(Closed) Address question

posted 7 years ago in Etiquette
  • poll: How should a married couple with the same last name be addressed?
    Mr. and Mrs. John Smith : (28 votes)
    49 %
    Mr. and Mrs. Smith : (13 votes)
    23 %
    Mr and Mrs. Ann and John Smith : (5 votes)
    9 %
    Mrs. Ann Smith and Mr. John Smith : (4 votes)
    7 %
    You should ask each married couple how they like to be addressed : (5 votes)
    9 %
    You should say something else (give advice below) : (2 votes)
    4 %
  • Post # 3
    2053 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: May 2013

    I had the same issue, but just went with Mr. & Mrs. John Smith for every married couple.  It was too much of a hassle figuring out what way people like to be addresses for 200 invitations!!

    I think Ms. Ann Smith and Mr. John Smith indicates marriage because of the “AND”. If two people were living in the same house but unmarried they would be on separate lines, like this:

    Ms. Ann Smith

    Mr. John Smith

    Post # 4
    2716 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: August 2010

    I put Mr. and Mrs. John Smith on the outter envelope, but then listed out each person invited on the inner envelope. We had a lot of people with the same last name (uncles/brothers), so I just liked seeing who was getting it more clearly to me.

    Post # 5
    302 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: June 2013

    My understanding is that it should read Mr. and Mrs. John Smith on the outside envelope and whatever the hosts of the wedding reception call them (such as Ann and John Smith if they are friends) on the inner envelope.

    Post # 6
    2555 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: April 2013

    I HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE to be addressed by my husband’s first name. I HAVE A NAME. I’m a person on my own, with or without him! I find it very disrespectful to be addressed by someone else’s name.

    And if somebody pulls the card of “mrs means wife of”, well, it’s a myth, it doesn’t.


    I’d do “mr john smith and mrs ann smith” or

    Post # 7
    1193 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: April 2013

    Mr. and Mrs John Smith annoys me for some reason. I can’t pinpoint why but it always has. I am sort of traditional and plan on taking my husbands last name (though I’d hyphenate if my last name weren’t so long) and don’t mind Mr. and Mrs. Smith, but something about adding his first name irks me. I think it totally ignored that I’m a separate entity. Why does he get a first name but I don’t? Shrug.


    If an invite came to me worded that way. I’d grimace a little but totally understand that it was etiquette. 


    Post # 8
    525 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: June 2013

    Mr. and Mrs. John Smith really irks me. Instead, what we did was:

    Mrs. Ann and Mr. John Smith

    This way both people have their first name, but since the last name is only written out once, it acknowledges that they are married with the same last name.

    I also wouldn’t worry about the post office… as long as the address and zip code/postal code are correct, they don’t care who it’s addressed to. That’s been my experience. You could write “Grandma and Grandpa Smith” on the envelope, and it would still get mailed.

    Post # 9
    11232 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: August 2013

    @bebero:  This. : We aren’t doing titles at all. Each person is being addressed by his or her first name.

    Post # 10
    2556 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: May 2014

    Mr. and Mrs. John Smith would be the correct way to address it.  If they’re married, I don’t think they are going to get offended.  It’s a wedding invitation!

    Post # 11
    280 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: September 2013

    @bebero and @vorpalette:  Thirded!  We just went with the “Ann and John Smith” format, and circumvented the whole problem.  We figured it would sound silly to put a bunch of archaic titles in front of our friends’ names, anyway…it’s not like we would ever address them that way in person!  Just the idea of ANY of our friends qualifying as a Mr. or a Mrs. is enough to make me giggle…and I’m 30.  Haha.

    Post # 12
    1416 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: January 2013

    I personally despise being addressed by my husband’s first name (aka Mr and Mrs Joe Schmo). In fact I told all of the staff at my wedding that if they announced us that way or anything I’d deduct from their tips (it was my only “bridezilla” moment) because it so personally made my skin crawl.


    Added: We just put Ann and John Smith, no formal titles, despite having a formal wedding. If somebody cares to make a fuss about you not having formal titles on an invitation, they don’t deserve to go to your wedding, lol. Seriously though, people, why do we follow conventions of etiquette that were made a bagillion years ago, it’s 2013, let’s have an update!



    That said, if I get an invitation marked that way, I know it’s just because somebody is a lame stickler for etiquette and they didn’t mean anything personal by it. However, when they send something with my name on it, it does make me happier. I like that you are being cognizent of your friends’ feelings and not just doing what some old outdated etiquette says!


    Post # 13
    2555 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: April 2013

    @CookieCharmer:  🙂 glad to hear it worked out

    Post # 14
    1693 posts
    Bumble bee

    Proper etiquette, by formal traditional standards, is that every person should be addressed by the name and title that he or she prefers. This is the kind of basic interpersonal knowledge that a hostess should bother to find out, and keep track of in her contacts list, or visiting book, or wherever she is storing her address list (and waiting-bee or long-leadtime brides should start keeping track of proactively.) This includes both the old-fashioned standard of women styling themselves as “Mrs John Hislastname”, or the equally oldfashioned standard of married women styling themselves as “Miss Ann Maidenname”, or the new standard of women who kept their own name in whole or in part using “Mrs” regardless to show that they are married. Any of these is correct if that is what the lady prefers. So if you know your guests preferences, your problem is solved.

    On social correspondence, first names and surnames are not used together except where necessary to distinguish an ambiguity. Hence on an invitation or inner envelope you would use “Ann and John” for informal correspondence or “Mr and Ms Smith” for formal correspondence. Their sons would be Mr Thomas, Mr Richard, and Mr Henry (so as not to confuse them with their Da,) and their daughters would be Miss Smith, Miss Caroline and Miss Dianne. So if your concern is only for placecards, inner envelopes, the invitation proper and such things, your problem is solved even if you don’t know the guests’ preferences.

    It is on business documents that title, given name and surname are used together. The outer envelope is a business document between the sender and the postal service provider. In English-speaking countries outside of the USA, the norm is to address the outer envelope to the ONE person in the household, typically the wife, who is responsible for the family social calendar. If she happens to go by her husband’s name, it should then be addressed to “Mrs John Smith”. If she goes by her own name, it should be addressed to “Ms Ann Smith”. So as long as you are not in the states, your problem is still resolved.

    If you are trying to address an outer envelope in the United States, and don’t know the guests’ preferences, you need to resort to community norms. Modern protocol guides recommend using “Ms” with the lady’s own forename, keeping the title, forename and surname for each party together, joining the two names of a married couple with the word “and”; and sending separate invitations to room-mates, adult children, and adult siblings. Protocol guides disagree on the order of names: the traditional standard is that the man goes first any time that by so doing he can make the lady safer or more comfortable: when crossing a minefield, for example, or finding a way through a crowded pub where there is no hostess to lead the way, or when facing the rigours of a transcontinental journey together on the back of an envelope. The modern standard is that such sexist considerations are demeaning and the names should be in alphabetical order. The notion that “ladies first” is traditionally correct on outer envelopes and formal correspondence is simply mistaken, and the notion that “the person you are closer to” should be named first is unkind — you never want to imply that you play favourites between two related guests.

    Post # 15
    438 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: June 2013

    I was in the same boat as you: I was stuck between Mr. and Mrs. John Smith and Mr. and Mrs. Smith. I personally wouldn’t mind being called Mrs. John Smith, but as you can see from PP some people really don’t like it! (which is their own opinion, and I fully respect that!) So in an effort to try not to offend anyone, I just did Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

    Post # 16
    346 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: March 2014

    I feel similarly about this. I want to be “formal” but I feel icky about excluding the woman’s name.


    I really want to do “Mr. & Mrs. Peter and Susan Jones” rather than “Mr. & Mrs. Peter Jones” because that just sits better with me– it seems both formal and equitable, but it’s feaking the mothers out…


    Oh what to do…. 😛

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