A Guide to Addressing Wedding Invitations

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Although the rules for addressing wedding invitations are not a strict as before there are some basic wedding invitation etiquette rules that you should still follow.

You should start by organizing your invitations and guest list (this includes getting the correct mailing addresses) about one month or so before you intend to send out your invitations.

The send out date of your wedding invitations should be about six to eight weeks before your wedding date. This will ensure adequate time for your wedding guest to respond about two weeks before the date.

By addressing wedding invitations and assembling them correctly show that you care, your guest my not pick up on this consciously but subconsciously they will know.

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Unlike years ago, when times were more formal in nature invitations were sent out with an inner and outer envelope. Today this tradition is only kept for more formal and black tie weddings.

The most common practice now for addressing wedding invitations is to use a single envelope to send your wedding invitations and this is a good way to keep the cost of the invitation and postage down.

All your wedding invitations should be either neatly hand written or computer printed or if you prefer have a calligrapher address the invitations.

It should be clear to your guest as to who is invited to your wedding you should not leave them guessing as to who is invited; or you just may have some surprise guests at your wedding.

So, this is where a little knowledge on how to address wedding invitations comes in handy.

When addressing wedding invitations, you should decide if you are going to invite the children of your guests and it is a nice gesture for you invite partners of any single guests

You must remember the wedding envelope will be the first thing that your invited guests will see so special attention to details such as the correct spelling of names and using the correct titles is important this will show them that you care.

  • Always use full names instead of initials for first names you can use an initial for middle names when addressing wedding invitations. Today using a middle initial is not so important so you can omit it if you don't know the person’s middle name.
  • Addresses and titles should be used in full, for example use Street not St, Avenue not Ave and don't use Dr use Doctor. The only exceptions to this are Mr, Mrs, Miss, Ms, Jr, Sr.

You may think that it is simple process addressing wedding invitations but as you go through your guest list you soon realize that you have: family members, married couples with and without children, friends in the military, single females and males, single females who are widowed or divorced, couples living together and so on.

For each of these situations the envelopes must be addressed differently. Use the list below to guide you on etiquette for addressing wedding invitations and if you have a guest that does not fit into the list just use your common sense and it will be fine.

Etiquette for Addressing Wedding Invitations to:

Family Members

Husband And Wife With The Same Surname

Husband And Wife With Different Surnames

Husband And Wife And The Wife Has A Professional Title

Husband And Wife And The Husband Has A Professional Title

Military

Both Partners Have Titles

Husband And Wife With Children Not Invited To Wedding

Husband And Wife With Children Under 16 Years’ Old

Husband And Wife With Children Over 16 Years’ Old

Addressing Invitations To Children Over 16 Years’ Old

Single Woman Regardless Of Her Age

Single Divorced Woman

Single Woman With Children

Singe Woman And Guest

Single Man

Single Man And Guest

Unmarried Couple Living Together

Widow

1. Family Members

When addressing envelopes to family members you can use their relationship tile and first name on the inner envelope. On the outer envelope, you can either address them as Mr, Mrs etc. or use the relationship title.

Etiquette for addressing wedding invitations to family members example 1

or

Etiquette for addressing wedding invitations to family members example 2

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2. Husband And Wife With The Same Surname

Use the husbands middle initial if known on the outer envelope

Etiquette for addressing wedding invitations to husband and wife with the same surname.

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3. Husband And Wife With Different Surnames

On the inner envelope, the wife's name should be first. On the outer envelope, the names are traditionally placed on separate lines with the wife’s name above her husbands.

Thumbnail Image 1

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4. Husband and Wife - (Wife Has A Professional Title)

When it comes to titles, the name of the person with the title should alwasy appear first in this case the wife has the professional title so her name would appear first.

Wife is a Doctor

The example below show how invitations should be addressed if the wife has a different surname to her husbands. If she has the same surname as her husbands the inner envelope would read Doctor and Mr Ames. The outer envelope would read as Doctor Patrica T. Ames and Mr Edmond M. Ames.

Examples of addressing wedding invitations to a couple when wife is a doctor.

Wife is a Judge

Examples of addressing wedding invitations to a couple when wife is a judge.

Wife is a Professor

Examples of addressing wedding invitations to a couple when wife is a professor.

Wife is a Dean

Examples of addressing wedding invitations to a couple when wife is a Dean.

Wife is a Reverend

Examples of addressing wedding invitations to a couple when wife is a Reverand.

Wife is a Rabbi

Examples of addressing wedding invitations to a couple when wife is a Rabbi.

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5. Husband and Wife - (Husband Has A Professional Title)

Husband is a Doctor

Example of addressing wedding invitation when the husband has a title.

Husband is a Judge

Example of addressing wedding invitation when the husband is a judge.

Husband is a Professor

Example of addressing wedding invitation when the husband is a professor

Husband is a Dean

Example of addressing wedding invitation when the husband is a Dean.

Husband is a Reverand

Example of addressing wedding invitation when the husband is a Reverand

Husband is a Rabbi

Example of addressing wedding invitation when the husband is  a Rabbi.

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6. Military

Because this is such a large area you might like go over and have a look at formsofaddress.info this site has a frequently asked section that could help you more specifically

Addressing wedding inviation etiquette.

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7. Both Partners Have Titles

In the case where both couples have a title the husband’s title and name should come before the wife’s.

Addressing wedding invitation example where both partners have a title.

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8. Husband and Wife with Children Not Inivited to Wedding

By tradition only the names of the people that appeared on the inner envelope are invited to the wedding. So if the children’s names are not included this is a good indication that they are not invited.

Please note that not everyone is aware of this rule so it might be wise state that it is a child free wedding. This could be done on the invitation itself, on the RSVP cards or even include a separate card with the invitation stating that it is child free wedding. Just use which ever method you think is appropriate.

Example of wedding invite addressed to parents and kids not invited.

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9. Husband and Wife With Children Under 16 Years Old

If you are inviting children to the wedding, you would include their names only on the inner envelope under the parents. List the eldest child first working down to the youngest. Their names would not appear on the outer envelope.

This only applies for children under the age of 16 years. If they are over the age of 16 years, it is customary to send an invitation addressed to them (see below for examples).

Example of wedding invitation addressed to parents and kids under 16 years old invited.

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10. Husband and Wife With Children Over 16 Years Old

A separate invitation would be sent to children over the age of 16 years. You can group the over 16’s on one invitation if they are living at the same address.

Example Of Invitations Addressed To A Family With
Two Children Under 16 Years And Two Over The Age Of 16

Example of address wedding invitation to parents and two children under 16 years old.

When addressing the outer envelope for the children over 16 years you don’t need to use Mr or Miss except for a formal wedding.

Example of addresed wedding invitation to children over 16 years old living at home.

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11. Addressing Invitations to Children Over 16 Years Old

Two sisters over 16 years old living at the same address

Addressed invitaion to two sisters living at the same address.

Two brothers over 16 years old living at the same address

Addressed invitaion to two brothers living at the same address.

Brother and sister over 16 years old living at the same address

Example of address invitation of brother and sister at the same address.

Brothers and sisters over 16 years old living at the same address

EXample of addressed invitation inviting brother and sister living at same address.

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12. Single Woman - Regardless of Age

When addressing an invitation to a single woman you use either Miss or Ms. But always go with the title that you know she prefers to use (if you know it).

Wedding invitation example for addressing to a single woman regadless of her age.

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13. Single Divorced Woman

When addressing an invitation to a divorced woman check to see if she is still using her married name or reverted back to her maiden name - use whichever title is appropriate.

Wedding invitation addressed to a single divorced woman.

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14. Single Woman With Children

Thumbnail Image 1

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15. Single Woman and Guest

You can address her as Miss or Ms  (use her preferred title if you know it). Only use guest if you don't know her guests name, other wise use the guests first and last name on the inner envelope.

Thumbnail Image 1

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16. Single Man

Example of invite addressed to a single man.

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17. Single Man and Guest

Only use the word guest if you don't know the guests name, otherwise use the guests first and last name on the inner envelope.

Example of wedding invite addressed to a single man and guest.

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18. Unmarried Couple Living Together

Example of how to address a wedding invitation to an unmarried couple living together.

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19. Widow

You would address a widow using her married name.

Example of how to address a wedding invitation to a widow.

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When to Send Your Invitations

You should plan on sending your invitations 12 to 16 weeks and no later than six to eight before your wedding date. This will allow enough time for your guests to make plans and respond.

If you are inviting guests from out of town, send the invitations out 16 or more weeks before the wedding or send them a save the date card.

Here are a few tips to help you send your invitations:

  • Make more invitations than you need. You will need these for mistakes, last minute additions and one for a keepsake.
  • Order a few more outer envelopes.
  • Double check the postcodes (zip code).
  • Take a completed invitation to the post office and have it weighed, this way you will be sure to have the correct postage.
  • Include a stamp on the response cards envelope or postcard.
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Wedding Etiquette

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How To Handle "The Why Wasn’t I Invited?” Question.

Regardless of whether you really don’t want them present at your wedding or just to keep the numbers down. You will have may have some disgruntled friends and family members saying, “Why wasn’t I invited?”

You need to be tactful and be respectful of their feelings, so the nicest possible way to do this is put the blame on the venues capacity limits.

Say, “I would really like to invite you, but unfortunately the venue has a certain capacity, therefore for safety reasons the number of people we can have is limited.”

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