(Closed) quick question – escort cards: “mrs john smith” or “mrs jane smith”

posted 12 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
72 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

Is her husband not coming to the wedding? If he is then it should read Mr. and Mrs. John Smith. If he’s not then Mrs. Jane Smith is what it should say.

Post # 4
1652 posts
Bumble bee

I think also, if she is divorced (and perhaps) if her husband is deceased, you would use her first name, Mrs. Jane Smith. 

Post # 5
7038 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2010

I actually don’t care what the official rule is – I would be pretty offended if someone referred to me only by my husband’s name. It’s 2010. I have my own identity and my own name. I actually  find that a lot of the Emily Post rules are pretty outdated. I think it’s time for 21st century rules!

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

Mrs. Jane Smith

Post # 7
553 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

I think it depends on the formality of your wedding and how particular you are about etiquette.  I personally would do Mrs. Jane Smith, unless you list the couple on the escort card.

Post # 8
1387 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

Mrs. Jane Smith seems more appropriate to me. 

Post # 9
807 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

Mrs. Jane Smith.

Think about it this way, there are women who don’t mind being called Mrs. John Smith, and there are women (like me) who REALLY hate it and would be totally offended.  Why run that risk?  Is there anyone in the world who would be offended if they were called by their own first and last name (Mrs. Jane Smith) instead of by their husband’s? Probably not.  So I say go with the safe choice which is least likely to offend anyone.

Post # 10
1094 posts
Bumble bee

There actually IS formal etiquette for this. Unfortunately, there are several different standards:

Most correct is “Mrs Smith”. You use the first name with a title, only if there is a possibility of ambiguity — as when there are more than one “Smith” family invited.That solves the problem of whether to be feminist-liberally-correct, traditionally-correct, or official-protocol-correct, doesn’t it?

At weddings though, you often do get several families of the same surname attending. The correct old-fashioned protocol for that situation gets complicated. The most senior couple of the same surname would be “Mr and Mrs Smith”. The rest would be identified by the husband’s first name only, with no surname: “Mr and Mrs John”, “Mr and Mrs Michael” and so on. The most senior unmarried lady would be “Miss Smith” and the rest are “Miss Anne”, “Miss Beatrice”, and so on. You use the surname and first name together only when you have two gentlemen who have the same first name and are neither of them the most senior in their family: “Mr and Mrs Thomas Smith”; and “Mr and Mrs Thomas Jones”.

Official protocol is established by the State Department or Lord Chancellor’s office or State Head of Protocol, or whatever such functionary exists in your country. In Canada, it is the Secretary of State and the official protocol is that, when addressing anyone, you use the form of address that person prefers. So, when you do have more than one “Mrs Smith” present, then for your traditionalist friends you address them as “Mrs John Smith” because that is what they prefer, and for your liberal-feminist or modernist friends you address them as “Ms Jane Smith” because that is what they prefer — or Mrs, or even Miss or Mm as they prefer. If you don’t know (and I’m quoting the Secretary of State’s style guide for Canada here) you assume “Ms Jane Smith”.

You probably have to be over forty — and more likely over sixty — to actually remember all the political connotations that surrounded the use of the title “Ms” and of married women’s first names. But among those who do remember — and particularly among widows of a certain age — yes, there are indeed women who might be offended by losing the use of their husband’s name. So if you do know that someone has habitually gone by the form “Mrs John Smith” do NOT take it upon yourself to modernize her, and particularly do not do so if it might rub in the fact of a recent or deeply-felt widowhood!

Post # 11
2181 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: January 2011 - Vintage Villas

I don’t know what the formal etiquette is, but I would much prefer to be referred to by my own first name. 

Post # 12
343 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2009

How about Ms. Jane Smith.  I think Mrs. Jane Smith connotes divorce, and Mrs. John Smith is offensive to a modern woman.

Post # 13
8941 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2009

I really think it is old fashioned to call someone Mrs. John Smith.  My grandparents did it and I was actually sort of offended that I no longer have my own name.

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