You’re engaged! Now what? Very soon, you’ll get to tell all of your favorite people, and if they’re lucky, you’ll be inviting them to the main event – your wedding celebration.
Wedding invitation wording can be tricky, particularly if you have an eclectic mix of attendees (which nearly every celebration does). There are so many different titles to remember, spell-checks to verify, and unexpected updates to keep track of (not to mention physical addresses for all of your guests) – and even though you will be sending out a large number of invites, your guests will each receive only one. This means that you’ll want to pay critical attention to the tiny details, as they make all of the difference – and as we know, how you do anything is how you do everything.
This week, I’m teaming up with Wedding Paper Divas to share a handy guide they created to help you address wedding invitation envelopes for every situation. Keep reading for illustrated instructions showing proper etiquette for addressing the outer and inner envelopes – Or, click here to use the interactive form for quick answers on how to address invitations for most everyone attending your wedding. Good luck, congratulations, Mazel Tov, complimenti, and best wishes throughout your wedding planning journey!
TO A MARRIED COUPLE
This is the most traditional form of addressing an invitation. Should you choose to include both persons’ names, the outer envelope can be addressed as Mr. and Mrs. HIS FIRSTNAME LASTNAME. An alternate version includes both names as Mr. FIRSTNAME and Mrs. FIRSTNAME LASTNAME.
TO A MARRIED COUPLE THAT USES DIFFERENT LAST NAMES
It’s best to list the person to whom you’re closest to first on the outer and inner envelopes. If you know each one as well as the other, you may write them in alphabetical order.
TO AN UNMARRIED COUPLE LIVING TOGETHER
Similar to the address for a married couple, both names should be included on the envelopes.
TO A MARRIED COUPLE WITH A HYPHENATED LAST NAME
TO THOSE WITH DISTINGUISHED TITLES
If only one in the couple has a distinguished title, it is proper to write his or her name and title first. If the wife has the professional title, you will address her name depending on whether or not she uses her maiden name professionally.
If both parties are doctors with different last names, both their names can be written on the inner and outer envelopes.
If both parties are doctors with the same last name, you may address the envelopes as follows:
Many of the same rules that you use for doctors also apply for military personnel, judges, reverends, etc. If both parties have distinguished titles, it is best to write the person with the highest rank first. Also, make note to add “The Honorable” to a title in the case of elected government positions, excluding the President.
TO A DIVORCED FEMALE
The best practice is to address her as either Mrs. or Ms. and use her maiden name if she doesn’t use her former husband’s surname.
TO A WIDOW
Traditionally, you would use the deceased husband’s last name in the address, as well as his first name. However, this depends greatly on her personal preference and what she will find respectful. Some choose to use their own first name, and sometimes also their own last name. If you’re unsure, it’s best to ask what she prefers.
TO CHILDREN AND FAMILIES
Younger guests can be included on the inner envelope of their parents’ invitation listed by first name. However, children are normally not addressed on the outer envelope. For girls under 18, you’ll want to use “Miss.” Boys don’t require a title until they’re 18.
TO PEOPLE 18 AND OLDER
Unless they live at home with their parents, they should receive their own invitations.