addressing invitations

posted 2 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
535 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2014


Post # 4
7025 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

livelaughlove94:  If they’re a couple but not living together, address the letter to the closer friend (or the one related e.g. for a cousin with a partner); but address the actual invitation (or inner envelope if you are doing one) to both of them. As for the title, I agree, when in doubt use “Ms”.

If they live together, exactly the same but address the letter (envelope) to both.

Post # 5
2893 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

i didn’t address invitations to mr. or mrs. or whatever. i just used their first names.

for unmarried couples (or married couples with different last names), i just addressed them as

John Smith and Jane Jones

Post # 7
7025 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

livelaughlove94:  Yes, most people consider that rude. If you know Jane’s name you should certainly put it.

As I understand you, there is no space to write names on the invitations, so names are on the outer envelope only? In that case, address the outer envelope to “Mr. John Doe and Ms. Jane Smith”, even though Jane does not live with him.

Also as PPs have said, you can omit the Mr and Ms, especially if they are young. It depends on how formal you want to be.

Post # 9
584 posts
Busy bee

You can do whatever you want, but the etiquette is to do the Mr. and Mrs. John Doe (traditional) or Mr. John and Mrs. Jane Doe (more current with the times).

Post # 10
428 posts
Helper bee

There’s no requirement that you use titles on the invitations for a more casual affair. Please feel completely free to use:

Jane and John Doe

Do watch out and make sure that all those ‘Jane’s actually changed their last names though. :p If you’re unsure, ask! (Too many people default to assuming a name change without checking.)

Post # 11
1644 posts
Bumble bee

Do NOT use your thoughtful, lovely wedding invitations as a means of letting your friends know which member of the couple you consider yourself closer to! A gracious hostess treats every one of her guests as welcome and as valued as any other guest. The minimum standard of such graciousness is to send every guest an invitation in his or her own name, sent to his or her own home. So, if a couple are engaged  (or “together”, whatever that may mean) but are not living together —  how traditional of them! — then you not only need to invite both members of the couple but you must do so with two different invitations: one for each home.

A gentleman may always be referred to as “Mr”, whether he is married or not. A lady may always be referred to as “Ms”, whether she is married or not. Left over from less enlightened times are the two additional titles for women: “Miss” indicating that she is using her given names, and “Mrs” indicating that she is using her husband’s names.

Regaardless of whether you are having a formal wedding or a casual one, you probably do not have a close personal relationship with your guests’ letter-carrier, and probably neither do they. The outer envelope is a business document between you and the postal service, whereby you engage the postal service to deliver the contents to the specified persons. Businesslike formality is appropriate for such a document. You show your informality in the wording of the interior contents, which are between you and your guests.

Proper traditional etiquette is to address people as they wish to be addressed. Since these are presumably your friends and family, you do well to invest some time in finding out their preferences. It is more traditional and proper to call Mr and Ms Jane Doe by those names if that is their preference; it is equally more proper to call a lady Mrs Nestor Phipps if that is what she prefers. If you have to make assumptions then:

  • assume “Ms” for a lady
  • Use first names only for an informal event, and titles-and-last names only for a formal event, unless you have multiples of the same name
  • assume a lady uses her own given name even if she uses her husband’s surname,
  • give each person his or her whole name intact, vis “Mr John Doe and Ms Jane Doe” rather than “Mr John and Ms Jane Doe
  • put the gentleman’s name first.
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