All About Addressing

Addressing a Single Guest:

SINGLE

  • Ms. Emily Smith

  • Mr. Jack Smith

  • Mx. Taylor Smith

* Note: Mx. is a title for those who do not identify as a particular gender, or for people who simply don't want to be identified by gender. 

* Roommates: Guests over the age of 18 should receive their own invitation, even if they are living in the same house!

 

SINGLE, WITH PLUS ONE

  • Ms. Emily Smith and Guest

* If you are allowing your single guest the opportunity to bring a plus one, simply add “and Guest.” If they are a couple or you know the name of the guest, you can simply address them as so. List the person you are closes to first. 

 

SINGLE, WITH CHILDREN (UNDER 18)

  • Mr. Jack Smith (line break) Adam, Mia, Matthew

* Use a separate line for children under 18. Children over 18 should receive their

   own invitation.

WIDOWED WOMAN

  • Mrs. Jack Smith

  • Mrs. Emily Smith

  • Ms. Emily Smith

* If you are unsure which she prefers, use "Mrs. (late husband's given name) + (late husband's surname)

 

DIVORCED WOMAN

  • Mrs. Emily Smith

  • Ms. Emily Alder (maiden name)

* Both Mrs. and Ms. are acceptable, and whichever name (married or maiden) she decided to keep.

 

Addressing Couples:

 

UNMARRIED, COHABITING:

  • Mr. Jack Smith and Ms. Emily Alder

  • Ms. Emily Alder and Mr. Jack Smith

  • Ms. Emily Smith and Guest

* If you know the name of the person’s significant other, simply address them as so! If you are unsure, add “and Guest.”

* List the person you are closest to first. 

* If the names are too long to fit on one line, separate them and add “and” to the second line.

 

MARRIED:

  • Mr. and Mrs. Emily and Jack Smith (most formal)

  • Mr. and Mrs. Jack Smith (slightly less formal)

  • Mrs. Emilu and Mr. Jack Smith (less formal)

  • Jack and Emily Smith (least formal)

* Either name can be listed first, but the man's name should never be separated from his last name.

 

MARRIED, SHE USES HER MAIDEN NAME:

  • Mr. Jack Smith and Mrs. Emily Alder

* Either name can be listed first

 

MARRIED, WITH CHILDREN (UNDER 18):

  • Mr. and Mrs. Emily and Jack Smith (line break) Allison, Miriam, and Thomas

* Use a separate line for children

* Titles for children under 18 aren’t necessary. If you’d like to use honorifics for children, you can use “Miss” for girls, “master” for boys under the age of 12, no title for boys 12-17, and “Mx.” for gender-neutral children. Boys age 12-17 are addressed without a title until they turn 18 and takes the title of Mr.

* Children over the age of 18, even if they are still living in the same household, should receive their own separate invitation. 

 

MARRIED, SAME SEX, SAME LAST NAME:

  • Mrs. and Mrs. Emily and Jenna Smith

  • Mrs. Emily Smith and Mrs. Jenna Burlingame

 

MARRIED, SAME SEX, DIFFERENT LAST NAME:

  • Mr. Jack Smith and Mr. Liam Williams

* For same sex couples, list the person you know better first. If you can't decide, alphabetical is a good way to go.

 

Distinguished Titles: If a person has a distinguished title, whether its military, elected official, or degree, they are listed with their appropriate titles and in order of ranking. 

 

MARRIED, HUSBAND IS A DOCTOR:

  • Doctor and Mrs. Jack Smith

 

MARRIED, WIFE IS A DOCTOR:

  • Doctor Emily Smith and Mr. Jack Smith

* Listed on the same line. Wife is listed first.

 

MARRIED, BOTH ARE DOCTORS:

  • The Doctors Smith

  • Drs. Smith

  • Drs. Emily and Jack Smith

Street Addresses:

Spell out numbers ten and below. 

Do not abbreviate (except for Mr., Ms., and Mrs.)

Write out the words "Street," "Boulevard," "Avenue," etc.

Do not use symbols

 

Return Addresses

The return address usually goes on the back flap of the envelope. It should be the person(s) responsible for receiving the response cards, which could be the bride, groom, mother of the bride, sister, etc. Typically, whoever is hosting the wedding handles the response cards. Traditionally speaking, the return address should be handwritten. In today’s world, not so much. Return addresses are usually printed directly on the back flap of the envelope or stamped using a personalized rubber stamp.

A Note About Inner and Outer Envelopes

Double envelope sets are a wedding tradition, made up of an outer mailing envelope and a smaller, ungummed inner envelope that houses the wedding invitation suite. Double envelope sets protect the invitation during its rough journey from post office to doorstep and ensures that your piece of mail arrives in pristine condition. With the use of automated readers and sorting machines at post offices nowadays, envelopes arrive to their destinations relatively unharmed and therefore, double envelope sets are no longer necessary. However, they can convey a sense of formality and create keepsake-worthy presentation of your wedding invitation.

 

Double envelope sets are also a polite way to specify who (and who isn’t) invited to your wedding. For example, if the outer envelope is addressed to parents, the inner envelope will indicate if children are welcome to attend by listing them. For outer envelopes addressed to individuals, the inner envelope will indicate if they are welcome to bring a plus one by adding “and guest.”

 

If you are a client of mine and are interested in doing double envelopes, let me know and I’d be happy to guide you in how to set up addresses and answer any questions.

 

A More Modern Wedding?

Again, ALL etiquette relies on formality, so use this guide to fit the formality of your own wedding. If you’re going a less traditional route, you can nix the titles altogether. The most common modern addressing etiquette is to simply use the guests’ given name + surname. You can style them with symbols, ampersands, etc. For example:

Dan & Sally Jackson

123 Main Street

Saint Louis, Missouri 63105

 

Free Wedding Guest Excel Template

Feel free to download and use this template to help you organize your guests. Tweak and adjust the columns to suit your needs. If you are a client of mine, I will need the address columns filled in when it comes time to print or do calligraphy on the envelopes. Download here!

Is it Mr. Ms. Miss or Mx.?

Properly addressing wedding invitations can be tricky stuff. Because snail mail has declined over the years, our overall correspondence has lost a lot of formality. One of the only times we refer to our friends and family in formal terms is when we invite them to our wedding. Even then, weddings can range on the scale of formality. With the popularity of more casual, modern, and non-traditional affairs, there are even less ways conventional addressing etiquette is practiced. 

 

Because your wedding invitations will set the tone for your wedding, the first thing you’ll want to decide is the formality of your wedding. A formal wedding calls for formal addressing etiquette. We will be covering the most formal terms for addressing envelopes. For a more casual or modern wedding, it is perfectly fine to stray from tradition and adapt these rules as needed. Whatever way you choose, just remember to stay consistent!

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