lost a parent? It’s traditional to include parents on the wedding invitation, often giving the appearance that they’re the ones inviting loved ones to the gathering. You’ll need to get a bit creative for including a parent or parents’ legacy on invites. 

By including your parents’ names (whether living or deceased) on this invitation, they get to be a part of the excitement. Whether they’re with you in-person or in spirit, this is a time-honored tradition. Here’s how to word a wedding invitation with deceased parents, step-by-step. 

Etiquette for Wedding Invitations With Deceased Parents Explained

There’s a typical etiquette for wedding invitations that’s common whether your parents are living or deceased. The general format is as follows:

[Engaged Person’s Name]

child of [Parent’s Name] and [Parent’s Name]

and 

[Engaged Person’s Name]

child of [Parent’s Name] and [Parent’s Name]

request the honor of your presence at their marriage.

Another common etiquette, though less common today, is for the invitations to be issued by the parents. This is when the engaged couple's family requests guests join them for the celebration of the union. 

If the parent died a long time ago or the surviving parent has since remarried, they might not be listed on the wedding invitation at all. Remember, there are many different wedding memorial ideas to honor a deceased parent during this celebration. 

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How to Word a Wedding Invitation When One Parent is Deceased

If one parent is deceased, it’s not always clear how to include them on the wedding invitation. If you’re listing the surviving parent’s name, it feels odd to exclude the other parent. While you might include a stepparent instead, you could also list the deceased parent using the phrasing below. 

[Engaged Person’s Name]

child of [Parent’s Name] and the late [Parent’s Name]

and 

[Engaged Person’s Name]

child of [Parent’s Name] and [Parent’s Name]

request the honor of your presence at their marriage.

By including “late” by the deceased parent’s name, it’s clear this parent is no longer living. Yet their memory is honored on the invitation as it would be if both parents were still living. 

How to Word a Wedding Invitation When Both Parents Are Deceased

When both parents are deceased, you follow a similar format as above. Again, you’ll want to list both parents as “late” to honor them each. 

[Engaged Person’s Name]

child of the late [Parent’s Name] and [Parent’s Name]

and 

[Engaged Person’s Name]

child of [Parent’s Name] and [Parent’s Name]

request the honor of your presence at their marriage.

As long as it doesn’t appear as though the deceased family members are sending the invitations, feel free to include as many relatives as you’d wish. A common alternative if both parents are deceased is to list other surviving family members. This is usually one of the engaged person's grandparents, aunt and uncle, or another guardian. 

For example, to list both grandparents and deceased parents, the invitation would read:

[Engaged Person’s Grandparent Name] and [Engaged Person’s Grandparent Name]

and 

[Engaged Person’s Parent's Name] and [Engaged Person’s Parent's Name]

request the honor of your presence at the marriage of

[Engaged Person’s Name]

child of the late [Parent’s Name] and [Parent’s Name]

to 

[Engaged Person’s Name]

In this example above, the grandparents are listed in the parent’s place as ones posing the invitations. However, the deceased parents are still honored on the wedding invitations. 

How to Word a Wedding Invitation When One Parent Is Deceased But a Surviving Parent Remarried

In the case of remarriage, the wedding invitations become a bit more complex. Still, it’s possible to honor all of your loved ones and extended family if that’s your choice. The example below is perfect if the surviving parent remarried and the step-parent is to be listed on the invitation. 

[Engaged Person’s Name]

child of [Parent’s Name] and [Step Parent’s Name]

and 

the late [Deceased Parent’s Name]

and 

[Engaged Person’s Name]

child of [Parent’s Name] and [Parent’s Name]

request the honor of your presence at their marriage.

In theory, you can list as many names as you’d like on the invitation. However, this can quickly get overwhelming and it might use all of the available space. Less is usually more, but it’s up to your personal preference. After all, this is your wedding day. 

Ways to Honor a Deceased Parent at a Wedding

Whether you include your deceased parent or parents on the wedding invitation or not, you can always include their memory in the service itself. There are so many ways to acknowledge their role and memory in your life. 

Your deceased parent might not be there in person, but their legacy is there in spirit. Here are some ideas for honoring them at your wedding event:

  • Reserve a seat: A simple way to include a deceased parent is to reserve them a seat at the ceremony and reception. This is a great way to imagine them there with you. 
  • Wedding program: If you’re using wedding programs, this is the perfect place to include a note “in loving memory” of your parents. Like a wedding invitation, this is a great memento. 
  • Give a toast: Weddings are all about toasts, so cheers in honor of your parent. 
  • Memorial poems: Give a short wedding memorial poem reading during the ceremony or reception dedicated to your parent. 
  • Flowers: Flowers and weddings go hand-in-hand. Hold a bouquet that reminds you of your deceased parent. 

Any of these ideas below make it possible for your loved one to be a part of your special day. These are the memories we’ll carry with us for years to come, even if our parent or parents couldn’t be present that day. 

Honor Your Deceased Parent with Your Wedding Invitations

With so much etiquette to consider, creating your own wedding invitations is difficult on the best of occasions. When you also want to honor a deceased parent or parents, it becomes even more challenging. Luckily, with a bit of special wording, you can easily include them as part of your invitation. 

Not only are these invitations a great memento, but they’re also the start of your celebration. They set the tone for your union in holy matrimony. If your parent can’t be there themselves, you can still feel close to their memory by including them in your planning process. 

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