Eight weeks before your wedding is the official day to send out 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. You might even start wondering which person should be listed first on the invitation. Or, how to navigate inviting a whole family, including children. The world of etiquette can be a slippery slope so we're here to make the process as simple as possible.
To help, we've put together an easy wedding envelope-addressing guide.
To a Married Couple With the Same Last Name
For a heterosexual couple, use "Mr." and "Mrs." and spell out the husband's first and last name. For a same-sex couple, either name can go first.
- 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 husbands. If the couple 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
For a heterosexual couple, 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: "Ms. 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
In the case of a spouse who has chosen to hyphenate their last name, invitations should be addressed using the following:
- Outer envelope: "Mr. Marcus Craft and Mr. Brian Crosby-Craft"
- Inner envelope: "Mr. Craft and Mr. Crosby-Craft" or "Marcus and Brian"
To an Unmarried Couple
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 Single Female
Use "Ms." if she is over age 18. If she is younger, then "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
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
If the combined names are too long to fit on one line, list them separately. Spell out "doctor" on the outer envelope, and abbreviate it on the inner.
- Outer envelope: "Doctor Tami Takata and Ms. Christina Smith"
- Inner envelope: "Dr. Takata and Ms. Smith" or "Tami and Christina"
To a Married Couple, Both of Whom Are Doctors
In the case of married doctors, it is proper to use: "The Doctors."
- Outer envelope: "The Doctors Smith" or "Drs. Matthew and Angela Smith"
- Inner envelope: "The Doctors Smith" or "Matthew and Angela"
In the case of married doctors and one has chosen to hyphenate, note the example below. If both titles don't fit on one line, indent the second line.
- Outer envelope: "Doctor Matthew Smith and Doctor Angela Griggs-Smith"
- Inner envelope: "Dr. Smith and Dr. Griggs-Smith" or "Matthew and Angela"
To a Couple With Distinguished Titles Other Than Doctors
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. And remember that whichever half of the couple "outranks" the other (say, a doctor, member of the military, or some other profession that includes a title) goes first, regardless of gender.
- 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"
If you’re addressing someone who is an attorney, use “Esq.” after their name. Example: John Smith, Esq.
To a Family, Including Children
When inviting an entire family, the family name or the parents' names should be listed alone, and everyone can be included on the inside.
When including female children under the age of 18, address them with a Miss.
- Outer envelope: "The Thompson Family" or "Mr. and Mrs. Alan Thompson" or "Mr. Alan Thompson and Mrs. Emily Thompson"
- Inner Envelope: "Alan, Emily, Roger, Chance, Miss Jennifer, and Miss Lily"
Addressing Wedding Invitations for a Casual Wedding
You might be wondering, "What if my wedding isn't going to be that formal? Do I still have to make the wedding invitations formal?" Well, when it comes to addressing wedding invitations for a more casual event, we understand the temptation to just use first names, or first and last names without titles. While this isn't traditional, if the vibe is really backyard barbecue or picnic in the park, you may be able to get away with it.
But this is definitely the right time to use more formal wording for older or more conservative guests—they may not notice that you were being particularly respectful, but they definitely will if they feel that you were too informal!