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Wedding Invitation Etiquette ~

Destination Wedding

Addressing the Envelope

Basic rules of etiquette

It is traditional to use the complete, formal name and address of your invited guests on the outer envelope of a double envelope set and on the outside of a single envelope. Do not use abbreviations other than "Mr." or "Mrs." Spell out Avenue, Road, and Street as well as the State name. See the "Basic Rules of Etiquette" section under "Wording your Wedding Invitation" above for more detail on how to write titles and suffixes. Include zip codes on the same line with the city and state.

The inner envelope of a double envelope set carries only the last name preceded by titles (Mr., Mrs., Doctor) of the primary person or couple being invited. There are no addresses. Invited children's first names appear under the parents' names. (Invited children over 18 or older still dwelling with their parents should receive separate invitations.) If you are allowing single people, who are not dating anyone in particular, to bring a guest, you would say so on this inner envelope by adding "and guest" to their title and surname. If you are using a single envelope, you must put this information on the outside of the single envelope by adding the children's names below the parents' names or the "and guest" line beside the single guest's name.

Remember! Before purchasing stamps, have one fully assembled invitation weighed at the post office to determine proper postage. Don't forget to purchase stamps for the respond envelopes as well.

Sample Addressing Formats Wording for (nearly) Every Situation

Invitations with a single envelope

If you elect to use a single envelope with your invitation, here are some suggestions for addressing the outside of the single envelope.

Married Couples

Married couples living in the same house:

Mr. and Mrs. George Smith, junior
800 Park Avenue, 3C
New York, New York
10025

 

Married couples in which the woman has retained her maiden name or professional name--some experts say the woman's name appears first:

Ms. Elaine Austin Rogers
Mr. Edward Paris Whittemore
Three Greenleaf Lane
Huntington Beach, California
94640

Others suggest the names be listed alphabetically:

Ms. Judy Paris
Mr. Benjamin Jeffery Straton
etc.

 

Mr. Bernard Dawson
Ms. Anne Fisk
etc.

Unmarried Couples

Unmarried couples living in the same house should be listed alphabetically:

Ms. Elaine Alla
Ms. Susan Zaph
40 Sparrow Drive
Dallas, Texas
75341

 

Ms. Caroline Parker
Mr. David Randolph
Three Greenleaf Lane
Huntington Beach, California
94640
Family Invitation

A family with young children:

Mr. and Mrs. George Smith
Martha and Susan
800 Park Avenue, 3C
New York, New York
10025

It is considered correct to send a separate invitation to each child 18 years or older.

Single Individual with Guest

If you wish to encourage a single friend to invite a guest, find out the guest's name, especially if the couple is engaged, living in the same house, or seeing each other on an exclusive basis. If they live at different addresses, it is considerate to send an invitation to the guest directly. Otherwise address as follows:

Ms. Evelyn Phelps
Mr. John Wesley Eight
Beaver Dam Road
Seattle, Washington
98110

If you cannot obtain the name ahead of time, it is also correct to address:

Ms. Evelyn Phelps and guest

 

Mr. John Wesley and guest

Invitations with double envelopes

If you elect to use two envelopes with your invitations, here are suggestions for addressing the inner and outer envelopes:

Married Couples

Married couples living in the same house:

Outer Envelope

Mr. and Mrs. George Smith
800 Park Avenue, 3C
New York, New York
10025

Inner Envelope

Mr. and Mrs. Smith

Married couples in which the woman has retained her maiden name or professional name--some experts say the woman's name appears first:

Outer Envelope

Ms. Elaine Austin Rogers
Mr. Edward Paris Whittemore
Three Greenleaf Lane
Huntington Beach, California
94640

Inner Envelope

Ms. Rogers
Mr. Whittemore

Others suggest the names be listed alphabetically:

Outer Envelope

Mrs. Elaine Austin Dogers
Mr. Conrad Hemenway
etc.

Inner Envelope

Ms. Dogers
Mr. Hemenway etc.
Unmarried Couples

Unmarried couples living in the same house should be listed alphabetically:

Outer Envelope

Ms. Caroline Parker
Mr. David Randolph
Three Greenleaf Lane
Huntington Beach, California
94640

Inner Envelope

Ms. Parker
Mr. Randolph
Family Invitation

A family with young children:

Outer Envelope

Mr. and Mrs. George Smith
Martha and Susan
800 Park Avenue, 3C
New York, New York
10025

 

Inner Envelope

Mr. and Mrs. Smith
Martha and Susan (by seniority)

It is considered correct to send a separate invitation to each child 18 years or older. You may also use the title Master if the young man is under the age of 13.

Single Individual with Guest

If you wish to encourage a single friend to invite a guest, you should learn the name of the guest, especially if they are engaged, living in the same house, or seeing each other on an exclusive basis. If they live at different addresses, it is considerate to send an invitation to the guest directly. Otherwise address as follows:

Outer Envelope

Ms. Evelyn Phelps
Mr. John Wesley Eight
Beaver Dam Road
Seattle, Washington
98110

Inner Envelope

Ms. Phelps
Mr. Wesley

If you cannot obtain the name ahead of time, it is also correct to address:

Outer Envelope

Mr. Walter Robinson
126 Woodland Creek Drive
Dallas, Texas
75225

Inner Envelope

Mr. Robinson and guest

 

NEXT - Glossary of terms


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Helpful Wedding Information ~ Etiquette Guide, Destination Guide

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