By Linda DiProperzio
Your wedding invitation is the first glimpse many of your guests will have into your wedding day. While choosing an invitation that fits with your big day’s overall theme and style is important, addressing them properly is even more crucial—and we don’t just mean getting everyone’s correct address. In fact, whether you’re having an elegant affair or a casual celebration, there are various rules of etiquette to follow when addressing those envelopes that you don’t want to get wrong.
Wedding envelope addressing etiquette tips
Before you start addressing your envelopes, make sure you have the following information for all of your guests.
Their full names
You don’t want to use nicknames on the envelope. And be sure you have the proper spelling of everyone’s name.
Their preferred pronouns
Some guests will have preferred pronouns, so you always want to be mindful and respectful of their wishes.
If anyone is a doctor or judge, then you will want to make that distinction on the envelope.
If a guest us in a serious relationship, be sure to include that person’s name on the envelope instead of simply using “and guest.”
And be sure to spell out…
Street names, like Lane, Court, Street, Road, etc., as well as numeric street names. So 56th Street should be Fifty-Sixth Street on the invitation.
States state, rather than using its two letter abbreviation.
North, South, East, West.
Generational suffixes “Senior” or “Junior.”
What goes inside and outside the envelope
Some couples opt to go with an invitation suite that includes two envelopes: an inner and outer. The inner envelope will include all of the items that make up the suite: the invitation, the RSVP card and envelope and any other important info you want to send to guests.
The inner envelope is then placed in the outer envelope, which will have the guest’s name and address, as well as the stamp. The return address should be on the back of the outer envelope.
What is the proper etiquette for wedding invitation wording?
Your wedding invitation will give your guests all of the information they need to prepare for your big event. Most couples opt for an invitation suite, which would include the main invitation, RSVP card (either a postcard or accompanied with a stamped envelope). The main invitation should include this basic information:
The Couple’s Names
The Host Names
Wedding Website Link
There are so many different ways to word your wedding invitation, and the direction you go in depends on the type of event you’re having and who has been involved in paying for it. Here are some examples to get you started.
The parents are paying for some or all of the wedding Mr. & Mrs. Jack Smith request the honor of your presence at the marriage of their daughter Kate to Matt Jones, son of Mr. & Mrs. Adam Jones on the fifth of May, two thousand twenty-two at one o'clock in the afternoon Venue Name City, State Dinner & dancing to follow Black tie optional
Jack & Jane Smith and Adam & Anna Jones invite you to celebrate with their children, Kate & David on their wedding day May 5, 2022 at 3pm Venue Name City, State Celebration to follow
If parents are divorced, not remarried and the woman kept her married name Mr. and Mrs. Charles Garvin and Mr. James Lewis and Ms. Cynthia Lewis invite you to the wedding of their children Samantha and Anthony May 5, 2022 at 3pm Venue City, State Celebration to follow
If parents are divorced, not remarried and the woman went back to her maiden name Mr. and Mrs. Charles Garvin and Mr. James Lewis and Ms. Cynthia Carter invite you to the wedding of their children Samantha and Anthony May 5, 2022 at 3pm Venue City, State Celebration to follow
If Parents are divorced and now married to other people Mr. and Mrs. Charles Garvin and Mr. and Mrs. James Lewis and Mr. and Mrs. Timothy Jones invite you to the wedding of their children Samantha and Anthony May 5, 2022 at 3pm Venue City, State Celebration to follow
If couple is paying for the wedding: Together with their families Angela Rose Lake and Thomas Daniel Rogers Request the honor of your presence as they Tie the knot May Twelfth, Two Thousand Twenty-Two At two o'clock in the afternoon Venue City, State
For a casual event: We're getting married! Christopher & Sabrina Please join us 10.11.2022 at 5:30 p.m. Venue, City, State
How to address your wedding invitations
For a heterosexual couple, use "Mr." and "Mrs." and spell out the husband's first and last name. For a same-sex couple, either name can go first. Outer envelope: Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Smith Inner envelope: Mr. and Mrs. Smith or "Christopher and Lauren
For a same-sex couple, either name can go first.
Married couple, different last names
For a heterosexual couple, write their names on the same line with the woman's name first. Outer envelope: Mrs. Emma Liu and Mr. Ryan Cruz Inner envelope: Ms. Liu and Mr. Cruz or Emma and Ryan
For a same-sex couple, either name can go first.
Invitations to a couple who are unmarried but live together are addressed to both people. Put the person you are closest to first on the envelope. Outer envelope: Ms. Jessica Shields and Mr. Milo Roberts Inner envelope: Ms. Shields and Mr. Roberts or Jessica and Milo
For guests who use "they/theirs" as their pronouns, Mx. is the correct honorific to use. Mx. Daniel Peters Mx. Ethan Brown and Mr. Carl Morales
Spell out "doctor" on the outer envelope and abbreviate it on the inner. Outer envelope: Doctor Leslie Davis and Ms. Emily Smith Inner envelope: Dr. Davis and Ms. Smith or Leslie and Emily
To a Married Couple and both are doctors
Outer envelope: The Doctors Wright or Drs. Anthony and Eva Wright Inner envelope: The Doctors Wright or Anthony and Eva
Family with kids
If you are inviting the entire family, include the family name or the parents' names on the outer envelope. The Carter Family or Mr. and Mrs. Paul Carter Then on the inner envelope, you can include everyone’s names: Paul, Amy, Jack, John, and Grace
For females: Use "Ms." if she is over age 18; "Miss" is if she is under 18. Outer envelope: Ms. Dana Brock or Miss Dana Brock Inner envelope: Ms. Brock, Miss Brock or Dana
For males: Use "Mr." if he is over 18; if he is under 18, then no title is used. Outer envelope: Mr. Nicholas Lopez Inner envelope: Mr. Lopez or Nicholas
If you are inviting a single guest with a “plus one,” try to get the other person’s name in advance if they’re in a serious relationship. If not it is fine to write: Ms. Dana Brock and Guest
Wedding invitation return address etiquette
The return address is important for several reasons. One, if the invitation was accidentally sent to the wrong address, it will be sent back to you so you’ll know that particular guest did not receive their invite. In addition, it gives guests who cannot attend an address where they can send a wedding gift if they choose, as well as where they should send their reply.
The return address goes on the back flap of your invitation envelope and the front side of your response envelopes. You do not need a return address on the inner envelope.
Traditionally, the return address used will be that of hosts of the event, such as the couple or one set of parents.
When should you send your wedding invitations?
Invitations should be sent out six to eight weeks before the wedding date. If you're having a destination wedding, then send out your invites three months before the event so guests can make travel plans.
want to make sure your wedding invites are perfect? Discover how to find the right wording for your wedding invitation.