Properly Addressing Wedding Invitations

An Easy Guide On How To Address Wedding Invitations +
Answers to 9 Frequently Asked Questions

Properly addessing wedding invitations with examples.

Updated Aug 6, 2017

Congratulations! You have everything set in motion and are now ready to make it official and send out your wedding invitations. However, as you sit down and start to think about addressing wedding invitations you may have many questions running through your mind, questions such as:


  1. How do you address wedding invitation envelopes?

  2. What is an inner and outer envelope in wedding invitations?

  3. What is the inner envelope used for?

  4. Do you need inner and outer envelopes?

  5. How do you address wedding invitations without an inner envelope?

  6. How do you word an invitation for adults only?

  7. How do you address wedding invitations to a family?

  8. How do address wedding invitations with guest?

  9. Do you put a return address on the wedding invitation?

You will find the answers to all these questions and many examples for you to look at further down on this page.


But before we go any further


There are some things that you should keep in mind when putting the details onto your wedding envelopes.

  1. Make things easier on yourself by compiling a detailed guest list with the correct mailing addresses and their titles - such as Doctor, Professor, Dean and so on long before you intend to address your invitations.

  2. Start addressing your invitations about two to three weeks before you intend to post out the invitations. Your posting date should be six to eight weeks before your RSVP date, this will ensure adequate time for your guests to respond.

Now let's get those questions answered

1. How Do You Address Wedding Invitation Envelopes?

The wedding envelope will be the first thing your 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, but you can use an initial for a middle name if you know the guest middle name, if not it is perfectly okay to omit the middle initial.

  • Addresses and titles should be used in full, for example:

    • When it comes to street addresses use Street not St or Use Avenue not Ave and

    • When it comes to professional titles don't abbreviate spell out Doctor don’t use Dr or don’t use Rev use Reverend. However, there are some exceptions to this you can use these abbreviated titles for Mr, Mrs, Miss, Ms, Jr, Sr.

  • When it comes to titles the name of the person who has a title should appear first. If both guests have a title then the gentleman's title and name should appear before the lady's title and name.

  • When addressing invitations to same sex couples you could either place the name of the person you have known the longest first or go alphabetically.

  • When addressing invitations to children over 16 years old you don't need to use Mr or Miss unless it is to a formal wedding.

  • Ideally for married couples their names should appear on the same line, but if there is not enough room it is acceptable to have names on separate lines.

  • For couples who are unmarried their names should appear on two separate lines.

2. What Is An Inner And Outer Envelope In Wedding Invitations?

Using an inner and outer envelope is something that dates to back to a time when the mail was delivered via horse and carriage.  The correspondence was placed into two envelopes, the first being the inner envelope which was then placed into another envelope called the outer envelope which was to act as a protective wrapper against dirt and damage during the long slow journey.

Even though mail delivery is much quicker today the tradition of using two envelopes of wedding invitations is still used by many. You see the reason for this is that the typical wedding invitation does not have a place for the wedding guest name so this is where the inner envelope comes into play.

3. What Is The Inner Envelope Use For?

The inner envelope is the where you write all the names of the people invited to your wedding and the outer envelope is addressed to the heads of the household.

4. Do You Need Inner And Outer Envelopes?

There is nothing wrong by using only a single envelope but there are benefits of using two:

Benefit 1: Using inner and outer envelopes helps keep the information neat and clear.

As mentioned earlier the inner envelope is where you would list the names of all the people invited. However, if you were to use only the outer envelope you would need to include all the guest’s names here and this could end up messy.

The reason for this is that you would need to include the postal address, this would be fine if using just one or two names but, on the other hand, it can get quite crowded if you need to add three or four more names here.


Benefit 2: Using and inner envelope ensures that guest details are not lost.

If you are using a single envelope with the guest’s names listed on it there is a high probability that most people will end up disposing of the envelope soon after opening, not realizing the valuable information it contains.

Which in turn could make them assume that every member of their family is invited and this might not be the case. To avoid this, you could adopt one of the other methods listed below when using only an outer envelope for your invitations.

5. How Do I Address Wedding Invitations Without an Inner Envelope?

As mentioned in the above question you would list the names of the invited guests on the outer envelope but it does have its drawbacks when it comes to large families, so here are some things that you could do.


Use a belly band instead of an inner envelope.

A belly band for invitations is simply a decorative wrapper that holds all the various wedding inserts together, your invitations may already come with them or you could DIY.

You could either hand write the names directly on to the belly band or you could print the details onto card stock and glue them to the band as a way of addressing the invitations.


Include a cardstock insert.

If you are forgoing the inner envelopes due to postage costs or you simply don’t want to use them. You could include a printed cardstock insert in a thickness and color that matches your invitations. These inserts would be placed at the front of the invitation when assembling your wedding invitations.


Carefully word your RSVP cards.

You could prefill the names of the guests on the RSVP cards before you send them out. This method will make it clear as to who is invited.

Alternatively, you could have your RSVP cards printed with the following words:

  • "We've reserved _____seats for you. _____number attending."

Before posting you would pre-fill the "reserved for you" blank space with the number of people you are inviting.


Example of prefilled RSVP

Example Pre-filled RSVP Card

By pre-filling the RSVP cards, you not only ensure that it is made clear as to who is invited, you don't have to worry about illegible writing or not having names filled in at all.

Example of RSVP card

Example of RSVP with "seats for you" wording

Don't forget to fill in the "reserved for you" blank space with the number of people you are inviting. Please note that if you like you can pre-fill the "M" section or leave that up to your guests.

6. How Do You Word An Invitation For Adults Only?

There is an etiquette rule that says the invitation is only extended to the people whose names are written on the inner envelope – however not everyone is aware of this. So, to avoid confusion make it clear from the start by using one or all the methods listed below:

  1. Write a short sentence under the parents’ names on the invitations inner envelope something like:

    • Regrettably children are unable to attend.

    • Please respect our wishes for a child free wedding.

    • Due to restrictions at our venue, we are unable to invite children.

  2. Have your RSVP cards printed with a separate line for each of your guest’s and include an accept and decline check box next to each line plus a  "number of seats have been reserved for you" line. Then before you send the invitation you would prefill it with the guest’s names and number of reserved seats. By doing this you should avoid any confusion as to who is invited.

  3. Put a note on your wedding website – you could just write a brief note here stating that your ceremony and reception will be a child free event and for out of town guests you could also include a list babysitting options in your area.

Although it might seem excessive I would use all the above options, as it is just a subtle way to get your message across – but do choose your wording carefully you don’t want to appear rude.


Inner envelope addressed stating no kids.

Example of wording for an inner envelope addressed for a child free wedding.

RSVP card used to indicate a child free wedding.

Example of prefilled RSVP card with no space filled in with childrens names.

7. How Do You Address Wedding Invitations To A Family?

How to address an envelope to a family, the basic rules here are:


If using an inner and outer envelope – you would write only the parents’ names on the outer envelope and on the inner envelope you would list the parents first, then on the next line you would place the names of the children by order of age.


If addressing wedding invitations with one envelope – You would write the parents’ names first followed by the children’s names in age order.


When addressing to children under 18 years old for fromal invitations you would use “Miss” for girls.
You don’t need to give a boy a title until they are over 18.

If there are children over the age of 18 years living at the parents address they would receive a separate invitation. See examples on how this is done.


Formal family inner envelope example.

Example 1
How to address an inner envelope to a family.

Addressing wedding invitation example - to a family.

Example 2
How to address an outer envelope to a family.

Thumbnail Image 1

Example 3
How to address an envelope to a family without using an inner envelope.

8. How Do You Address Wedding Invitations With Guest?

If you are inviting someone with “a plus one” try and find out the guest’s name. If it is not possible to find out the name you should address the invitation to the person you know on the same line. However, if you do know the name, the “plus one’s” name should appear on a separate line below your primary guest’s name. You can see examples of how to address invitations for plus ones here.


Thumbnail Image 1

An example of how to write a plus one invitation when the guest name is unknown.

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Example of how to address wedding invitations plus guest - guest's name is known.

9. Do You Put A Return Address On The Wedding Invitation?

Yes, you should put a return address on your wedding invitation envelope, you would place your return address on the back of the envelope usually on the envelope flap.

The reason is you may have written the address incorrectly wrong or the person may have moved and if this is the case your wedding invitation can be forwarded back to you. Read more about wedding invitation address etiquette here.

20 Examples of  Addressing Wedding Invites With An Inner and Outer Envelope

Addressing Wedding Invitations To:

1. Family Members - both formally and informally.
2. Husband And Wife - with the same surname.
3. Husband And Wife - with different surnames.
4. Husband And Wife - the wife has a professional title.
5. Husband And Wife - the husband has a professional title.
6. Husband and Wife - both have a professional title.
7. Husband And Wife With Children - and the children are not invited.
10. Addressing Invitations To Children Over 18 Years Old - examples of how to address to: two sisters, two brothers, and brothers and sisters.

Addressing Wedding Invitations To:

12. Single Woman - regardless of her age.
14. Single Woman - with children.
15. Single Woman - with plus one invitation
17. Single Man - with plus guest invitation

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.

Example addressing inner envelope

Inner Envelope

Example of addressing an outer envelope for a wedding

Outer Envelope

Or you could be a little more formal and address the outer envelope using their titles.

Thumbnail Image 1

Inner Envelope

Thumbnail Image 1

Outer Envelope

2. Husband and Wife - with the same surname

When addressing an invitation to a husband and wife his name would appear first.
Use the husbands middle initial if known on the outer envelope.

Addressing inner envelope when couple have same surname

Inner Envelope - Using Guests Titles

Use titles for fomal invitations or...

Addressing inner envelope when couple have same surname

Inner Envelope - Modern

You could use first names for a modern informal wedding.

Example of addressing invitation to couple with same surname

Outer Envelope

This format would also be used if your where only using one envelope.

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.

Example of inner envelope addresed to couple with different surnames

Inner Envelope - Formal

Example of modern inner envelope addresed to couple with different surnames

Inner Envelope - Modern

Example of outer envelope addresed to couple with different surnames

Outer Envelope

Use this format also when addressing invitations with a single envelope.

4. Husband and Wife - the 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.

Example of inner envelope addressed when wife is doctor.

Inner Envelope

Example of outer envelope addressed when wife is doctor.

Outer Envelope

Wife is a Judge

Example of inner envelope addressed when wife is Judge

Inner Envelope

Example of outer envelope addressed when wife is judge

Outer Envelope

Wife is a Professor

Example of inner envelope addressed when wife is professor

Outer Envelope

Example of outer envelope addressed when wife is judge

Outer Envelope

Wife is a Dean

Example of inner envelope addressed when wife is dean

Outer Envelope

Example of outer envelope addressed when wife is dean

Outer Envelope

Wife is a Reverend

Example of inner envelope addressed when wife is reverend

Outer Envelope

Example of outer envelope addressed when wife is reverend

Outer Envelope

Wife is a Rabbi

Example of inner envelope addressed when wife is rabbi

Outer Envelope

Example of outer envelope addressed when wife is rabbi

Outer Envelope

5. Husband and Wife - the husband has a professional title

Husband is a Doctor

Inner envelope address when husband is a doctor.

Inner Envelope

Outer envelope addressed when husand is a doctor.

Outer Envelope

Husband is a Judge

Example of an inner wedding envelope addressed when husband is a judge

Inner Envelope

Example of an outer wedding envelope addressed when husband is a judge

Outer Envelope

Husband is a Professor

Inner envelope example where husband is a professor

Inner Envelope

Outer envelope example where husband is professor

Outer Envelope

Husband is a Dean

Wedding inner envelope example addressed where husband is a dean

Inner Envelope

Wedding outer envelope example addressed where husband is a dean

Outer Envelope

Husband is a Reverend

Inner envelope example address when husband is a reverend

Inner Envelope

Outer envelope example address when husband is a reverend

Outer Envelope

Husand is a Rabbi

Inner envelope addressed when husband is a rabbi

Inner Envelope

Outer envelope addressed when husband is a rabbi

Outer Envelope

6. Husband and Wife - both have a professional title

In the case where both coupls have a title the husbands title and name should come before the wife's.

Example of inner envelope written to a couple where they both have titles.

Inner Envelope

Example of outer envelope written to a couple where they both have titles.

Outer Envelope

7. Husband and Wife With Children - and the children are not invited

As mentioned earlier in the article 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:
Not everyone is aware of this rule so it might be wise to 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.


Inner wedding envelope addressed to couple only and no children invited

Inner Envelope

Outer wedding envelope addressed to couple only and no children invited

Outer Envelope

8. Husband and Wife With Children Under 18 Years Old - the children are invited

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 18 years. If they are over the age of 18 years, it is customary to send an invitation addressed to them (see below for examples).

Addressed inner envelope to family with kids under 16 years old

Inner Envelope

Addressed outer envelope to family with kids under 16 years old

Outer Envelope

Addressed outer envelope to family with kids under 16 years old

Example of invitation addressed to family using only one envelope

9. Husband and Wife With Children Under and Over 18 Years Old - the children are invited

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 18 Years And Two Over The Age Of 18

Addressed inner envelope for parents and children under 16

1. Inner Envelope - Example of invitation addressed to parents and two children under 18 years old

Addressed outer envelope for parents and children under 16

2. The Outer - Envelope would only be addressed to the parents.


Addressed outer only envelope for parents and children under 16

Example of an invitation address to parents and two children under the age of 18 years old, when using no inner envelope.

For the two children who are over 18 years old and living at the same address a seperate invitation should be sent.

When addressing the outer envelope for the children over 18 years you don’t need to use Mr or Miss except for a formal wedding.

Inner envelope addressed for wedding invitation to childern over 16

Inner Envelope

Outer envelope addressed for wedding for children over 16

Outer Envelope

If you choose not to use an inner envelope the addressing format is the same as the above.

10. Addressing Invitations To Children Over 18 Years Old - In a More Formal Manner

Two sisters over 18 years old living at the same address

Inner envelope addressed to two sister over 18 years old.

Inner Envelope

Outer envelope addressed to two sisters over the age of 18.

Outer Envelope

Two brothers over 18 years old living at the same address

Outer envelope addressed to two brothers over 18.

Inner Envelope

Inner envelope addressed to two brothers over 18.

Outer Envelope

Brother and sister over 18 years old living at the same address

Inner envelope address to a sister and brother over 18.

Inner Envelope

Outer envelope

Outer Envelope

Brothers and sisters ove 18 years old living at the same address.

Inner envelope addressed to brothers and sisters over 18 years old living at the same address.>
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Inner Envelope

Outer envelope addressed to brothers and sisters at the same address.

Outer Envelope

11. Guests With Military Titles

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

Addressed inner envelope

Inner Envelope

Outer envelope

Outer Envelope

12. Single Woman - regardless of her 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).

Addressed inner envelope for single woman.

Inner Envelope

Outer envelope addressed to a single woman.

Outer Envelope

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.

Addressed inner envelope for a divorced woman.

Inner Envelope

Outer envelope showing how to address an invitation to a single divorced woman.

Outer Envelope

14. Single Woman - with children

Addressed inner envelope for single woman with children invited to a wedding.

Inner Envelope

Outer envelope showing how to address inviation to single woman with children.

Outer Envelope

15. Single Woman - with plus one invitation

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.

Addressed inner envelope  for plus one inviation when guest is unknown.

Example 1
Inner envelope addressed when the plus one's name is unknown.

Addressed inner envelope example for plus one when guests name is known.

Example 2
Inner envelope addressed when the guest's name is known

Outer envelope showing addressed to guest.

Outer Envelope
You would only address the invitation to your primary guest.

16. Single Man

Addressed inner envelope addressed to a single man.

Inner Envelope

Outer envelope showing how to address an inviation to a single guest.

Outer Envelope

17. Single Man - with plus guest invitation

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.

Addressed inner envelope for plus one inviation guest name is not known.

Inner Envelope

Addressed inner envelope that includes a guests name.

Inner Envelope

Outer envelope addressed to a single guest.

Outer Envelope

18. Unmarried Couple Living Together

When addressing to a couple living together who are not married, place their names on seperate lines with the mans name first.

Addressed inner envelope addres to an unmarried couple.

Inner Envelope

Outer envelope addressed to an unmarried couple.

Outer Envelope

19. Widow

You would address an invitation to a widow by using her married name.

Addressed inner envelope addressed to a widow.

Inner Envelope

Outer envelope addressed to a widow.

Outer Envelope

20. Same Sex Couples

When addressing invitations to same sex couples are like the above examples only you would list the names in alphabetical order.

Addressed inner envelope addressed to an unmarried same sex couple.

Inner Envelope Example 1
Same Sex Couple - Unmarried

Outer envelope addressed to an unmarried same sex couple.

Outer Envelope Example
Same Sex Couple - Unmarried

The names should be on seprate lines and listed alphabtically.

Inner envelope addressed to married same sex couple with different names.

Inner Envelope Example 2
Same Sex Couple - Married With Different Last Names

Outer envelope addressed to same sex couple married with different surnames.

Outer Envelope Example 2
Same Sex Couple - Married With Different Last Names

Ideally the names should be on one line, but if you are resticted to space using two lines is acceptable.

Inner envelope showing how to address inviation to same sex couple with same last name.

Inner Envelope Example 3
Same Sex Couple - Married With The Same Last Name

Outer envelope showing how to address wedding inviations for same sex couple with the same last name.

Outer Envelope Example 3
Same Sex Couple - Married With The Same Last Name

Image of bride and groom

Wedding Tips and Ideas

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Wedding Etiquette Tip

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.”