(Closed) How to address dating couples in wedding invitation?

posted 5 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 2
Member
1692 posts
Bumble bee

Every guest is entitled to be invited by his or her own name, via an invitation sent to his or her own address.

If a couple are living at the same address, the correct thing is to send an invitation to:

Mr George Smith and Ms Jane Thomas
123 4th Street
Smallville, Kentucky

Either follow traditional etiquette and put the gentleman’s name first (this is not because he is more honoured or better, but because this is how he “protects the lady” by taking point) or follow modern egalitarianism and put the guests’ names in alphabetical order.

If a couple are living at different addresses, the correct thing is to send one invitation to:

Mr George Smith
567 8th Street
Smallville, Kentucky

and a separate invitation to:

Ms Jane Thomas
910 11th Street
Smallville, Kentucky

 This is the same regardless of whether the couple is married, engaged, living together, or in a long-term relationship in which they and their social circle consider them to be a unit (essentially equivalent to engaged.) If they are committed to one another, then speculating that they might break up is rude — and pointless, because divorces are common enough nowadays that even married couples “might” break up. If they are not committed to one another, then you treat them as you would any singles who are not in a commited relationship.

Post # 3
Member
245 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

For me it depended. I honestly sent one invite to the guy’s address with both their names on it. Mostly because I’m closer to the guy than the girl. 

If it is a new relationship, I do Mr & Guest.

Post # 4
Member
4242 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

For dating couples, even long term ones, I put “Jane Smith & Guest”.  Actually one of my close college friends DID break up with her boyfriend of over 2 years last week, so she contacted me a few days ago to let me know that he would no longer be attending.  I wanted to be sure that *just in case* the couple in question broke up, like my friend and her ex boyfriend did, they knew they would still be allowed a guest.  Nothing is guaranteed…

Post # 5
Member
7638 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

View original reply
Chicpeas: Do the same for all couples who don’t live together, regardless of their status, if you know the partner’s name: both names on the invitation (or both names on the inner envelope if you’re doing that), and mail it to the one you are closer to.

If they happen to break up, handle it on a case by case basis. Ironically, the only break-up before our wedding was a married couple. (DH’s cousin – he attended, his wife didn’t even though she was named on the invitation).

It’s a little insulting to put “and guest” if they’re dating and you know the partner’s name.

Don’t send a separate invitation to the partner’s address, because if they break up the partner might feel like they’re still invited.

Post # 6
Member
1604 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

I realize that seperate invites is the proper answer, but I have many friends whose Boyfriend or Best Friend or SO is nice enough but would not be getting an invite on his/her own.  I dont want a misunderstanding in case of a breakup.  

Post # 7
Member
3232 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

View original reply
aspasia475:  Wouldn’t this be incorrect? I’m fairly certain that etiquette says that unmarried couples should be listed on separate lines and not adjoined by “and”. So:

“Mr. George Smith

Ms. Jane Thomas”

is the correct way to address that couple.

OP, please don’t address invitations to an established couple with any form of “and guest” – it is extremely insulting. If the couple doesn’t live together, mail it to the person with whom you are closest with their significant other’s name on the inner envelope, belly band or outer envelope if no other option. Invite all of your guests by name unless you are giving a truly single guest a true plus one. 

Post # 8
Member
687 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

I wouldn’t put “and guest” for anyone unless you are issuing a true plus one (i.e., the guest is completely single and you have no idea who they’ll bring). Everyone else deserves the courtesy of being invited by name. For established couples who live together, I’d certainly send a single invitation. For established couples who don’t live together: if you’re close enough to both people that even if they weren’t dating you’d still invite both of them to the wedding, I’d send separate invitations. If you’re clearly closer to one person and the other is just their partner, I’d send a single invite to the person you’re closer to. 

Post # 9
Member
687 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

Don’t make invitation decisions based on the possibility that a couple might break up, unless you have clear reason to believe they WILL break up. It’s not your job to be a relationship seer. You wouldn’t invite a girl a friend has been on two dates with just because they MIGHT get engaged before your wedding, would you? So don’t make break-up predictions either!

Post # 10
Member
493 posts
Helper bee

if I got an and guest on my invitation while my fiancé and I were dating, I would have been VERY insulted

Post # 11
Member
4242 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

I had no intention of offending my friends by saying “and guest”, I simply had to draw the line somewhere.  It’s nothing personal against the couple at all and it doesn’t “validate” the couple, it’s just a way to address invites.  That’s literally all it is.  People who take offense at the “and guest” honestly are taking things waaaaay too personally.

Post # 12
Member
1604 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

View original reply
KB87:  

 

Fiance is not the same as Girlfriend or Boyfriend or Best Friend

Post # 13
Member
3232 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

View original reply
ljm308:  why did the line have to be drawn? I’m confused…if you’re inviting the two parts of a couple, why could you not invite them both by name? 

Post # 14
Member
4242 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

I’ve gotten in this debate on here before and I definitely know I’m in the minority.

As juanita said above, boyfriend/girlfriend is NOT THE SAME as being engaged.  I also have a huge family and I wanted to invite plus ones for my cousins…I had NO IDEA who they were dating at the time.  Oh and did I mention I have over 50 cousins?  Yeah, not going to waste my time “researching” all those names…plus, I’ve had multiple cousins/friends break up with old boyfriends/girlfriends and start dating new boyfriends/girlfriends in between when the save the dates went out and when the invites went out.  So yeah, that would be awkward…save the dates addressed to one couple and invites addressed to another.  I can’t keep track of everyone.  Engagement/marriage is just a different level of commitment so yeah I will address married/engaged couples as a unit.

Plus, I typically know my friends/cousins/whoever and I don’t necessarily know their SO.  Like I said above I did not have the patience to keep track of what boy was my 19-year-old cousin’s boyfriend of the week.  I still wanted to invite plus ones, because it would be tacky not to.  Adding “and guest” just eliminated confusion and preserved my sanity with 250+ guests.  Call me impersonal, whatever, but honestly?  YOU try keeping track of boyfriends/girlfriends of 50+ (unmarried, 20-or-30-something-year-old) cousins and friends.

Again, it is NOTHING PERSONAL against a couple that is dating.  It is the couple who is getting married who chooses how to address the invite.  Taking it personally is making a WEDDING that is NOT YOUR WEDDING all about you.

Post # 15
Member
1692 posts
Bumble bee

 

View original reply
carolinabelle:  That is what you will read on Crane’s website, and in 1980s manuals such as Miss Manner’s Guide to Perfectly Proper Behaviour. But you will not read it in any manual prior to the 1980s. In the days when a woman could be a spinster, or a wife, or a mistress; mistresses did not get invited to proper formal functions. People who were living together without benefit of matrimoney, did not flaunt the irregularity of their household. The correct assumption was always to assume that a lady who was living in a common household with a man, WAS his wife. Therefore there was only one proper way to send an invitation to a couple: as if that couple were in fact married.

Nowadays living together is perfectly acceptable, but the number of variations on marital situations has mushroomed. There are people who have legal weddings but are waiting to have a celebratory party. There are people who have had celebratory parties but for whatever reason haven’t had the legalities registered. There are people who are living together and have de-facto legal married status through common  law, some of whom have decided to just go with it, and others who are planning to register their marriage even though they are common law. All of these details of other persons’ personal lives are quite frankly personal. To make petty distinctions over a prurient interest in the legalities of someone else’s life is not something I choose to practice, or advise. Out-of-wedlock households existed before the 1980s and the rule was simply not to pry. So Judith Martin and Crane may promulgate new rules for living-together households, but I don’t see the need.

Your mileage may vary.

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