A reader recently reported that her fiancé's parents wanted to be included on the invitation. Easy enough, but here was the hard part. As the bride put it: "It is his step-father, not his biological father, and his mother that we consider his parents." And so the plan was to use the phrasing "son of," and simply leave his biological father completely off the invitation.
But using the "son of" phrasing has some big pitfalls for her!
Leaving his bio dad off is much like disowning him: "I'm not your son." The wedding invitation is a pretty public and emotionally charged framework for making this statement for the first time. If the rift is clear to all, and of long standing (will the dad be invited to the wedding?), this will be a pretty drama-free choice.
But it still could be pretty hurtful for the groom's paternal grandmother (and other relatives, of course) to receive that invitation, which deliberately and pointedly excludes her son. Not to mention, if a couple has *any* hope of ever being close to the groom's father again, then publicly dissing him in this way is going to mess that up pretty badly.
Are there other options for her?
One possible format: include both sets of the groom's parents, secure in the knowledge that because ladies (and their spouses) come first, the biological father will be listed *after* the beloved stepdad.
Or she could cry "tradition!" and leave the groom's parents off completely.
What would your advice be? And has a distant parental relationship affected your etiquette decisions?