It’s the season to send out those summer wedding invitations! Are you working on your guest list and ordering your beautiful paper products? If so, it’s time to start thinking about how to address your wedding invitations. Your calligrapher will likely ask you for a spreadsheet of names and addresses (often in a format they provide you). But they don’t know your loved ones so you want to think ahead about who should be addressed as what. Don’t delay your wedding invitations going out in the mail. Prepare your list early and check it twice! And when you do, keep in mind these tips on how to address wedding invitations!
For those outer envelopes…
A married couple should read: Mr. and Mrs. John Smith
A married couple with different last names should both be included: Mr. John Smith and Mrs. Jane Black
If the married couple is a same sex couple, the same rules apply: Ms. Jane Smith and Ms. Jennifer Toms or if one has taken the other’s last name then Mrs. and Mrs. Jennifer Toms
If the couple live together but aren’t married, list both names (with Mr. or Ms.) but each on a different line, like:
Mr. John Smith
Ms. Jane Black
If a wife is a doctor and a husband is not and they don’t share a last name: Dr. Jane Black and Mr. John Smith
If they do share a last name: Dr. Jane and Mr. John Smith
If they are both doctors: Doctors Anne and John Smith or The Doctors Smith
If a husband is a doctor: Dr. and Mrs. (or Mr.) John Smith
For a divorced woman, you can use Ms. or Mrs. and either her maiden name or the last name of her ex if she still uses it.
For a woman who is a widow, typically you would use the deceased’s name as Mrs. John Smith but if that doesn’t feel right to you, use her name, Mrs. Jane Smith.
If someone is a judge: The Honorable John Smith and Mrs. Smith
If both have unique titles, list the wife and her title first. If both are women or men, list both titles in any order.
Invited children over 18 should receive their own invitation. Children under 18 that are invited should not have their names included on the outer envelope with their parents but they should be included on the inner envelope so it’s clear they are invited. For a more casual style, the outer envelope could read “The Smith Family,” implying all in the household are welcome.
If the guest is allowed a guest, try and determine their name for the envelope but when unavailable, use “and guest.”
If you opt for an inner envelope too…
These can be more casual than the outer envelopes. First names only or Mr. and Mrs. Smith work too!
It’s tricky to know exactly how to address wedding invitations but these traditional forms should help you navigate the waters of etiquette with ease. Though every family is different, so do what feels right to you and is most respectful of your guest and their situation!
Image by Calligraphy Katrina.