For a ring ceremony invitation, I want to address my grandmother who died after my grandfather (so she died as a widow). How do I address her in the invitation card?

1) Late Mrs. FirstName MiddleName LastName
2) Late FirstName MiddleName LastName

OR anything else?

  • Which last name? Married or birth? I usually find this useful for formal addresses, and I guess the "late" would come first (if at all, it really depends on where you’re sending the invitation). – Pam Dec 27 '18 at 9:04
  • Ah, this has advice on addressing widows. – Pam Dec 27 '18 at 9:10
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    I don't understand what it means to send an invitation card to somebody who has died already. – sumelic Dec 27 '18 at 9:29
  • Her widowhood would not change the way she is referred to, only her death: "(The) Late Mrs." with everything else as usual. – Kris Dec 27 '18 at 9:41
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    You need to explain this much more clearly IMO. As sumelic points out, the way you describe it, you appear to be inviting a dead person to a ceremony. Please show the full wording of the invitation. – chasly from UK Dec 27 '18 at 13:44

I’m thinking you may mean “refer to” rather than “address”, unless you’re really writing as if you’re speaking to her. But I may just be unaware of the tradition being followed.

Formally you’d use “the late” followed by her name as it was when she passed: I think you’d need to say “the late Mrs. Jaqueline Kennedy Onassis” even if you were a Kennedy. You could omit Kennedy or include her maiden name, if you wish. Basically use her name as her preference would have been, the day she died.

You can also say “my late grandmother”. I don’t think there’s a case where you’d use late just by itself before the name, though there is the idiom “John Smith, late of this parish” used in church to refer to someone who recently died.

Widows have traditionally most commonly kept “Mrs.” with their last married surname, but of course you’d use her actual preference if you know it. If she used “Ms.” or was a Dr. then you’d use that. On a formal invitation you would use the honorific.


Since marriage vows usually include the words "Till death do us part," if both spouses are deceased, the 'Mr. & Mrs.' titles are moot. Obituary format is probably called for in this case:

Mary Elizabeth Miller(the surname she had at the time she passed) née Baker(the name she had at birth)

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