Etiquette of listing the deceased father on wedding invitations

Updated April 17, 2017

The bride and groom are usually at a loss when it comes to wedding etiquette and listing a deceased parent's name in the invitation. Since marriage is a special milestone in their lives, most couples want to honour their parents, even if one or both of them have passed away. Follow the proper wording format and this is definitely not a problem.

Bride's Father

When the bride's mother (the surviving parent) has not remarried and is hosting the wedding, and the father is deceased, the mother's name appears first on the invitational line, followed by the father's name, but with the words "in behalf of the late" preceding. For example, "Mrs. Linda MacKenzie, in behalf of the late Mr. William MacKenzie, requests the honour of your presence...."

When the mother has remarried, and she and her new husband are hosting it should read, "Mr. and Mrs. Robert Miller, in behalf of the late Mr. William MacKenzie, request the honour of your presence...."

Groom's Father

If the groom's father has passed on, write his mother's name (if she has not remarried) first, then put the word "late" in front of his father's name. For example, "Mr. and Mrs. Jake Schultz request the honour of your presence to the marriage of their daughter Helena Leigh to Richard Anderson, son of Mrs. Barbara Anderson and the late Mr. Peter Anderson." If the mother has remarried, write, "Richard Anderson, son of Mr. and Mrs. Dave Donovan and the late Mr. Peter Anderson...."

Bride and Groom as Hosts

When the couple is paying for their wedding, it is much easier to word the invitation, even when one or both fathers are deceased. For example, "Isabella Hudson, daughter of Mrs. Shelley Hudson and the late Mr. Charles Hudson, and Chris Boyd, son of Mrs. Julianna Boyd and the late Mr. Gilbert Boyd, request the honour of your presence...."

Another Option

In the Philippines, when a deceased parent's name is written in the wedding invitation, a cross sign (in parentheses or by itself) is simply placed beside it to indicate that the person has passed on to eternal life. For example, "Mr. Arturo Cruz (+) and Mrs. Rosario Cruz...."

Other Suggestions

Traditionally in America it is not proper to include a deceased parent's name on a wedding invitation (except in Latin America). Though it is not a strict rule of wedding etiquette, a lot of couples abide by it. Instead of putting a deceased father's name in the wedding invitation, you can definitely consider mentioning him in your newspaper announcement, during a prayer within the ceremony, or in the wedding program where you can even include a song or poem as a special tribute to him.

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About the Author

Rose Sartaguda is a freelance writer/creative consultant. A professional writer for more than 10 years, she is also the creative director of Music of My Soul, a nonprofit media organization.