How to Address Wedding Invitations
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Double or Single Envelopes?
You’ve probably wondered, “What’s the point of two envelopes? Is that really necessary?” More and more couples opt to eliminate the second envelope. However, double envelopes are more traditional and do actually serve a purpose.
Outer envelopes keep the inner from getting dirty. As a result, your guests are much more likely to hold onto the inner envelope instead of throwing it away.
An outer envelope also allows you to put an envelope liner on the inner envelope. Consequently, this keeps the liner from ripping when guests open it.
Also, double envelopes make it very clear who is invited because you can state them individually by name on the inner envelope. This clears up any confusion about adults-only weddings.
Inner Envelope Format
If you choose to use an inner envelope, you typically use titles and last names only. List children by first name on a separate line. You may also drop titles and use more personal names for your friends and family. Here are a few examples:
“Mr. and Mrs. Jackson
Claire and Bobby”
“Samantha Peters and Guest”
“Grandma and Grandpa”
Outer Envelope Format
If you don’t use inner envelopes, your outer envelope needs to include every person invited by name. The format for families is similar to the above with the exception of including the parents full name. If using inner envelopes, Children’s names and “and Guest” are left off the outer envelope. Technically, families with children over the age of 18 should receive their own invitation.
In general, do not include any abbreviations in the address other than titles. For example, spell out words like “Street” or “Apartment”. Additionally, do not abbreviate states either.
“Miss” is typically used for girls under the age of 18. Otherwise, use “Ms.”
Traditionally, a man’s first and last name are never separated.
Unmarried couples living together receive one invitation with both of their names. Luckily, the order is a little flexible here. Specifically, you may choose to put them in alphabetical order or in order of who you know better.
“Mr. Jacob Martin and Ms. Rebecca Wright”
Traditionally, a man’s first and last name are never separated. Always list couples in the order of highest “ranking” if either of them are doctors, judges, military, etc.
“Mr. and Mrs. Phillip Jackson”
“Dr. Elizabeth Jackson and Mr. Phillip Jackson”
“Drs. Elizabeth and Phillip Jackson”
“Dr. Phillip Jackson and Dr. Elizabeth Lewis” (If they have different last names)
“The Honorable Elizabeth Jackson and Mr. Phillip Jackson”
“Reverend and Mrs. Phillip Jackson”
For men who are the second (or third) of their name, write “Mr. and Mrs. Phillip Jackson, junior”. There is a comma and “junior” is written in lowercase letters.
Married or unmarried, same-gender couples with different last names should be listed alphabetically by last name unless one outranks the other.
I know it seems daunting to address wedding invitations. However, it isn’t actually that bad. Go through your list, and do the proper formatting for the easy ones first. Then, go back and format the more complicated ones. Just take it case by case, and ask your stationer if any of them are confusing!