Post # 1
So my Fiance’s brother was married last year and his now wife decided not to change her last name to his. How would I address the invitation? Mr. first name last name and Mrs. first name last name? The Mrs. part throws me off only because her last name is her maiden name. Anyone else have this happen? Hope this wasn’t too confusing.
Post # 3
Ms. Alma Pfeffenbocker & Mr. Josiah Baker
Post # 5
@aprilwedding31: I address all of mine as Mr Bob Smith and Mrs Betty Sue when we run into that.
My mother is a hyphenated last name and she would be highly offended to get “ms” instead of Mrs because of her choice.
Post # 6
@Elky: Thanks! I definitely don’t want to offend anyone because she is a Mrs. not a Ms.
Post # 7
Post # 8
I would use Ms. and not Mrs. Mrs. implied she took his name, Ms. does not. If she opted to keep her maiden name, she has no right to get upset for not being addressed as a Mrs.
Post # 10
“She has no right.” Why? Everybody’s different, you can’t please everyone. Some women like to use Ms. and some like Mrs. You sound like you think she should be punished or something…
Post # 11
Traditional formal etiquette requires that each person be addressed by the name and title that he or she prefers. A wise hostess begins keeping track of such things as soon as possible; a gracious lady makes a point of communicating her preferences so that no hostess is left wondering. For example, she might use her name and title on the return address labels on her Christmas cards, or engraved on her stationery that she used for thank-you notes. Can you check for those? While you’re at it, make a note of the preferences of any other potential guests whose cards or notes might show their name and title.
If your fiance’s sister-in-law has not made the effort to communicate her preferences, then she would be silly to take offence at being asked what her preference is. Your fiance can do that, if he is closer to her than you are.
Only if the lady is not reachable to tell you her preference, should you resort to presuming that she follows a traditional norm. Traditionally (since roughly the Regency era) a lady uses “Mrs” to indicate that she goes by her husband’s name, and “Miss” to indicate that she uses her father’s name. Since the nineteen-seventies, the title “Ms” has been used to indicate that a lady is going by her own name, regardless where she acquired that name. “Ms” indicates nothing about a lady’s marital state, and can be used by any woman. Modern protocol manners recommend using “Ms” any time that a lady’s preference is unknown.
Note that regardless of the form a lady’s name takes, a formal invitation properly puts the gentleman’s name ahead of the lady’s name. The old rule of “ladies first” actually applies only in situations where going first makes the lady safer or more comfortable. In risky or awkward situations — when crossing a minefield, for example, or crossing the country on the back of an envelope — the gentleman goes first so as to be able to protect and saveguard the lady.