(Closed) Addressing envelopes? Help!

posted 6 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 4
7174 posts
Busy Beekeeper

The way I would do it is as follows:

For couples:

Outer envelope is formal names:  Mr. and Mrs. John Smith.

Inner envelope is first name:  John and Debbie

For singles:  

Outer: Mr. John Smith

Inner:  John and Guest

For Family:

Outer: The Smith Family

Inner:  John, Debbie, Suzie, and Joey

ETA: This is just how I’d do it – not sure if it’s ‘correct’

Post # 5
5075 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2012

I think. . .


Mr & Mrs John Smith


Mr & Mrs Smith


Ms Janet Jones

Mr John Smith


Ms Jones & Mr Smith

and I’m planning on using “family” on some outers 


The Smith Family


John, Jane, Jason & Janet

but I have no idea if that’s right or not.   But there are no invitation police so I’m willing to risk it. Wink


Post # 7
1696 posts
Bumble bee

The outer envelope is a business document, essentially a contract between you and the postal service in which the service agrees to deliver the contents to the address you specify. The outer envelope should be addressed according to the post office regulations, and you should use your guest’s business name (typically title, firstname and surname, like this: “Ms Aspasia Phipps”)

The inner envelope is a social document. It should be addressed by the name you use when speaking to the person. At an informal event, that would be by given names (without title or surname). So, if the outer envelope is addressed to “Mr and Mrs John Smith”, an inner envelope for an informal wedding would read “John and Mary”. At a formal event, the proper form of address is title and surname (without the given names). So for a formal wedding the inner envelope would read “Mr and Mrs Smith”.

The outer envelope should be addressed to the person or persons whom you trust to open the envelope and handle the contents appropriately. In the United States, that is normally the male and female heads of house — Mr. and Mrs. John Smith; or Mr. John Smith and Ms. Mary Smith. In the rest of the English-speaking world it is properly just the female head-of-house — Mrs John Smith or Ms Mary Smith.In both cases, the inner envelope (or the write-in line of the invitation if you are using the more traditional form) lists everyone who is included in the invitation.

Note that it is the lady herself, not her hostess, who gets to decide what business name she wishes to use. The norm is that she uses her own given name with the title “Ms” (or in the United States, “Ms.” with a period.) If she prefers to be known as “Mrs John Smith” — or even as “Miss Mary Smith” or “Mrs Mary Smith” — and has let you know what her preference is, then etiquette requires that you follow her preference. Actually, under the etiquette rule of “in the King’s house, so in the country”, there is some ground for arguing that correct default form in the United States for a married lady is “Mrs. Mary Smith”, as that is the form that both Mrs. Obama and the more recent Mrs. Bush have used when issuing invitations on their own behalf.

Post # 8
899 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

This is what we did: 


Mr. and Mrs. Bob and Mary Smith (I hate the Mr. and Mrs. Bob Smith, so we added the other name too)

Inside: (case by case basis) 

Mr. and Mrs. Smith


Bob and Mary 

(More formal for parent’s guests and older (traditional), first names for friends and people we are close to.) 

If kids are invited they go on the inside envelope. 

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