Wedding invitation - need guidance please

LAS23June 6, 2004

I am in the stage in my wedding plans where I need to think about invitations. I have a cousin that was married for many years and has children. She has been divorced from her husband for over 15 years and has been living with a woman whom we always have known as her best friend (even when she was married). They have been living together, own a home together, do everything together etc. I am quite certain they are gay. I have no issue there, in fact we love her friend as family. They never discuss what their situation truely is. I think they prefer it to be unspoken or perhaps for us to think they are just friends. I would like them both to come to our wedding. My question - how do I address the invitation(s)? Do I send one to my cousin and "guest", or one to my cousin and "friend's formal name", or two separate invitations? I am not sure how to handle this unusual situation. I am grateful for any help.


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I don't know what the formal etiquette rules say, but I would send the invitation to your cousin and "friend's formal name". Since they are clearly an item, two separate invitations (to the same address) seems odd - and inviting "and guest" might feel like a slight to her. "Ms. Jane Doe and Ms. Anne Johnson" seems most appropriate to me.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2004 at 9:14AM
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We sent a few seperate invites to the same address, where adult children still lived with mom and dad, and the children were also invited, along with their dates.
I would either send one invite with both names on the outer envelope, or a seperate invite to each lady.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2004 at 9:46AM
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Clearly they are an item, so why not save yourself a stamp and send one. If you put "and guest" she will probably come anyway so why not make it official?
Good luck

    Bookmark   June 6, 2004 at 8:36PM
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Liltingbelle has it exactly right. The fact that they are both women is irrelevant for your purpose, so you do the same as if they were one man and one woman not officially married but living together as a permanent couple. "And guest" and even two separate invitations would seem like you are refusing to acknowledge them as a social unit or, worse, making a judgment. Follow your first instinct and send them one invitation, addressed to Ms. Jane Doe and Ms. Mary Smith.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2004 at 4:06PM
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From an etiquette perspective, each should receive her own invitation, just as any unmarried couple living together should each receive their own invitation and adult children living with parents receive their own.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2004 at 1:15AM
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Miss Manners, my favorite etiquette maven, would disagree about unmarried couples who live together. She suggests one invitation addressed to both people, much as one would send to a married couple with different last names.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2004 at 4:10PM
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Thank you for all the feedback. I think the issue in this situation is that I believe they would rather us think they are housemates and nothing more. What their true situation is remains 'unspoken' so it really is not clear that they are couple (just assumed by nosey relatives!). I am am leaning towards sending each a separate invitation as Sweet Pea said. Thanks again for the advise - I really appreciate it!

    Bookmark   June 12, 2004 at 7:17PM
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You know them; we don't. If you think they prefer to be thought of as a social unit, send one invitation to both names. If not, send each a separate invitation (it sounds like this is the situation). But in either case use her name, never "and guest."

    Bookmark   June 13, 2004 at 11:03PM
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