Invitation Address Issues

posted 3 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
528 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

@Cornmuffin09:  I can see why google might not have been so helpful, you’ve got some really specific issues. 🙂 I think when addressing invites the most important things are that the invites arrive and that they communicate who is invited. To answer your questions:

1) Yes, adult children should receive separate invitations. I consider “adult” to be anyone past college age (22+).

2) Both. Address the invitation to “Mrs. Jane Doe & Guest” and indicate 2 seats on the RSVP. 

3) Use full names on invites, unless the person really hates their full name and gets pissy when called by it. Dick should be addressed to Dick, not William. No need to put formality before comfortability. (Others may disagree, but if you know Dick’s going to be annoyed, why address him as William?)

4) For single mother with kid/s, address first line to the mom and put her kids’ names on the second line. Example:
Ms. Single Momma
Tommy & Jane

You can also address the kids as “Mr. Tommy and Miss Jane” depending on how formal you want to be. If there’s only one kid, you can put mom and child on the same line, “Ms. Single Momma and Tommy.” ETA: Also include the total number (mom + kids) on the RSVP.

5) Even if you know the grandparent’s spouse will not be attending, I think it’s important to invite them. They are still married and it’s important to honor their relationship and the spouse, even it seems like just a formality. (I think it could inadvertently hurt the feelings of the grandparent by not including the spouse in the senior citizens’ home.) 

I hope that helps. 🙂

Post # 4
1644 posts
Bumble bee

The reason for inner envelopes, is to make clear who is invited to your wedding when your invitations follow the “all-engraved” format with no write-in line. It is possible (indeed fifty years ago, and in some circles still, is and was normal) to write the names of the guests on the invitation itself and so not need an inner envelope. Using the outer envelope to indicate who is invited is not best practice because

1) the outer envelope is not part of your social correspondence; it is a business document between you and your postal service provider giving instructions as to where to deliver the contents and who may take recept of the contents. You probably do not want that Tommy and Jane taking receipt of the envelope and using it as a garage-roof for their matchbox cars; and

2) since wedding invitations tend to be oversize and end up propped up outside the apartment mail-slot or in the oversize section of a supermailbox, children’s names should not be advertised next to their addresses (or at all) where they can be perused by the local neighbourhood paedophile; and

3) “And Guest” is not a potential recipient of the envelope unless Miss Guest is a person with the unusual first name of “And”.

So you really should find some way to indicate the guests on the invitation itself, if only in those cases where you are inviting someone other than a cohabiting couple, or a single person. Now, for your particular questions:

  1. Adults each get their own invitation, unless they are part of a cohabiting couple in which case each couple gets their own invitation. However, if you have some way to indicate on the invitation itself, whom it is for, then you can save the stamps by putting all invitations in the same outer envelope. In a formal household, the person responsible for bringing in the mail (typically the lady of the house unless there is a butler or housekeeper) opens and discards envelopes and distributes the contents to the various members of the household.
  2. Adults to whom you wish to extend the courtesy of an extra invitation, should be contacted and asked for the name and address of the person they would like to attend as their escort. Then that person should be invited by a separate invitation sent to their own home. Remember that the escort is a real person too, not just an accessory of a “real” guest, and that they should receive all the courtesy you would offer any guest — including an invitation in their own name sent to their own home.
  3. Address the outer envelope however you would normally address a business document to Dick — probably “Mr. and Mrs. Dick Jones”. The proper formal address for the couple is “Mr. and Mrs. Jones” — formal social usage does not combine the given name with the surname, so the problem goes away. Also note, that the problem of whether to call his wife “Mrs. Dick Jones” or “Mrs. Jane Jones” neatly goes away when you follow proper form, too.
  4. Since you do not know the lady’s preference, go with “Ms. Mary Smith” for her own name. Find some way to indicate the toddler by name on the invitation proper — if necessary, even if just for this one invitation, add a belly-band that you can write on, or buy a single inner envelope just for this purpose (or a slightly larger envelope to act as outer envelope and use the invitation-suite envelope as the inner) and write the toddler’s name inside only. If you don’t know the toddler’s name and cannot find it out, you can write “and Child”, but I would really, really try to find the child’s name.
  5. Definately invite both members of a married couple, regardless of their living conditions. I would also write a separate note to the member of the couple who is able to travel, telling them that I look forward to seeing them and how much I will miss the other member. I would write such a note because there is an old no-longer-observed rule that if you are invited as a couple you must accept or decline as a couple to avoid ruining your hostess’s seating plan. Even though that rule is no longer observed, if anyone does remember it, it is likely to be a grandparent. A note lets them know that that rule is in abeyance — and everyone likes receiving mail, especially from a grandchild.

Post # 5
144 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

@Cornmuffin09:  Hi date twin!  I am having a pretty informal affair of a wedding… it’s still a nice event, but just not black-tie.  I also did not use inner envelopes and had some similar situations and here is what I suggest:

1.  Adult children probably should all get their own invitation.  I did that for family that I am closer to, but not friends of family.  For example- FMIL’s neighbor and her family are invited.  She has 2 adult children that live with her and her husband, so I just addressed the invite to the Smith Family.  On the RSVP is enough space for them to write all their names to indicate who will be coming.  

2.  I had a few single guests that I wanted to let bring a guest.  I personally didn’t like how ‘and guest’ looked on the envelope, so I just addressed it to the person invited.  On the RSVP card, I added a note letting them know they were welcome to bring a guest.  A simple phone call or email letting them know would also work I think.

3.  I put full names on my envelopes, but in your case I would just put the name he goes by… sounds like it would be more trouble than it’s worth to put his full name!

4.  I agree with @ellie-b: on this one.  It’s exactly what I did for my single mom friend with her kid.  I also did it for families with kids –

Mr. and Mrs. Bradley Smith
Amy and  Will

5.  I would definitely include the spouse in the nursing home.  Even knowing they won’t attend, it means a lot to be invited.  

Ultimately, your guests are people who know and love you and are just happy be there for you and your FH’s special day.  I’m pretty sure as long as the invitation makes it to their house, it will be just fine! 


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