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  • Savannah Doremus

How to Address Your Wedding Invitations

Whether you're trying to be super formal and follow all the etiquette rules or you just want to be polite and make sure you address your guests correctly, this blog will help you figure out what to put on your envelopes!


Wedding invitations are typically addressed formally, at least on the outer envelope. If you're also using inner envelopes, those are bit more casual, but I've got more info on that later on. Etiquette says to include the title, as well as first and last name for each guest. If you're going ultra formal, middle names can be included as well. Keep reading to find out what to do for a variety of scenarios! If done correctly, your envelopes will explain exactly who is invited to your wedding.


For a Married Couple or Single Guest

Mr. and Mrs. John Smith

or

Mr. John Smith and Mrs. Abigail Smith

or

Mr. Timothy Cole and Mr. Wilson Lee

or

Ms. Abigail Green


When Your Guest Gets a Plus One

When you're wanting to give your single and/or dating friends a plus one, this will typically be indicated on the inner envelope. If you're not using inner envelopes and your response cards don't indicate whether they get a plus one, you can include "and guest" on the outer envelope, or the guest's name if you know who it will be.

Mr. Jamison Tenner and Ms. Olivia Brown

or

Ms. Emily Simpson and guest


When the Children Are Invited

There's a few ways to show that the children are also invited. If you'll be using inner envelopes, then the children are usually only mentioned on the inner envelope. Alternatively you can use "and family" with caution. For example, if the grandmother of a family lives in the same home with the family but is not also invited to the wedding, I would avoid using "and family".

Outer: Mr. & Mrs. Jackson Green

Inner: Mr. & Mrs. Green

Abigail, Evan, & Elaine

or

Mr. & Mrs. Green

Abigail, Evan, & Elaine

or

Mr. & Mrs. Green and Family

or

The Green Family


When One of Your Guests Is a Doctor, Reverend, or Judge

When the husband is a doctor:

Dr. and Mrs. James Werner


When the wife is a doctor and uses husband's last name:

Dr. Barbara and Mr. James Werner


When the wife is a doctor and uses her maiden name:

Dr. Barbara Hunt and Mr. James Werner


When they're both Doctors:

The Drs. Werner

or

Drs. Barbara and Robert Werner


This same format would also be used for reverends or judges.


For a Ranked Military Official

For a single military member, you would list their title, first and last name, and then put a comma and their branch. For couples who are both in the military, you should do the same, except put the woman on the first line and the man on the second line, preceded by 'and'. Traditionally, if a wife is in the military and the husband is not, you would just address them with social titles (Mr. & Mrs.); however you can always ask your guest how they'd prefer to be addressed!

Lieutenant Jackson Green, U.S. Air Force

or

Colonel Amy Thompson, U.S. Military

Lieutenant Jackson Green, U.S. Air Force

or

Colonel and Mrs. Jackson Green


For an Unmarried Couple Living Together

Essentially they would be listed the same as a married couple. Traditionally they would be listed on separate lines if they don't live together, but I think either is fine.

Mr. John Smith and Ms. Abigail Green

or

Mr. John Smith

Ms. Abigail Green


For Queer Guests

I asked Zabrina of The Gay Agenda for some help with addressing invitations to any LGBTQIA+ guests. She's an awesome queer wedding planner out in Hawaii and her work is gorgeous, so be sure to check her out! (She also offers wedding and picnic rentals with Wedcycle Hawaii in an effort to reduce waste in the wedding industry). Zabrina says "For addressing wedding invitations, I would assume that there is some sort of relationship between the couple and guest, so I would suggest asking the guest directly what they would prefer to be addressed as." She recommends to ask for their preferred pronouns and if they prefer Mx. as their title. Some guests might even prefer for you to leave out titles altogether! Format would basically follow that of married or unmarried guests.

Mx. Laney Smith and Ms. Victoria Green

or

Ms. Anne Smith and Ms. Emily Till

or

Laney and Victoria


For an Engaged Guest

Technically according to etiquette, every adult guest should get their own invitation, especially if you know who your guest is going to bring, but I feel that for couples especially, it makes sense to just include them both on the same invitation. This can also help avoid any RSVP confusion. Typically you'd name your guest first with their "plus one" last, but if you know them both, you can just list them in alphabetical order or who you met first. Be sure to include the partner's name for any of your engaged guests and on a similar note: married and engaged guests always get to bring their parter, whether you know/like the partner or not.

Ms. Amelia Brown and Mr. John Green


Your Return Address

*Officially* the USPS doesn't like return addresses on the back (flap) of the envelope, but can we all agree that it just looks sooo much better that way for wedding stationery? In order to prevent the machines from accidentally reading the return address as your mailing address, you want to make this doesn't look like it's supposed to be the mailing address. I prefer to keep the return address clean and simple by putting it in small print on a single line at the very top of the envelope flap. I also tend to leave out the names because it helps the post office realize that its a return address and let's be honest.. sometimes it can also be difficult to figure out what to put as the name for your return address. *do I put "Future Mr. and Mrs. Johnson" with my mom's address? I don't want people to think that's our new address but I also don't want to just put my name because we're gonna be married*


And while we're talking about return addresses, use an address that you'll have access to even after the wedding. First, if any of your invitations don't get delivered, you'll know because they'll show up at the return address with a yellow sticker on them. Second, you might have some guests or older family members send gifts or cards to the return address.


When Using Inner & Outer Envelopes

The inner envelopes are more casual and usually either omit the first names, or only use the first names. They also will include things like the children's names or "and guest". This is also where you would use more intimate titles like "Grandma" or "Aunt Jean & Uncle Cleve".

Nana & Papa

or

Mr. and Mrs. Stevenson

or

Anna & John

or

Mr. and Mrs. Green

Emily, James, and Janey

etc.


For Your RSVP Envelope

Your RSVP envelope theoretically should have the same address as your return address, BUT if you're having your mother, maid of honor, or wedding planner keep track of your RSVPs, make sure you use their address. This would be a fun place to put something like "The Bride & Groom" or "The Happy Couple" or "The Future Smith Family" etc. before the address.


If you're wanting to write all your addresses by hand, but don't want to rewrite your return/rsvp address a billion times, I have several address stamps available and I'd be happy to customize the fonts to match your invitation suite!


Printed Envelope Addressing

If you don't want to have to address all your envelopes by hand or spend hours trying to shove envelopes or labels into a printer, you can hire a calligrapher or order printed envelopes! Click here to inquire about pricing for printed envelope addressing.


Hopefully this helped clear up any confusion around envelope addressing that you may have! I recommend getting started on your address list as soon as possible because it *always* takes longer than expected. The address list is often what causes delays with your stationery designer or calligrapher.



Much of the etiquette referenced in this blog post comes from Emily Post.

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