Post # 1
Okay you lovely bee’s, I need your help! We are finally ready to send out our invites and i’m not 100% sure how this whole shebang works. My sweet fiance has agreed to address the envelopes but neither of us really know much about it. So, we have an inner and an outer envelope. Is the outer envelope always ‘Mr. & Mrs. Smith’ with the inner having ‘Mr. John Smith & Mrs. Jill Smith’? What about non married couples? Does the inner envelope always list the specific people that are invited? If we are invited an entire family can we just put ‘The Smith Family’? ugh… help please!
Post # 4
The way I would do it is as follows:
Outer envelope is formal names: Mr. and Mrs. John Smith.
Inner envelope is first name: John and Debbie
Outer: Mr. John Smith
Inner: John and Guest
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
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.
Post # 6
@GroovyHippieChick: Ha, this is exactly what I was thinking but didn’t want to be breaking some etiquette law.
Post # 7
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
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.