Savvy September 2019

Program Wording with Divorced Parents

Cristy, on August 18, 2019 at 9:20 PM Posted in Etiquette and Advice 0 5

Hi guys,

I'm writing our ceremony programs, but I need advice on the best way to handle wording when it comes to divorced parents. My FH's parents are divorced, and his dad remarried when he was little but he's not close with his step-mom. For the processional though, the order will be officiant, followed by FH, followed by dad and step-mom, followed by his mom, etc. So my question is: Do I word it the first way, or the second way? Which one makes more sense with the processional order?


Parents of the Bride: (Dad's first name) & (Mom's first name) (Last name)

Parents of the Groom: (Dad's name) & (Mom's name)


Parents of the Bride: (Dad's first name) & (Mom's first name) (Last name)

Mother of the Groom: (Mom's name)

Parents of the Groom: (Dad's name) & (Step-mom's name) (Last name)


Latest activity by Lady, on August 19, 2019 at 1:41 PM
  • Selena
    Super September 2019
    Selena ·
    • Flag
    Moms typically go first, and bride first.

    So the program would look like this...
    Parents of the bride:
    Mom and dad last name

    Parents if the groom:
    Mom last name
    Dad and stepmom last name

    Or if you don't want to list the step mom, leave her out, but keep them on separate lines, this is the indicator they aren't married.
    • Reply
  • Florida Marlins
    Expert October 2017
    Florida Marlins ·
    • Flag

    It has to be number 2 or some variation. If Dad is legally married to someone, she has to be listed. I agree with previous poster: generally the bride's parents go first, then the groom's. The fact that he was never close to her is irrelevant - she is his father's wife.

    • Reply
  • A
    Expert August 2019
    Ami ·
    • Flag
    We has a similar situation. My parents are married, hubby's parents divorced and his father remarried. To avoid the awkwardness we used a template that listed each person individually.
    Mother of the Bride:
    Father of the Bride:
    Mother of the Groom:
    Father of the Groom:

    Except there were two columns, so mothers were on the same line with fathers underneath.

    This also avoided listing the father's wife that hubby does not have a great relationship with.
    • Reply
  • Cheryl
    Expert November 2020
    Cheryl ·
    • Flag
    I agree that even though the relations are strained, you still need to consider showing respect because she is your FFIL's wife. If my dad and stepmom were still together, I would include her in the programs if we were having them the way Florida Marlins suggested, though we disagree more than agree. My stepdad is going to be listed that way with my mom.

    Parents of the bride:
    Mom and stepdad last name
    Dad last name
    • Reply
  • L
    Lady ·
    • Flag

    I would not include step-mom on there since she is not a parent (aka your FI does not consider her a parent and they are not close). I would list:

    Parents of the bride:
    John and Jane Doe

    Parents of the groom:
    John Smith & Jane Smith

    The "and" between their names signifies that they are not a couple. Again, I would personally not include the step-mom.

    • Reply

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