Offended by how you're listed on a wedding invitation? Real Simple etiquette expert Catherine Newman shares her advice.

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Q. My wife and I share the same last name: Griffin. But when her son from her first marriage recently sent out his wedding invitations, he listed her by her previous married name (Mrs. Monica Brown) along with his father (Mr. Larry Brown). This wording makes it appear as though they are still together, and I look like a schmuck! Am I wrong to feel insulted?


A. Of course not. It is completely understandable that this misidentification of your wife would injure your pride. But in the grand scheme, the wording on the invitation is a small thing, whereas your familial relationships are hugely important.

Your stepson is getting married. That’s the main event here—for his mother, I’m sure, and therefore for you as well. Still, you don’t want this wound to fester, so talk about the invitation right away with your wife: “The wording really hurt my feelings. Is there a larger problem between your son and me that I should know about?” If she thinks that the naming on the invitation was done to hurt or exclude you, then you both ought to address that with your stepson—though wait until at least a few weeks after the wedding. But if your wife thinks it was an oversight or just a questionable judgment call, then let it go.

Look, nobody will think that you’re a schmuck unless you act like one. So don’t. Be the big man your wife had the good sense to marry: Smile, toast the newlyweds, and offer your sincerest congratulations.

—Catherine Newman

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