How to Address Wedding Invitation Envelopes (Like a Pro!)

 
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Let’s talk about wedding etiquette and honorifics! Exciting right? Not so much. You’re here because you need to know ASAP how to address wedding invitations the right way without offending anyone–not for a full-on grammar lesson.

In today’s post, you’ll quickly learn how to address wedding invitation envelopes like a pro.

You've hired a calligrapher, bribed a best friend with good handwriting or opted for printed envelope addressing. Your wedding guest list is before you, along with hundreds of envelopes.

Now it’s time to #getitdone.

Whether you're a traditional, modern or laid back bride, your entire wedding invitation suite should have a sense of formality. And that includes your envelopes too!

Wedding etiquette can be confusing, specifically for those “special snowflake” situations where you don’t want to offend anyone. You know, like addressing an envelope where the wife is a Doctor, or maybe you have a girl-power Aunt who isn’t crazy about being called “Mrs. John Smith”. (She has her own name, too!)

Thankfully, I have an easy-to-follow guide for wedding envelope addressing to help you get it done easily, quickly and correctly. 

 
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A Few Tips Before Getting Started

But first! A few helpful tips for wedding envelope addressing.

  • Miss, Ms or Mrs? Miss is for a girl under the age of 18. Ms. is used for an unmarried woman or a married woman who doesn’t change her last name. If you are unsure how a woman wants to be addressed, use Ms.

  • Never use initials. It is acceptable to use middle names if you know them, but never abbreviate them. Mr. John I. Smith should be written as Mr. John Isaac Smith.

  • Keep proper nouns in mind. The phrases “and guest” or “and family” are not proper nouns and do not need to be capitalized.

  • Spell everything out. This includes state names, directional words (i.e. North, South), street titles (like Drive, Avenue, Boulevard), etc. You don’t have to spell out street numbers (like 101 Westwood Drive), but if a number is the name of the street you may want to spell it out to prevent confusion (such as 101 Sixth Street). For especially formal weddings, spell out street number under 12, such as Twelve Dunmore Drive.

  • When in doubt, go formal. If you aren’t sure how someone should be addressed, go with the most formal option.

  • Everyone over 18 should receive their own invitation, even if they are part of the same household. This includes college-age children who live away from home in an apartment or live-in grandparents.

  • If your event is black-tie, use both inner and outer envelopes. Keep in mind your inner envelope will only include the names of guests invited with no address. The outer envelope will include their formal title (i.e. Mr. and Mrs. John Smith) along with their address, your return address, and a postage stamp.

I have several common examples below, but wouldn’t it just have it all right now? Get the wedding envelope addressing guide below for over 25 etiquette-approved samples to make your own. All you have to do is plug in the template and personalize with your guest’s name(s)!

Plus, learn how to format inner and outer envelopes, and get a quick reference guide for return addressing your invitation and RSVP envelopes.












    Wedding Envelope Addressing Samples

    Use the following guidelines below to address wedding invitation envelopes in a snap! Simply plug the template your guest falls within (i.e. single male), then personalize.

    Single female:
    Ms. Sarah Thompson

    Single male:
    Mr. John Smith

    Single female with a known guest:
    Ms. Sarah Thompson
    Mr. Michael Jones

    Single female with an unknown guest:
    Ms. Sarah Thompson and guest

    Remember to keep “and guest” lowercase because it is not a proper noun.

    Unmarried couple living together:
    Ms. Sarah Thompson
    Mr. John Smith

    Traditionally, for an unmarried couple living together, names are written on separate lines without the word “and”, which implies marriage. However, many modern couples may wish to use “and” to imply union.

    Married couple:
    Mr. and Mrs. John Smith

    Married couple, the modern way:
    Mrs. Sarah Smith and Mr. John Smith

    Many modern women may wish to include their first names, instead of being lumped in to their husband’s name. In this case, it is traditional to list the woman’s name first.

    Married couple with children invited:
    Mr. and Mrs. John Smith
    Mason and Isabella

    Only include children’s names if they are invited to the wedding. You do not have to begin the second line with “and”. If you plan to use very formal wording, use “Master” when referring to a boy under 13 and “Miss” when referring to a girl or young woman under 18.

    Married couple, husband is a “Jr.”:
    Mr. and Mrs. John Smith, junior

    If your event is formal, do not abbreviate “junior”. Remember to keep it lowercase, as it is not a proper noun.

    Married couple, wife does not change last name:
    Ms. Sarah Thompson and Mr. John Smith

    In this case, it is traditional to list the woman’s name first.

    Married couple, wife has a hyphenated name:
    Mr. John Smith and Mrs. Sarah Thompson-Smith

    Married couple, husband is a doctor:
    Dr. and Mrs. John Smith

    Married couple, wife is a doctor:
    Dr. Sarah Smith and Mr. John Smith

    If the woman is a doctor, her name comes first because her professional title outranks his social title.

    Married couple, both are doctors:
    The Doctors Smith

    Married couple, husband is a judge or elected official:
    The Honorable John Smith and Mrs. Smith

    The title “The Honorable” can be used for a Judge, Senator, Representative, Governor, Mayor, State Attorney General, Ambassador, or City Council member.

    Married couple, wife is a judge:
    The Honorable Sarah Smith and Mr. John Smith

    Married couple, both are judges:
    The Honorable Sarah Smith and The Honorable John Smith

    Widow:
    Mrs. John Smith
    or
    Mrs. Sarah Smith

    Traditionally, a widow retain’s her husband’s name. However, she may prefer to use her own first name.

    Divorced woman who kept her married name:
    Mrs. Sarah Smith

    Divorced woman who uses her maiden name:
    Ms. Sarah Thompson


    I hope this helps, friend! As you can see, there are so many options for wedding envelope addressing–and I may not have even addressed a wedding etiquette question you had. (What if a married couple are both military officers? What about Jr.’s?)

    Learn how to address wedding invitation envelopes quickly (and correctly) with the guide below. Get over 25 wedding etiquette-approved samples to make your own, learn how to format inner and outer envelopes, plus get a quick reference guide for return addressing your invitation and RSVP envelopes. It’s easy-peasy to follow, and it’s yours for the taking!