Eight weeks before your wedding comes the big day when you send out your wedding invitations (talk about making it feel real!). You’ve tackled the wedding invitation wording on the card, and now it’s time to figure out how to address wedding invitations on the outside. That’s right—there’s even etiquette for how to address an envelope.
Before you head to the post office, you’ll want to be sure to properly address the inner envelopes and outer envelopes. As a general rule, the outer envelope should be more formal, while the inner envelope is slightly less formal (the outer envelope, for example, might have a full name with title, and an inner envelope can have just a first name or initials). When you start addressing wedding invitations, you might start wondering which person should be listed first on the invitation? What if the invitation is to a whole family, including children? To help, we’ve put together an easy wedding envelope-addressing guide, complete with what to write in 13 unique situations.
To a Married Couple with the Same Last Name
What to do: You have a few options:
Use “Mr.” and “Mrs.” and spell out the husband’s first and last name. If you decide to include the husband’s middle name, it should be spelled out, not abbreviated as an initial.
Outer envelope: “Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Warren”
Inner envelope: “Mr. and Mrs. Warren or “Thomas and Michelle”
Many modern women may have a strong aversion to having their name left out and lumped in with their husband. If you are a couple that is sensitive to this:
Outer envelope: “Mr. Thomas Warren and Mrs. Michelle Warren”
Inner envelope: “Mr. Warren and Mrs. Warren or “Thomas and Michelle”
To a Married Couple with Different Last Names
What to do: Write their names on the same line with the woman’s name first; if the combined names are too long to fit on one line, list them separately.
Outer envelope: “Mrs. Maria Stevens and Mr. David Estevez”
Inner envelope: “Ms. Stevens and Mr. Estevez” or “Maria and David”
To a Married Couple with One Hyphenated Last Name
What to do: In the case of a spouse who has chosen to hyphenate their last name, then they should be addressed using Ms. (Mrs. is also acceptable) + her first name + maiden name + married name. (Same goes if a man has decided to hyphenate—substitute Mr.)
Outer envelope: “Mr. Marcus Craft and Ms. Amanda Crosby-Craft”
Inner envelope: “Mr. Craft and Ms. Crosby-Craft” or “Marcus and Amanda”
To an Unmarried Coupled
What to do: Invitations to a couple who are unmarried but live at the same address are addressed to both people on one line. List the person whom you are closest to first.
Outer envelope: “Mr. Stanley Kim and Ms. Amanda Rhee
Inner envelope: “Mr. Kim and Ms. Rhee” or “Stanley and Amanda”
To a Same-Sex Couple
What to do: In this case, it is totally acceptable to put either guest first. You can list the person you are closest to first, or simply address them in alphabetical order.
Outer envelope: “Ms. Lucy Stevens and Ms. Stacey Thompson”
Inner envelope: “Ms. Stevens and Ms. Thompson” or “Lucy and Stacey”
To a Single Female
What to do: Use “Ms.” if she is over age 18. If she is younger, than “Miss” is the acceptable choice; it should be spelled out, not abbreviated as an initial.
Outer envelope: “Ms. Stephanie Chen” or “Miss Stephanie Chen” (if she is younger than 18)
Inner envelope: “Ms. Chen” or “Miss Chen” or “Stephanie”
To a Single Male
What to do: Use “Mr.” if he is over 18. Otherwise, no title is necessary.
Outer envelope: “Mr. James Montgomery.”
Inner envelope: “Mr. Montgomery” or “James”
To a Married Couple, One of Whom is a Doctor
What to do: List her first with her title; if the combined names are too long to fit on one line, list them separately. Spell out “doctor” on the outer envelope, and abbreviate on the inner.
Outer envelope: “Doctor Tami Takata and Mr. Christopher Smith”
Inner envelope: “Dr. Takata and Mr. Smith or “Tami and Christopher”
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