Q: My fiancé's father will not be able to attend our wedding and reception because he'll be stationed overseas. He and my future mother-in-law are divorced, and he is remarried. Should we invite my fiancé's stepmother?

A: The first question you should ask is whether you really want to have a big wedding when your fiancé's father can't be there. Often under circumstances like these, the couple opts to have a small civil ceremony with immediate family and then a larger ceremony and reception when they can celebrate with the entire family. If you're worried about getting deposits back, talk to your service providers about the situation and see if they'll let you postpone, not cancel, the wedding without financial penalty. If there is a fee, the money you lose might well be worth it. If you have a ceremony and reception without your fiancé's father present, send the invitation to his stepmother and father just as you would if he were stationed in the States.

See all questions about wedding invitations and stationery etiquette

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