DEAR MISS MANNERS: My oldest child, age 24, is getting engaged. He is a trans man planning a pagan/cosplay wedding where guests are welcome to dress up in costume. His intended, age 21 (ish?), is a trans woman.
His other parent (my abusive former husband, with whom I have no contact other than through the courts) has also come out, transitioned, and is now a trans woman. Our divorce may or may not be final by the time the wedding occurs.
It is likely that my parents and I will throw a potluck/picnic reception, as people of modest means around here sometimes do, for the happy couple. I am not sure where the other set of parents is in all this. It’s a little confusing yet.
I learned as a child that good manners were how you made sure that everyone was happy and comfortable. But I’m lost as to how to word the announcements/invitations, which names go on them, and in what order.
GENTLE READER: Etiquette does not often concern itself with the relationship and backstory of its participants, only in who is doing the inviting.
Presumably everyone involved has names. Use them. Especially if they are different from the original ones, as this is a chance to alert people to updates in gender, names and pronouns.
Miss Manners would give you specifics, but she is not entirely certain who are the hosts at which event. If the couple is giving the wedding themselves, and you and your parents are giving the reception, the invitation may be worded thus:
“The pleasure of your company is requested at the marriage of Ms. Jace Payton and Mr. Cayden Smithton ...” followed by the date, time and place, and then: “and afterwards by Ms. Eleanor Smithton and Mr. and Mrs. Harrison Smithton at a potluck/picnic reception ...” with the address.
If anyone else, such as the bride’s parents, your former spouse or other interested parties, becomes involved, you may either add their names to the appropriate event or have them issue their own invitations -- for rehearsal dinners, brunches or other masquerades and costumed rituals. Presumably each guest will recognize at least one name or surname on the invitation -- and be able to figure out or fill in the rest.
Elaborate costuming may, Miss Manners cautions, make this task infinitely harder at the wedding itself. But far be it from her to take away from anyone’s good time.