Post # 1
I am attempting to gather up the addresses for all of my guests now, to keep me organized (and so I have one thing off my to-do list). Many of our family and friends have degrees and titles and I’m uncertain which of these are included on things such as the invitation to guests, addresses to guests, and escort cards: JD/Esq. (I think no), PhD/Dr. (I think yes), MD/Dr. (yes) Is this correct?
Post # 3
@kay01: It depends on how stuffy you are being, and on how proud your friends are of their titles. The basic rule, overriding all others, is that you address your guests using the title and form of name that they prefer, and resort to rules only when you don’t know their preferences.
In general social usage, the title is used with the surname only, and the first name is not used (unless they are a junior member of the family holding the same surname and title as a more senior member — then you use the title with the given name and leave off the surname).
“Esquire” in the United Staes is used as a professional (not social) convention, and is not used on social correspondence.
A PhD, or a JD, is an academic title, not a social title. It is correctly used only at academic functions and college dinners. At non-academic social functions a PhD is correctly addressed simply as “Mr Smith”. Nowadays most PhDs prefer to be addressed as “Dr” so you follow their preference — which has become so common that NOT using the Dr title is a sign that the PhD in question is an etiquette snob (a snobbery that I happen to admire).
A medical doctor is properly addressed as “Doctor Smith”, not as “Doctor Jane Smith” nor as “Mrs Smith M.D.”
At civilian social functions, only military personnel above the rank of Lieutenant Colonol are properly addressed by their rank. Nowadays however nearly all military personnel prefer that you use their rank so you follow their preference. Retired personnel may continue to use their rank and on social correspondence the “, Retired” distinction is not used.
Post # 4
Thanks! I almost pm’d you my question because you are so knowledgeable about these questions, so I’m glad you saw it and replied.
The Lieutenant Colonel rank rule is interesting, because I know most of my parents friends use their titles, and most are also Commander or Captain (the Commander rank is 05, the equivalent of the Lt. Col. rank I believe). I just assumed it was because they had retired from service, as opposed to a few others that left the service earlier, that they kept using the title, not due to earning a specific rank or above.
You are also certainly correct regarding the PhDs frequently preferring to be addressed as Dr. nowadays. My Fiance has one and although he doesn’t actually use his title except professionally, he admits he is not thrilled that he spent over 7 years in grad school compared to a medical doctor’s 4 years, and yet it is not appropriate to use the title outside of academics. I just remind him that he wouldn’t want to be called upon to assist in a medical emergency on a plane, and need to decline!