How To Address Wedding Invitation Envelopes: Proper Etiquette And Guidelines
Don’t miss this comprehensive guide on how to address wedding invitation envelopes. Learn the proper etiquette for addressing inner and outer envelopes, including addressing envelopes for various family structures, couples, and singles alike.
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Between purchasing the right florals, hiring the best photographer, and everything in between, there are countless tasks to undertake while planning your nuptials. Each aspect is important to guests’ final impression of your special day. Wedding invitations are the first impression your guests will have of your celebration.
Much like with a wedding dress code, invitations set the tone for your event—the more formal the wedding, the more formal the guidelines you should use. For example, suppose your wedding is a black tie, cocktail attire, or semi-formal event. In that case, your invitations should reflect that formality, and how you address your invitations should follow a traditional standard.
When addressing your wedding invitations, following simple guidelines will ease your mind and make the job seamless. We’ve researched the best wedding invitation etiquette and guidelines, so you don’t have to.
How to Address Wedding Invitations: Traditional Etiquette
Long-standing tradition states that invitations should be addressed to couples using their titles, the first name of the male partner, and their last name (Mr. and Mrs. John Smith). For so many reasons, this needs to be updated. Many guests may even find this offensive. Today’s acceptable etiquette is addressing the wedding envelopes using title, both first names and last names, or both last names.
Mr. John and Mrs. Susan Smith
Married women should be addressed as Mrs., although some married women choose to go by ‘Ms.’ and in this case, you should address them using Ms. All unmarried women aged eighteen and over should be addressed as Ms. All unmarried women under the age of eighteen should be addressed as Miss. All men should be addressed as Mr.
Exceptions to the above are for guests not identifying with a specific gender. In that case, first and last names will suffice.
How to Address a Wedding Invitation to a Single Person
When addressing an invitation to a single person, you should include their title, first name, and last name.
How to Address a Wedding Invitation to a Family
For example, if you invite a family of four and the children are under eighteen, you can address the envelope using “and family.”
Mr. John and Mrs. Susan Smith and Family
A more personalized possibility is to list the children’s names.
Mr. John and Mrs. Susan Smith, Miss Emily Smith, Mr. Charlie Smith
If the children are over 18, they should receive their own invitation.
How to Address a Wedding Invitation to a Married Couple
If you are inviting a couple, either name can appear first. Tradition states that the male name comes first; however, either way, it is suitable by modern standards.
Mrs. Susan and Mr. John Smith
Additionally, you may address the envelope like this:
Mr. John and Mrs. Susan Smith
How to Address a Wedding Invitation to a Married Couple with Different Last Names
You can choose either name to put first and address as follows.
Mr. Thomas Jones and Ms. Susan Johnson
Another option is this:
Ms. Susan Johnson and Mr. Thomas Jones
How to Address a Wedding Invitation to an Unmarried Couple
Invitations to unmarried couples should follow the same standard as invitations to married couples with different last names. List your primary guest first. In other words, if you invite a friend and their partner but do not know their partner, your friend’s name will appear first.
Ms. Susan Smith and Mr. Paul Jones
How to Address a Wedding Invitation to an Engaged Couple
Invite engaged couples using maiden names and following the same guidelines as addressing an unmarried couple.
Ms. Susan Smith and Mr. Paul Jones or Mr. Paul Jones and Ms. Susan Smith
How to Address a Wedding Invitation to Guests with Distinguished Titles
Always address guests using their distinguished/professional title.
Mr. John and Dr. Susan Smith
or, if John is a doctor:
Dr. John and Mrs. Susan Smith
If they are both doctors:
Drs. John and Susan Smith
Drs. Susan and John Smith
How to Address a Wedding Invitation to a Single Guest that Gets a Plus One
Everyone invited should be listed on the envelope. Brides often face frustration and awkward conversations when guests assume they can bring a plus one, especially if there’s limited space or hosting an additional guest isn’t in the budget. If you invite only one person, only one name appears on the envelope. Just as important is only allowing one person to RSVP. If you ask guests to RSVP online, you can manage that electronically. If you are having guests send RSVP cards back, ensure you list the number of seats reserved for them.
If you invite a single person and welcome them to bring a guest, you would address the envelope to that person and “and guest.”
Ms. Susan Smith and Guest
If you know the name of their plus one, you should add their name in place of ‘and guest.’ The person you invite should have their names listed first and their guests’ names second.
Ms. Susan Smith and Mr. Thomas Jones
Addressing Invitations with Nicknames
You should use the proper first name of your guests. Using Thomas instead of Tom or William instead of Bill, for example, is good etiquette. You do not necessarily need to do this if a guest has never used their formal name. For example, if you know someone who has always been called Frank, it is appropriate to use Frank instead of their legal name, Francis. It is not an exact science, so you should use their proper name if you are unsure. They may be surprised to see Francis on the envelope if they do not use the name but use this more formal guideline when in doubt.
Addressing Invitations with First Names Only
If you are going a more casual route and the tone of your wedding will be very relaxed, you may address envelopes using only first names. You should only use first names if you know the guests and they are in your general age range or younger. For instance, you could invite your best friend to a casual wedding using her first name on the envelope. However, you should use first and last names for older or less familiar guests, i.e., the Great Aunt of the Groom. ‘First names only’ should not be used for formal or semi-formal weddings. Remember, the invitation sets the tone for the entire guest experience.
Addressing Wedding Invitations: FAQs
Can I use abbreviations?
The only acceptable abbreviations are for titles, i.e., Dr., Mrs., Mr. Also, junior can be abbreviated to Jr. Do not abbreviate ‘Street,’ ‘Boulevard,’ ‘Lane,’ or any other address descriptor. In formal and very traditional situations, street numbers should be spelled out. For semi-formal events, using numbers is acceptable. Do not abbreviate state names. Do not spell out zip codes.
Thirty-Three Main Street
Springfield, Massachusetts 12345
What About Evites?
Today, more brides are saving money on stationery and sending electronic versions of their invitations to guests. Assuming all guests are tech-savvy enough to receive the invitation and RSVP online, this is an attractive option versus sending out paper invitations. However, even if you send e-vites, some older guests still need a paper invitation. You should send out e-vites using one email address, and names should be listed inside the Evite using the guidelines above.
What wedding invitation companies offer envelope addressing?
If you join MintedMore, you can enjoy 20% off your order plus free shipping year-round. A live chat service walks you through the process and answers any questions.
They often offer 20% off discounts. It’s as easy as uploading your address book, and they will mail your invitations for you!
They offer a free personalized address book service, or you can upload your address book. There is a live chat service, so help is available around the clock.
How far out do you send out invitations?
You and your partner should send invitations 2-3 months before your event. Venues need a final count two weeks before your wedding date. As you build your timeline, you need to factor in that many people will forget to RSVP, and you will need to track them down. Allow two extra weeks for this task. Your RSVP deadline should be one month before your wedding date.
If guests must travel and make complicated arrangements or if your wedding date falls near a popular holiday, please consider save-the-dates. We recommend sending save-the-dates one year before your wedding.
Do you have to address your wedding invites by hand?
There are countless options for addressing your invitations. You can hire a calligrapher (or even learn calligraphy to create timeless and elegant invitation envelopes yourself) or have your invitation envelopes printed either by a service or at home. Avoid printing address labels and sticking them to the envelope, which does not present the most pleasing aesthetic to your guests and can look corporate and uninspired. While invitations do not need to be addressed by hand, choosing a beautiful and legible font, if printing them, is your second-best bet.
Wedding Invitation Envelopes: Signed, Sealed, and Delivered
Long-standing tradition does not always stand up to today’s trends. However, proper etiquette is the cornerstone of a successful and positive guest experience. Customs change over the years, but using these guidelines for today’s standards will result in an experience that will delight your guests upon first receiving your invitation.
Congratulations on your upcoming nuptials! Enjoy the process.