Wedding Invitation Etiquette (addressing your envelopes)

When you are addressing your wedding invitations there are some simple rules to follow.  Whether your wedding is formal or casual, you will want to address your invitations properly.  Not only are you inviting your own family and friends but those of your finance(e).  Sometimes you may not even know them well due to distance or other reasons.  So its important to address your invitations properly.  After all, your wedding invitation is the first impression you make on your guests as a couple.  So don’t start things off with your new in-laws by making a mistake.

When you are addressing your envelopes, its fun to get your mother and future mother in-law together with you and your finance(e).  This gives both Moms the chance to meet if they haven’t and they can help you make sure everyone’s name, address and title are correct.  Make a little party out of it and relax with each other while you stuff your envelopes and get them ready to send off.  The chance to get everyone together informally  is well worth it and both moms will feel like they had a hand in helping with your wedding.

First, before you get started give everyone a job in stuffing the envelopes.  Find out who has the best handwriting among all of you.  Many people think its ok to send their invitations by using address labels.  Using address labels is so informal that it can cheapen the look of your invitation.  Even if you aren’t sending a formal invitation and have chosen something more contemporary, do hand address your invitations.  Your guests will notice that you took the time to send each one specifically to them.  Sometimes its the little things that make the greatest effect!

Get started with your envelopes by getting the inner and outer envelopes sorted out.  Your outer envelopes are where your return address is printed usually on the back flap.  On the front, you will write your guests title, given name and surname.  The address is written next.  Write out the full address without using abbreviations such as rural route or post office box.  For example, here is what the outer envelope will look like for a married couple:

Mr. and Mrs. John Public

58 North Main Street

Springfield, Ohio

45500

If you would like your envelopes to have an even more formal look, write out the house numbers under one hundred.  You may also include middle names for formal invitations.

On your inner envelopes, you will address them slightly less formally.  Only the names of your guests are necessary.  For close family, you can address them with nicknames like “Grandpa.”  For other guests, refer to the table below.  Make sure to name everyone who is invited including children and guests.  If children and guests are not included then omit their names.  If a single friend of yours is allowed to bring a guest, write the guest’s name especially if they have been together for a long time.  Otherwise, you will have to write “and Guest.”

The following table shows how to address your envelopes for each of your guests.  This table can also be found on page 150 of Wedding Invitations by Jennifer Cegielski.  I recommend getting a copy of this book or another etiquette book.

The Outer And Inner Envelopes

Outer Envelope Inner Envelope
Single man Mr. Gerald Thomas Mr. Thomas (or Gerald if you know the person well
Single woman Miss or Ms. Jean Price Miss or Ms. Price
Single person with guest Mr. Gerald Thomas Mr. Thomas and Guest
Miss or Ms. Jean Price Miss or Ms. Price and Guest
Married couple Mr. And Mrs. Gerald Thomas Mr. And Mrs. Thomas
Married couple, different surnames Ms. Jean Price and Mr. Gerald Thomas Ms. Price and Mr. Thomas
Cohabitating couple Miss or Ms. Jean Price

Mr. Gerald Thomas

Miss or Ms. Price

Mr. Thomas

Same sex couple

(in alphabetical order)

Mr. Joseph Albertson

Mr. Timothy Zane

Or

Ms. Elizabeth Austen

Ms. Margot Zento

Mr. Albertson

Mr. Zane

Or

Ms. Austen

Ms. Zento

Family with children under 18

(in descending age order)

Mr. and Mrs. Gerald Thomas Mr and Mrs. Thomas

Lucy, Charles and Mimi

Same sex children 18+ at home (eldest first) The Misses Thomas The Misses Thomas

Or

Miss Anna Thomas

Miss Beth Thomas

The Messrs. Thomas The Messrs. Thomas

or

Mr. Alexander Thomas

Mr. Michael Thomas

Different sex children 18+ at home Miss Mallory Thomas

Mr. Andrew Thomas

Miss Thomas

Mr. Thomas

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