Photo courtesy of Erica Lynn Photography

Part 1 of Hitch Studio’s Wedding Day Designer Sneak Peek series!

This series includes sneak peeks of sections directly from the Wedding Day Designer! The Wedding Day Designer is our 148-page all-inclusive wedding planner, including checklists, timelines, tips, and more. Buy the full wedding planner HERE!

Addressing your envelopes with the names on your guest list is one of those etiquette rules that should be followed as a courtesy to your guests. When and how to use titles like Dr., Mr., Mrs., Miss, Major, etc. is just the beginning. Here are some examples of how to properly address your wedding envelopes.

TIP: I may mention an “inner envelope” in some sections. An inner envelope is usually associated with a very formal, traditional wedding. If you are using the word “formal” to describe your wedding, you may want to consider ordering an inner envelope. If budget is more important to you, save the cost of an extra envelope, and skip the inner envelope.

  1. MARRIED COUPLE WITH SAME LAST NAMES

Both names should be included (even if you aren’t close with both members of the couple), and placed on the same line. Example:

Mr. and Mrs. Karl and Renae Holton    or   

Mr. and Mrs. Karl Holton

1234 Jackrabbit Lane

Brookings, SD 57006

On the inner envelope, omit first names. Example:

Mr. and Mrs. Holton

If you are inviting children, list children in order of their age, oldest to youngest on a line under the parents or use “and family” under the parents’ names. Example:

Mr. and Mrs. Karl and Renae Holton

Kylee, Andy, and Joshua

2. MARRIED COUPLE WITH DIFFERENT LAST NAMES

This is where you list the person you’re closest with first. If you are close with both members of the couple, list their names in alphabetical order. This rule also translates to the inner envelope (if used). Example:

Mrs. Kristen Walter and Mr. Robert Banter

On the inner envelope, omit first names. Example:

 Mrs. Walter and Mr. Banter

3. SINGLE MALE OR FEMALE

On the outer envelope use his/her full name. Example:

Ms. Angella Boensma   or   Mr. Justin Hanson

On the inner envelope, omit his/her first name. Example:

Ms. Boensma   or   Mr. Hanson 

4. DIVORCED FEMALE

Does she go by her maiden name or does she still use her married last name? On the outer envelope use her full name. Example:

Mrs. Whitney Carlson   or   Ms. Whitney Carlson

On the inner envelope list only her last name. Example:

Mrs. Carlson & Guest   or   Ms. Carlson & Guest

5. UNMARRIED COUPLE LIVING TOGETHER

Just like a married couple, both names should be included on the front of the envelope. However, each name gets its own line. List the names in order of acquaintance level, like you do for a married couple with different last names (see section above). If you don’t know the other half of the couple very well, it is acceptable to write, “& Guest.” Example:

Mr. Craig Halter & Guest. If you know the name of the long-time boyfriend or girlfriend, do them a favor and list it! Example:

Mr. Craig Halter

Ms. Breanna Briggen

1234 Jackrabbit Lane

Brookings, SD 57006

On the inner envelope, list only last names and his/her guest. Example:

Mr. Halter & Guest   or   Mr. Halter and Ms. Briggen

6. RANKED

Most modern couples include their professional titles when being addressed. We’ve compiled a short list below, in case you aren’t familiar with the title-profession combos.

•   Medical Doctor: Doctor Emily Waltersma (If a married woman is a doctor, her name gets listed first if she outranks her husband.) Example: Doctor Emily Waltersma and Mr. Matthew Waltersma

•   PhD Doctor: Dr. Roxanne Luchsa (If both husband and wife are doctors, you can list Drs. Robert and Elise Williams’)

•   Judge: The Honorable Jerry Gospell and Mrs. Gospell

•   Clergy: The Reverend David Hansen (Christian); Father Anthony Dickinsen (Catholic); Rabbi Thomas Gordon (Jewish); The Most Reverend Jameson Smith (Bishop)

•   Military: Captain (Commander or Major) Clint Holton

•   Army, Air Force, Marines: Colonel Joseph South (man)  Example: Colonel and Mrs. Joseph South

•   Officer: Lieutenant Corinne Larson  (woman)

Example:

Lieutenant Corinne Larson, U.S. Navy

Mr. Erick Gregor

•   Navy or Coast Guard: Commander James Smith

•   Retired Military: High-ranking officers use their titles followed by their branch of service, even after retirement, with “retired” added: General James Edward Jackson, United States Army, retired

•   Junior: When spelled out, “junior” and “senior” should be listed in lowercase. When abbreviated, it   should be capitalized. Either option should be preceded by a comma. Mr. James Smith, junior  — or — Mr. James Smith, Jr.

7. SAME-SEX COUPLE

Use the same rules for a same-sex couple as you would a married or unmarried couple.

Example for same-sex unmarried: 

Mr. Elliot Jones

Mr. Quentin Smith

Example for same-sex married:

Mr. Elliot Jones and Mr. Quentin Smith

(If not sharing last names, put last names in alphabetical order.)

Example for same-sex married with same last name: Mr. and Mr. Elliot and Quentin Smith

8. FAMILIES

Children of the couple can be either addressed by first name on the address’ second line or following their parents’ titles as “and Family.” However, the latter leaves room for misinterpretation. Modern families may also have children from different parents and/or past partners. In this case, it is easiest to refer to the children as “and Family.”  This is subject to personal preference. When listing children, list them in order of age. Example:

Mr. and Mrs. Clint Fulton

William, Kate and Jonathan

OR

Mr. and Mrs. Clint and Heather Fulton

 and Family

If you do not include “and Family” or the names of children on the envelopes, it is implied that the children are not invited to the wedding. With that being said, don’t be surprised if couples assume their children are invited. It is best to use wording on the invitation or RSVP card expressing clearly that the wedding will be adults-only to ensure there is no misunderstanding.

Example: We have reserved __2__ seats in your honor at our adult-only wedding reception. (Which leaves no misinterpretation that this family should not bring all children listed above).

9. CHILDREN AGE 18 OR OLDER

Because children age 18 and older are considered to be adults, and especially if they don’t share an address with their parents anymore, they should get their own invitation. However, when several siblings are over 18, they can receive a joint invitation. In this case, each name should occupy its own line on the outer envelope.

10. WIDOWS

For a widow who did not remarry, follow this format: Mrs. James Smith (or simply Mrs. Smith) Be very sensitive in this situation. If your invitee was recently widowed, don’t include “& Guest”.

11. For more tips on addressing your envelopes, buy the Wedding Day Designer HERE!

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