Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wedding Invitation Etiquette for a Widow
Addressing a wedding invitation to a widow can be difficult for many who are worried about either offending or saddening the recipient. There is a basic etiquette that outlines how one should deal with the situation. However, in the end it comes to common sense and your judgment based on your relationship with the widow and the length of time that has elapsed since the death of her husband.

Outer Envelope

    Proper etiquette holds that on formal invitations, such as a wedding invitation, widows must be addressed with their deceased husband's full name regardless of the amount of time that has elapsed from his death. Therefore, the name on the outer envelope should read, "Mrs. Daren Thompson." Many, however, feel that addressing a woman by her husband's full name, whether deceased or not, is sexist and outdated. In that case, the outer envelope can be addressed with the widow's first name, "Mrs. Kristine Thompson."

Inner Envelope

    All first names are left off the inner envelope. Therefore it should read "Mrs. Thompson." If you are allowing all single invites to bring a guest to the ceremony and/or reception, write "Mrs. Thompson and Guest."

With Children

    Children are generally left off the outer envelope and added only on the inner if they are invited. An inner envelope inviting a widow and her children should read "Mrs. Thompson" on one line, followed by a second line stating "Lily, Peter and Carol." The children's names should be listed in order of age.
    If you are inviting a child who is over 18 yet lives in the same household, send two separate invitations one for the widowed mother and the second for the adult child. Address all adult children on the same invitation, such as "Misses Tara and Tanya Thompson" on the outer envelope, and "The Misses Thompson and Guests" on the inner. Use Miss and Mr. for only one adult child, and use Messrs. for multiple male adult children.

Name Plate

    Placesettings at the dining tables in the reception are also at times difficult to navigate. Placesettings can either be formal or informal depending on your personal preference. At small weddings, only first names are commonly used on the placesettings. However, if there are guests with the same name, such as three Saras, it can get complicated. You can either name each place setting as the guest's first and last names only, or with a title in front of it. "Kristine Thompson" and "Mrs. Kristine Thompson" both are appropriate name plate settings. The choice must be consistent with all of the name plates.


    If a widow has legally changed her name back to her maiden name, you must respect their actions. In such cases, "Miss (or Ms.) Kristine Archer" should be used rather than Mrs. and her married name.

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