I hope you and your family are well. My daughter did a course with you some Augusts ago in Port of Spain. She holds you in very high esteem, as do I, and suggested I call you when I aired my issues to her recently.
I am engaged to be married early in January next year and have undertaken, even though I am the groom, to help my fiancé pull the whole event together. Presently, I am drafting the order for the invitations to the wedding and I am a bit stumped. Now here is some information about me for you. My family broke up, the whole family, when I was about 12 years old or so — my father almost literally ran away from a wife — my mother — who had no moral compass and we, the children, were abandoned in the process.
Contact with my father was limited, but he made efforts to keep in communication and help us as best he could. She never did this with regularity at all. My mother had humiliated me badly as a teenager during a telephone conversation at which point, I was distanced, so to speak, from her even further. My father re-assembled his life and visits every year, from where he now lives in the US. He and I are close and he is helping me in every way with my wedding.
At present, my communication with my mother is via a telephone call, once every two to three years and strained, to say the least. Although I have informed her that I am to be married, she is not invited. I just did not want her "to hear it on the streets" that I was marrying. Whew!
My question is how do I word the invitations and reflect my decision not to invite my mother? My fiancé and I do not wish to use the model where the bride and groom invite the guests.
On another note, how do we invite persons who are in a common-law relationship? Mr John Doe and guest? Or, Mr John Doe and Ms Jane Smith (his live-in companion)?
"A male groom-to-be who needs advice"
Dear "A male groom-to-be
who needs advice:"
I wish to start by thanking you for your kind words. I do remember your daughter from one of my seminars that I put on for preteens and teens, entitled "Manners and More" during summer holidays some years ago.
I also know that by now you have realised that I have heavily edited your letter. I am sure you understand why.
I empathise in the trauma of your early childhood, many have gone through the same of — unfortunately — usually father abandonment, but certainly the mother abandonment can also happen with regularity and this can occur all over the world. Again, with severe painful results.
I am happy that you and your father are again close and that he is helping you with your wedding. Even before I start with some suggestions, I send greetings to your new found happiness and I salute you in giving your mother the good news yourself and I can quite understand that because you have been so hurt you do not want her to be at your wedding, though perhaps, you could seriously rethink this? Forgiveness is something all of us could work on more.
However, I must tell you that the form in which you both wish to send out your invitations is usually either worded to be from (a) the parents of the bride (b) the parents of the groom (or the parents of the bride and groom) or (c) the couple themselves. Though you have said you do not wish this last choice, someone (or some couple), will need to invite friends and relatives to celebrate this important event. They are the witnesses that a marriage has indeed taken place. Your choice is limited.
When it comes to the actual wedding ceremony, I presume that the bride is organised and — just in case — if she has had problems with her father, that she has a senior male family member or male godparent, etc., who can "give" her away. You certainly do not have to have the rather quaint "father-giver" or "mother-giver". This is not a must in weddings.
On this invitation you do NOT have to mention either your father or mother, so I do suggest that you use the term: "Charlotte and Dennis take great pleasure, etc." But Charlotte who? And Dennis who? Use a folded invitation, so in other words the "cover" of the invitation would read something like this:
and Dennis Deserving
(Quote from a Biblical passage or lines from whatever religion you are)
Now on to your question about common-law relationships. Well, they really are even more "common" now (forgive the pun). If it is a well-known and established relationship putting "Mr John Doe and Guest" just will not do. Because this partner will feel exactly like wives whose husbands receive invitations like this. Extremely annoyed and ignored.
May I suggest that you either word your invitation: "Mr John Doe and Mrs Jane Smith on ONE invitation. Or send two invitations separately to the same address. This could be done because you instinctively know (or have been told), that both partners have exhibited a strong sense of independence. But please make sure that they are received at the very same time!
I sincerely hope that all goes well for you both. Be happy! Blessings.