What about wedding etiquette introducing divorced parents? Our daughter is to be married next month and her father’s ex-wife and their family are attending her wedding. How do we introduce her? We’re all very friendly, but she is from Texas and won’t know most of the guests.
–L.B., Shelter Island, NY
Your husband David’s first wife is introduced as, “Janet Bradley, David’s former wife,” or “Janet Bradley, David’s first wife.”
Be sure not to use the more common expression “ex-wife” because it has a negative connotation similar to “ex-con.”
For instance, using the expression ex-wife is accurate if she cheated on your husband, cleared out his bank account and walked out on him and their children. Meaning she is out of the picture.
Ex also expresses contempt or disapproval, for instance when you can’t stand your ex-mother-in-law.
In your case, you are friendly enough with your husband’s ex-wife to invite her to your daughter’s wedding. Introducing your husband’s former wife as his ex-wife would be setting a tone you may not wish to be conveying to those you are introducing her to at your daughter’s wedding.
The intention is that only people accepting of the bride and groom are invited to participate in the wedding festivities.
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Accepting A Compliment