(Closed) How to address invitation to family with kids with different last names?

posted 6 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
7673 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

@philodendron:  You could address the envelope to the parents only, and name everyone on the invitation. (I’m a big believer in putting names on the actual invitation, though I realise not everyone does that).

If you’re not putting names on the invitation, I’d address the envelope to:

John and Jane Doe, Anna, Ben, Chris and Dana

Post # 4
9053 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2010

I would make an exception and just use an inner envelope for this one (or similar) invitations.  If you do it that way, it’s not likely to make it through the mail very well.  All names must be on one line.  However, I think you could address it something like, “Mr and Mrs John Doe, Anna, Ben, Chris and Dana” and just omit the kids last names.


Post # 5
412 posts
Helper bee

I would just do “The Doe/Smith Family” and then address the invitation on the inside (just scrawl the names across the top with a pen if you’re not addressing all your invitations individually)

Post # 6
1902 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

That’s why we’re just using first names on the actual invites, and first and last names of parents on the address. So the address reads John and Jane Smith 123 Home street, Hometown, State, 1234.
For the actual invite, we just said either “John, Jane, and James.” If there’s more than one child, we put “John, Jane and Family.” Of course, our invites aren’t overly formal, so we just did what felt comfortable and got the message across to people 🙂

Post # 7
7560 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2013

@starbuckslover:  I agree with this as well. Just address it to them as a family. You can even use the parents’ last name since they’re the heads of the family. 

Post # 8
966 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2016

Family works best, especially because it saves space.

If you really want to use names, alternatively you could send the kids separate invites (depending on age, possibly). My cousin will be 15 or 16, and I might just send him a separate invite regardless. 

Post # 9
1696 posts
Bumble bee

@philodendron:  No, it isn’t really alright. For one thing, your outer envelope is a business document between you and your postal services provider. The names listed on the outside are the persons to whom the service may deliver the envelope, who then have the right to open it. Do you really want little Master Ben opening the family invitation? And, since the postal service provider is unlikely to be on a first name basis with Jane and John, their business names — which include their titles — are properly used.

For another thing, many families receive their mail in unsecured postal recepticals. Parents are routinely warned not to publicize their children’s names because it makes the children more vulnerable to potential abusers or abductors. Jane and John may feel rather uncomfortable to have your oversized invitation envelope propped up on the shelf next to the tiny apartment mail slots, advertising to the neighbourhood pervert that the curly-haired five-year-old in apartment 17 is named “Dana”.

The details and names regarding whom you are inviting really go on the inside, somewhere. paula1248 is quite right that the most proper place for the names is on the invitation itself, where it most properly follows the names of the hosts:

“Mr and Mrs Jonathan Goodhost
request the pleasure of the company of
Mr and Mrs Doe
Miss Smith, Master Ben, Miss Doe, Master Chris
to …&tc”

But all that being said, why can’t the children conveniently be listed on one line as “Anna, Ben, Chris, and Dana?” I am sure the fact that their names follow Jane’s and John’s will make it quite adequately clear which Anna, Ben, Chris and Dana you mean, without any last names’ being necessary.

Post # 10
1724 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 1998

I ended up just putting them all on a line in a series: “Mr. and Mrs. John Smith, Ms. Liza Gordon,” etc., etc., etc. There are SO many people with different last names living in one of the houses that it was seriously about two lines of that.

Of course, I just put every single name down on the outer envelope for who was invited, just to clear up any ambiguity. I’m sure I’ll still be getting reply cards back with “7 people are coming even though the outer envelope only mentioned me, my wife and our kid.”

In retrospect, I should have been new-agey and filled in how many people were invited, including guests, on the reply card to clear up the ambiguity even more. But I also hear people think that’s rude. *shrug* 

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