How To List Ex-Wife’s Name On Wedding Invitation



Beach view by Alex Talmon

Question: I am divorced and kept my ex’s last name due to simplicity and career. I am newly and wonderfully engaged. This is my fiance’s first wedding, and he’d like our new start and our relationship as a whole to have nothing to do with the ex, and I wholeheartedly agree. And then there are invitations.

I go by my middle name, and I don’t want to use my ex’s name (my last name) on anything. I don’t want my grandparents or other relatives to be confused about whose wedding this is, since many of them don’t remember that I go by my middle name OR what my new last name is. I don’t want to use my maiden name because most of my friends would have no idea whose wedding this is.

Our wedding includes three events: a destination wedding in Mexico, a “fancy picnic” where we live, and an informal barbecue in the state where we’re from. We want to make sure all guests know who we are, but avoid including my ex’s last name.

Since we are paying for everything ourselves, we weren’t planning on adding our parent’s names. I’m thinking, however, that in order for all the relatives to know who we are, we should include their names at least?

Since our events are all on the informal side, would it be appropriate to just use one name each (like “John and Susan invite you to….”)? I also don’t want our parents to be disappointed by our using only part of the names they lovingly chose for us at birth, either! So many concerns…. Any help would be appreciated!

Rebecca Black, Etiquette Consultant, Etiquette Now

Dear Morgan Culture,

I’m concerned that since you kept your ex’s name, you’re stuck using it right now or no one will know whose wedding it is. However, since this is a very informal affair, you could avoid invitations altogether and call or email everyone. You might even be able to call everyone and let them know about the events and then follow up with a written invitation with the “John and Susan” you’d like to use. The point is that you will need the invitation to be able to fulfill its mission: to invite. If it is confusing, that won’t happen.

Reader Reply

Well, that suggestion (going by the last name I use) does solve the problem for friends, but there’s still the relative problem. My grandparents and other older relatives don’t remember that I go by my middle name or what my new last name is, so an invitation including only both of those would leave them confused. Also, their email use is limited mostly to Wheel of Fortune updates, so e-vites are out, and of course, as is common with their age range, a phone invitation would easily be forgotten without a written reminder (or several).

We’re considering 2 sets of save-the-dates, on which we’d have pictures. One set would include the names families would recognize and maybe a note about the name to come, and the other (for friends) would include the name I use every day (but not the last name). The invitation wording is still up in the air though. Thoughts

Rebecca Black, Etiquette Consultant, Etiquette Now

Love it! Absolutely love it! Great idea. I’d say you’ve solved this problem.

Remarriage Expert

That IS a terrific idea. Please let us know how that works out.

I’m sure you’ll help others with clever idea.

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