A Quick Guide to Addressing Your Wedding Invitations Properly

Etiquette, Invites & Stationery
how to address your wedding invitations

Photo: Ruby the Fox

You just received your wedding invitations and are ready to mail them to your guests. But before you head to the post office, you'll want to be sure to properly address the envelopes — both the inner envelopes (if your invitations are formal and you've ordered them) and outer envelopes. As a general rule, the outer envelope should be more formal, with titles and full names, while the inner envelope is more informal, leaving out first names or titles and last names (if you're very close to the guests). To help, we've put together an easy envelope-addressing guide.

Scenario #1: Married couple
What to do: Use "Mr." and "Mrs." and spell out the husband's first 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

Scenario #2: 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

See More: Shop Wedding Stationery on Brides.com!

Scenario #3: Hyphenated last name
What to do: In the case of a wife who has chosen to hyphenate her last name, then she should be addressed using Ms. (Mrs. is also acceptable) + her first name + maiden name + married name.
Outer envelope: Mr. Marcus Craft and Ms. Amanda Crosby-Craft
Inner envelope: Mr. Craft and Ms. Crosby-Craft or Marcus and Amanda

Scenario #4: Unmarried couple living together
What to do: Invitations to a couple who are unmarried but live at the same address are addressed to both people on one line.
Outer envelope: Mr. Stanley Kim and Ms. Amanda Rhee
Inner envelope: Mr. Kim and Ms. Rhee or Stanley and Amanda

Scenario #5: Same-sex couple
What to do: In this case, it is totally acceptable to put either guest first. If you can't decide, 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

Scenario #6: 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

Scenario #7: Married couple, both doctors
What to do: In the case of married doctors and the wife has taken her husband's last name, it is proper to use: "The Doctors."
Outer envelope: The Doctors Ng or Drs. Matthew and Angela Ng
Inner envelope: The Doctors Ng or Matthew and Angela

See More: You're Invited! A Guide on When to Send Every Wedding-Related Card and Invitation

Scenario #8: Married couple; wife 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.
Outer envelope: Doctor Tami Takata and Mr. Christopher Smith
Inner envelope: Dr. Takata and Mr. Smith or Tami and Christopher

Scenario #9: Distinguished titles
What to do: Apply the same rules for military personnel, judges, reverends, etc., that you use for doctors. If both titles don't fit on one line, indent the second line.
Outer envelope: The Honorable Josephine Wood and Mr. Jonathan Wood or Captains Josephine and Jonathan Wood, US Navy
Inner envelope: Judge Wood and Mr. Wood or The Captains Wood

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