When it comes to weddings, we do things the right way. It can be a huge pain to decipher the titles and abbreviations on a formal wedding invitation.
As if it weren’t stressful enough to organize a complete fantasy wedding. The official procedures for sending wedding invitations can seem daunting at first.
Our suggestion? Don’t stress out about learning the proper wording for wedding invitations. Traditional wedding invitation addressing is a more complicated practice to pick up, but that’s true of many customs.
Did you know that once a child reaches the age of eighteen, the family’s invitations need to be sent differently? Similarly, the invitation game shifts if the invitee is a woman using her maiden name.
Moreover, we won’t even begin discussing juniors’ formal wedding invitations Instead of trying to figure out how to address formal wedding invitations, use our helpful instructions.
Put in the time and effort into finding the ideal location, sampling delectable wedding cakes, and settling on a stunning, one-of-a-kind color palette. Leave the protocol to us with our checklist for mailing elegant wedding invitations.
Guidelines for Addressing Wedding Invites
- Indent the second line if the names of the visitors will not fit on the first.
- In the case of a more relaxed wedding event, such as a backyard barbecue or a brunch in the park, it may be OK to omit titles and use only first names when addressing invitation envelopes. However, it is prudent to err on the side of formality in all other regards. Weddings have come to be associated with a certain level of pomp and ceremony, and more traditional guests will take note if you fail to meet their expectations.
How to Address Wedding Invitations (Different Ways)
Thinking about the addressing of the envelopes should be a priority when you compile the list of invitees.
Whether you’re going for a romantic calligraphy style or a sleek, modern sans-serif look for your invitations, I encourage you to use our customizable guest addressing services, samples of which are provided in the following article.
One alternative is to hire a professional calligrapher. Using calligraphy on your invites is a great way to make them look extra special. (But note, the price is roughly 3x our printed guest addressing, so keep that in mind.)
You may be a courageous soul who’s taken a calligraphy class and wants to do it all by yourself. If you plan on using either manual method of addressing, I suggest ordering around 20% more envelopes (already printed with the return address) to account for practice and mistakes.
What You Need to Know to Get Started
Several pieces of information may prove helpful:
- Spelling out street names and state names is required.
- Guests under eighteen should always be addressed as “Miss,” while adults should use “Ms.”
- Don’t shorten names by using initials; spell out the entire middle name, for instance.
- Everyone over 18 residing at the same residence, including roommates and adult children still living at home, shall receive a separate invitation in an addressed envelope.
- Organize guest addresses in a spreadsheet, such as Excel, Numbers, or Google Docs, with a distinct column for Guest Names, Street addresses, City/State/Zip, and Country if relevant. Your stationer or calligrapher will easily use this as a starting point for printing or hand-addressed envelopes.
Send a Wedding Invitation to a Single Person
The first step in becoming a master envelope addresser is properly addressing a wedding invitation to a single guest.
To begin, always address someone by their preferred title. Avoid potential confusion by going without a title if you are unsure.
If you know both the host’s and the guest’s names, it’s nice to use both in an invitation.
Simply writing “and Guest” on the inner envelope will do if you’re inviting someone’s casual date or you don’t know their name.
Here’s a primary example of what can happen when you don’t have a plus-one:
On the envelope’s exterior:
On the inner envelope:
Second Example: A Plus-One
On the outer envelope:
On the inner envelope:
Harold and Guest
Address Wedding Invitations To a Family
For a Single Envelope
It’s essential to consider whether you want to send generic wedding invites to everyone in the family before sending out the actual invitations. Just address the envelope to “The Family” if you’d instead not single out any particular members:
The Elmer Family
Put the names of the invited relatives in a list if you need to be specific about who is being invited from which family.
The parents’ names should come first in the wedding invitation wording, followed by a list of the children’s names in chronological sequence based on their ages. The proper form of address for female children under the age of 18 is Miss:
The Elmer Family Mr. and Mrs. Francis Elmer
Mr. Bart Elmer
Miss Lisa Elmer
For Two Envelopes
Use the full family name or just the parents’ if everyone is invited:
Elmer, Homer, and Kids
To Mr. & Mrs. Homer Elmer
Next, on the inside envelope, write the first names of each family member who has been invited:
The Elmer, Mr. & Mrs.
Michael, Bart, and Lisa
Michael, Homer, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie
Addressing a Wedding Invitation to an Already Married Couple
Guests who are married should have their names included on the invitation. It is OK to omit titles and list the names alphabetically (as shown below in example two).
If their surnames are different, you should first introduce yourself to the person you know best. Go in alphabetical order if your relationships with each person are on par.
The invitation can also be addressed to one individual if that person has assumed the other’s name (shown below in example one).
Example: Same Last Name
On the envelope’s outside:
Mr. Leonard and Mrs. Laura Rivera
Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Rivera
On the interior envelope:
Mr. and Mrs. Rivera
Leonard and Laura
Wedding Invitation Guidelines for a Same-Sex Couple
For One Envelope Only
Same-sex couples are held to the same standards of behavior as any other married or single pair.
List both names on the same line if they are married or cohabiting. If one of you has a hyphenated last name, put it at the end of the entry:
- Those two ladies are Virginia Bunch and Carrie Willick-Bunch.
The names of a same-sex pair with distinct last names might be listed in either alphabetical order or order of closeness to the host:
- Peter and Cameron Lewis.
For Two Envelopes
For the outer envelope, please use the format above. Follow the same protocol as described above for the inner envelope, using courtesy titles and last names or only first names if you’re particularly close to the couple:
Mr. Martin and Mr. Leon
Peter and Cameron Lewis.
The Knot Invitations: Do they address the envelopes?
The Knot Invitations sells coordinating envelopes with your guests’ names and addresses preprinted for your convenience.
The printed envelopes can be included in your order, and the guest list information can be filled out using our convenient template and sent to the team.
Before printing, you’ll be able to review a digital preview of all of the envelopes to ensure accuracy. It’s never been simpler to personalize your wedding invites.
How should you arrange guests’ names on wedding invitation envelopes?
Traditionally, the topic of whose name should come first when sending wedding invitations has been debated for decades. No longer a need to make choices predicated on a person’s gender and no absolute rules exist.
It is common practice for some couples to list their closest friend or relative first, followed by their spouse, while others list their friends and relatives alphabetically.
You are free to choose which (if any) of these suggestions to follow. There is one notable exception, though, and that is when prestigious titles are at stake. It would help if you mentioned the individual holding the highest position first.
Can you address wedding invitations without Mr. or Mrs.?
Keep in mind that you don’t have to use titles; you can use your guests’ names without the “Mr.,” “Ms.,” “Miss.,” or “Mr.” versions if you’d prefer.
Does the man or woman’s name go first on wedding invitations?
The bride always comes first in a wedding, according to custom. When sending out a formal invitation, it’s customary to use the bride’s full name, including her given and middle names. In this context, the groom’s entire character and title are used (optional).
Why is the bride’s name always first?
Because the bride and her family customarily send out invites. By definition, they are the ones throwing the party. The bride and her family traditionally handle most wedding preparations.