How to Address Wedding Invitation Envelopes
Though etiquette for addressing and assembling wedding invitations has relaxed, there are still some requirements. For example, your guests' names should be written in full on outer envelopes; avoid nicknames or initials. Use the appropriate social titles as well, such as addressing married couples as "Mr. and Mrs." If a man's name has a suffix, write "Mr. Joseph Morales, Jr.," or "Mr. Joseph Morales IV"; "Junior" can be spelled out on a more formal invitation.
"The little things do matter," says Dorothea Johnson, etiquette expert and founder and director of the Protocol School of Washington, in Yarmouth, Maine. "When a couple uses the appropriate honorific and writes out an address in the correct way, it shows they've put thought into it." And when your guests receive your invitation, expertly assembled and addressed, there will be no doubt that you have done just that.
Spell out all words in an address on your wedding envelopes. Rather than "St.," "P.O. Box," and "Apt.," use "Street," "Post Office Box," and "Apartment." This applies to city and state names as well; instead of abbreviations, write "Saint Paul, Minnesota" and "Washington, District of Columbia." House numbers smaller than 20 should also be spelled out.
Outer and Inner Envelope
Sending out an invitation in two envelopes ensures that each guest will receive a pristine envelope, even if the outer one has been torn or soiled in the mail. Still, the two are not necessary and add significant expense so you may omit the inner envelope if you wish.
However, if you choose to use both, the outer envelope includes all of the information the postal service needs for delivery. The inner envelope should have the names of the invited guests in the household (including children, whose names do not appear on the outer envelope).
To A married Couple
There is no need to have the husband’s middle name, but if you do, write it out in full rather than using an initial.
to a family with children
Even when the kids are invited, the outside envelope should be addressed only to their parents. Children’s names should appear on the inner envelope on the line beneath Mom and Dad’s. Start with the oldest, followed by his or her siblings in order of diminishing age.
If you are taking a more formal approach on the inner envelope, refer to a boy under the age of 13 as “Master,” not “Mr.” Girls and young women under age 18 are called “Miss.” And since they are young siblings, the word “and” (which implies marriage when used with adults’ names) linking the children’s names is acceptable.
To A couple with Different Last Names
Whether they’re living together or not, address the female guest first.
If it’s a married couple in which the wife has chosen to keep her maiden name, “Ms.” can be used.
For an unmarried couple that lives together, names should be written on separate lines without the word “and.” On the inner envelope, both are addressed by their titles and respective last names.
When One Guest Is A Judge
Recognize a judge by using “The Honorable,” and list him or her first. It gets a little tricky when both the husband and wife have different professional titles. Generally, list the wife first: “The Honorable Pamela Patel and Lieutenant Jonathan Patel, U.S. Navy.”
When One Guest Is A Doctor
If the husband is a doctor, the titles will appear as “Doctor and Mrs.”; if the wife is a doctor, her degree “outranks” her husband’s social title of “Mr.,” and the wife should be listed first, with “Doctor” spelled out. If both the husband and wife are doctors, write “The Doctors,” followed by the family name.
Adding A Plus One
Spouses of attendees should always be invited. When it comes to your pals’ significant others or dates, to add or not to add becomes a question. Use your discretion depending on your budget and how long the couple have been together (six months is a good gauge).
If you are inviting someone with a plus-one, try to find out the name and address of his or her date and send two separate invitations. If that’s not possible, address the outside envelope to the primary invitee, with the inside envelope reading “Ms. Jane Doe and Guest.” If you know whom he or she will be bringing, it’s more personal to include that person’s name on a separate line.