Guest Addressing Etiquette


Now that you’ve decided on wording for your wedding invitations, it’s time to move forward with guest addressing. So, what’s the correct etiquette to use when addressing wedding invitations?

For some weddings, there may be an inner envelope to accompany the more formal outer envelope. Titles on the inner envelope can be less formal and more personal depending on your relationship with the guest. The outer envelope is where things can get tricky when it comes to titles, full names and correct spelling.

Here are several variations of how to address wedding invitations to your guests.

To married couples…

For couples with the same last names, use titles “Mr.” and “Mrs.” followed by the husband’s first and last name.

Outer envelope: “Mr. and Mrs. Michael Smith” or “Mr. Michael Smith and Mrs. Megan Smith”
Inner envelope: “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” or “Michael and Megan”

For couples with different last names, make sure to write the wife’s name first followed by the husband’s name. If the names are too long to fit on one line, they can be placed on two.

Outer envelope: “Mrs. Kristine Jones and Mr. Kevin Anderson”
Inner envelope: “Mrs. Jones and Mr. Anderson” or “Kristine and Kevin”

To an unmarried couple…

It’s becoming more common for couples to cohabitate even if they are not married and sharing the same last name. In this case, list the guest you are closest to first followed by their partner’s name.

Outer envelope: “Ms. Alyssa Williams and Mr. Andrew Matthews” or “Mr. Andrew Matthews and Ms. Alyssa Williams”
Inner envelope: “Ms. Williams and Mr. Matthews," “Mr. Matthews and Ms. Williams,” “Andrew and Amanda,” or “Amanda and Andrew”

To a same-sex couple…

You can list either guest first depending on your relationship with each individual or you can simply list them in alphabetical order.

Outer envelope: “Mr. Jack Stevens and Mr. John Wilson” or "Ms. Jan Johnson and Ms. Jane Smith"
Inner envelope: “Mr. Stevens and Mr. Wilson” or “Jack and John” and "Ms. Johnson and Ms. Smith" or "Jan and Jane"

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To a single guest…

List single guests as you would any others with “Mr.” and/or “Ms.”

Outer envelope: “Ms. Stephanie Collins” or “Mr. Jason Phillips”
Inner envelope: “Ms. Collins” or “Stephanie” and “Mr. Phillips” or “Jason”

To a married couple, one or both of whom are doctors…

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List the guest who is a doctor first with titles spelled out on the outer envelope. If both names don’t fit on one line, you can place them on separate lines.

Outer envelope: “Doctor Claire Myers and Mr. Cody Myers”
Inner envelope: “Dr. Myers and Mr. Myers” or “Claire and Cody”

In the case of a married couple whom are both doctors with the same last name, it’s appropriate to address the couple as “The Doctors.”

Outer envelope: “The Doctors Thomas” or “Drs. Drew and Danielle Thomas”
Inner envelope: “The Doctors Thomas” or “Drew and Danielle”

To a guest or couple with other distinguished titles…

The same rules apply to guests with titles such as judge, reverend or military personnel. In this case, you will list the guest with the title first followed by their partner’s name.

Outer envelope: “The Honorable Evan Walters and Mrs. Erica Walters”
Inner envelope: “Judge Walters and Mrs. Walters”


To a divorced female…

You can address the guest as Mrs. or Ms. along with her ex-husband’s last name if she still uses it or you can also use her maiden name.

Outer envelope: “Mrs. Jenna West”
Inner envelope: “Ms. West” or “Jenna”

To a widow…

This can be addressed two ways: She can be addressed by her married name or by her husband’s name. In this case, it’s best to ask someone who is close to the guest, such as a family member of the widow.

Outer envelope: “Mrs. Grace Stewart” or “Mrs. Gavin Stewart”
Inner envelope: “Mrs. Stewart” or “Grace”


To a family including children…

The family name or parents’ names should be listed alone while children can be included on the inside. When listing a female under the age of 18, address her as “Miss”

Outer envelope: “The Sanders Family” or “Mr. and Mrs. Tate Sanders” (children would be listed on the inner envelopes.)
Inner envelope: “Tate, Tia, Adam, Blake and Miss Caitlyn”

What if I am not doing inner envelopes?

No problem! These days, a lot of people don't do inner envelopes and that is totally fine. It will save you money on invitations, and they may not always be necessary. If you want to be clear that children are not invited, for example, inner/outer envelopes are a great tool. For my wedding, we had about 15 addresses with both inner and outer envelopes, the rest we just sent with one! That way the guests with children knew for sure they were or were not invited, and it saved us some money on envelopes by not doing them all. 

For most envelopes, the above suggestions apply! Here is some advise for addressing children when just using one envelope... 

The most formal way to address an envelope without the inner envelope would be to list the parents' names on the first line, and list each child's name on the next line:

"Mr. & Mrs. Jeremy Smith
Miss Laney and Miss Annie"

For more informal events, you can list them together:

"Mr. & Mrs. Jeremy Smith and Family" or as stated above, "The Smith Family"

Free Addressing Template

Keeping track of all your guests can be stressful. If you're a current or future client, this is the format we need for address printing. If you're having your guest addresses printed else where, this will probably still work! (please check with your printer) Whether you're having your addressing done professionally or not, this file will definetly help you stay organized!

The freebie includes 2 sheets: One with all your guests addressing info, and another to help you track their RSVPs, meal options, and more! 

Download your FREE Guest Addressing Template! 👇🏼

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Carley ZuercherComment