(Closed) Ms or Miss, invitations

posted 8 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
9053 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2010

Etiquette police would say you’re safe to go with Miss.

Post # 5
877 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2011

Personally, I’ve never liked the use of Miss/Mrs and prefer Ms for addressing any woman, both single and married.

Post # 6
514 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2011

Miss is for unmarried women and Ms is for unknown

Post # 7
275 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

I put Ms. on all of my Save the dates, Miss is for more of the young lady population

Post # 8
15 posts
  • Wedding: March 2011

Miss is for women who have not married, Mrs. is for married or widowed women and Ms. is usually for divorcees. (She does not go back to miss) I however used Ms for friends of my aunts who are in their 60s  and never married.  Miss did not seem appropriate.

A widowed women is always addressed by her husband’s name. Mrs. Michael Front.

Post # 9
1696 posts
Bumble bee

Use the title that the lady prefers. If you don’t know the lady’s preference, use “Ms”.

Here’s the history:

Prior to the Regency era, “Mistress” meant any decent lady, was routinely used with the first name or the last name, and was abbreviated “Mrs”. For contemporary examples see for example Samuel Richardson’s “Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded” or similar novels of the early eighteenth century. “Mistress” was also abbreviated as “Miss” or more rarely as “Ms”

By the regency and Victorian era the convention evolved that “Mrs” was used by a woman when going by her husband’s surname, and “Miss” when going by her father’s surname. Professional women who retained their natal name in business were “Miss Smith” when functioning as a professional, even when happily married to Mr Jones for decades — and they often used “Mrs Jones” for social purposes even when they were the Jones family’s main breadwinner under their maiden name. For contemporary examples see Betty McDonald’s “The Egg and I”.

In the 1970’s, the women’s rights movement advocated for a single title for all women, so that you didn’t have to go around guessing at their marital status just to address them. They recommended “Ms” which had fallen out of use and was therefore devoid of marital connotations. Old-fashioned women or women who wanted to repudiate “women’s lib” therefore insisted on NOT using Ms, while feminists insisted on NOT using “Mrs” or “Miss”.

The politics seem to have settled down and by the 1990’s the State Department in Canada dictated “Ms” as the default title for invitations of state to women whose preferred title was unknown. Modern young women are completely comfortable with “Ms” because that’s what they called all their school teachers for the last twenty years, and “Miss” has become a diminutive equivalent to “Master” (instead of Mr) for boys. But women over fifty, who may have been personally engaged in the feminist battles of the seventies and eighties, may have strong opinions one way or the other and should be handled with care.

Post # 10
875 posts
Busy bee

Miss is the proper term for an unmarried woman.  Ms. is commonly used by women who are divorced or unwed mothers in my area.  Ms. still has very liberal conotations to it… because it’s a way to hide one’s status…  Miss is like saying Senorita or Senorina… in other languages… it’s a way of honoring a woman who isn’t married.  I’m a school teacher… and I know very few of us have chosen MS…if it is used in your area more generally then it would be okay… but personally… I like being the lovely young MISS rather than the frumpy Ms. 

Post # 11
1077 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2011


As someone who has had a home with my partner for 9 years before we decided to do the wedding thing and who has earned the right to be called “Dr.” (Ph.D., not M.D.), I take offense when I feel that my family/close friends decide that it would be somehow respectful to address my marital status on a formal invite.

If they don’t want to call me Dr., I’ll still prefer Ms. after I’m married.  I will never be Mrs. My SO’s Name.  We can be committed and still be our own selves.

I’ve never known anyone to take offense to Ms., even if it’s not their thing, but the other way around…absolutely.  And, if there is any time that people will be sensitive to you calling them out for not being married, it will be at your wedding.  In the end, it’s what will respect your particular loved ones wishes.  If you don’t know, you can always err on the side of not titles at all (my personal favorite).

Post # 12
14494 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

Ok, I just looked this up in my formal titles book.

Miss is unmarried under 25

Ms unmarried over 25

Mrs is anyone married no matter if they keep their last name or take the spouses (ie Mr. John Smith and Mrs. Jane Jones)

Titled names always first on the invitation (ie Honorable, Dr, Governor)  (ie Dr. Jane Jones and Mr. John Jones)

Titles are always preferred over the standards.

These are just the formal way of addressing properly according to the protocol book.  For the most part, very few will even notice (except widows, I always hear comments from widows.  They are still Mrs. and they like letters addressed accordingly.  I have been told this strickly from many of them when I worked my first campaign and screwed it up.)




Post # 13
3316 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2009

Ma. ia correct for any woman of any marital status.  When we polled our friends, every single or divorced woman, and any woman who had a different last name than her husband, preferred Ms. to Miss or Mrs.

For married women who changed their names, preferences were all over the map:  Mrs. John Smith, Mrs. Jane Smith, or Ms. Jane Smith.  If you’re not in a position to poll all your friends, the simplest solution that offends the fewest people is probably John and Jane Smith (no titles at all).

Post # 14
3587 posts
Sugar bee

Please do not put Miss on a grown woman’s invitation. 



Post # 16
566 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

I hate when people still use Miss for me.  I am not a little girl! I prefer Ms.  Not sure what the proper etiquette is though…

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