How to Address Guests on Wedding Invitations
words by // Eve Green
Traditional weddings are usually accompanied with formal wedding invitations, and how to correctly address those invitations can be confusing. Formal wedding invitations include an outer and inner envelope, and, from married couples to your single friends and your married cousin who kept her maiden name, there are guidelines for addressing each of your guests. Even brides who are planning a casual wedding still aren’t exempt from envelope addressing customs. Let’s get started with our wedding envelope addressing cheat sheet!
With the Same Last Name
The addressing etiquette for a married couple is the most straightforward but you still have options. According to tradition the wife’s name is often left off the invitation and merged with the husband’s first and last name. However, some modern women aren’t in favor of this tradition. We’ve provided options for any scenario. Don’t be afraid to cater each envelope specifically to those guests. You may choose a more casual format for some guests and a more traditional and conservative addressing format for another. You know best how your friends and family like to be addressed.
Mr. and Mrs. Wynn
James and Elizabeth
Mr. James and Mrs. Elizabeth
Mr. and Mrs. James Wynn
Mr. James and Mrs. Elizabeth Wynn
When addressing same-sex couples, a good rule of thumb is to put the guest that you are the closest to first on the invitation. Otherwise, the same general rules apply depending on whether the couple shares the same last name.
With Different Last Names
The rules for married couples with different last names are similar but with a few stipulations. In this situation, the female guest should be addressed first and Ms. can be used in place of Mrs. depending upon her preference.
Mrs. (or Ms.) Parker and Mr. Wynn
Elizabeth and James
Mrs. (or Ms.) Elizabeth Parker and Mr. James Wynn
When it comes to couples that are unmarried, it all comes down to their living situation. Who knew envelope addressing would get so personal! According to Martha Stewart, “For an unmarried couple that lives together, names should be written on separate lines without the word “and.” On the inner envelope, both are addressed by their titles and respective last names.”
Ms. Jillian Sanders
Mr. Kevin Johnson
Family With Children
Gary, Morgan, Eli, and Miss Charlotte
The Smith Family
Mr. and Mrs. Gary Smith
Mr. Gary Smith and Mrs. Morgan Smith
Female children under the age of 18 should have Miss preceding their name. Adult children should only be included on their parents invitation if they live in the same household, otherwise the adult children should be given their own invitation. Also, if your wedding and reception is strictly adults only, do not list the children on the inner envelope. You may also find it beneficial to make a subtle but polite note of the adults only circumstances on your invitation or wedding website so your guests aren’t confused.
Miss Bloom (use Miss for guests under 18 years of age)
Miss Lauren Bloom
Ms. Lauren Bloom
Mr. Jason Flinn
Brides often want to know how to properly address the topic of the plus one. Simply adding “and Guest” suffices when you don’t have the name of their date or significant other. If you do have the name of their date it can be added on a second line.
There are a number of professional titles that apply when addressing wedding invitations. If any of your guests are military personnel, doctors, judges, or a reverend, the following may apply. Also, keep in mind that the guest with the distinguished title should always be listed first.
Doctor Cole and Mr. Miller
Doctor Lillian Cole and Mr. Phillip Miller
Judge and Mrs. Wilcox
The Honorable and Mrs. Anthony Wilcox
Colonel and Mrs. Fairfax
Colonel and Mrs. Lewis Fairfax
Understanding the rules and traditions that surround addressing wedding envelopes shows just how unique each of your guests are! They will surely appreciate that you took the time to address them properly on their beautiful invitation.