So often I receive questions about how to address envelopes to guests with various professions and relationships. Here is a little quick reference guide I've put together for future use.
To a Married Couple
Mr. and Mrs. Albert Hampton
A married couple with the same last name should be traditionally listed as Mr. and Mrs. followed by the male's first and last name. It is not incorrect to also list a married couple as "Mr. Albert and Mrs. Samantha Hampton".
To a Married Couple That Use Different Last Names
Mr. Ryan Paxton and Mrs. Marion Parker
When space permits, list both members of the couple on the same line. Each should be recognized with their own salutation and last name.
To an Unmarried Couple Living Together
Mr. Hunter Allen and Ms. Anna Peterson
List the male's name first and both names should be listed on the same line.
To a Same-Sex Couple
Ms. Salina Redding and Ms. Georgia Browning
You can include either member of the couple's name first, and both should be listed on the same line. If either partner has a distinguished title (Doctor, Honorable, or Military Titles), list their name first with their title.
A few notes before you start addressing those wedding invitations:
- Start with a completed list before you begin writing
- Wedding invitations should be hand written. If you are not confident in your own handwriting, consider enlisting the help of a friend or hiring a calligrapher to write out your envelopes
- The outer envelope should be more formal (in the manners listed below), while the inner envelope is more informal and can include first names or even nicknames for your guests
- Wait to seal your envelopes until just before you are ready to mail them (You never know what you will think to include or if something randomly changes; Said by the woman who changed her reception venue 12 weeks before the wedding and was very glad she hadn't sealed the envelopes yet!)
- The Ultra-Fine Sharpies do great for almost any envelopes. They are bold and fine-pointed.
Alright, off you go. Here are a few additional ways you may need to address an envelope:
To a Married Woman Doctor
Dr. Stephanie and Mr. Brian Poole
If a married woman doctor uses a different last name socially, include her last name after her first name in the same format shown above.
To Children and Families
Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Firestone
Master Thatcher and Miss Nina
Boys under 18 are titled "Master" and all unmarried girls are titled "Miss". Siblings should be listed on the same line when possible. If you do not list each child by name, it is implied that children are not invited. Do not be surprised if some guest still assume their children are included. If so, it is up to the host to gently reach out and politely indicate that you are no including children at the event and you look forward to seeing the adults.
To Children 18 and Older
Mr. Nicholas Greene
Children 18 and older should receive their own invitations. It is optional to allow them to bring a guest. If they have a fiance or live-in significant other, it is customary to include their counterpart on the same invitation.
If a guest is a single senior officers, their title appears before their names, followed by the branch or service on the line below:
Major Frederica Williams
United States Air Force
For enlisted personnel, rank is usually omitted:
United States Marine Corps
For retired offices, include "retired" following their branch:
Captain Geoffrey Lefte
United State Navy, retired
When one spouse is in the service (list the military spouse first):
Lieutenant Samuel and Mrs. Bianca Alba
United States Army
When a couple is unmarried and one person is in the service (list the military first):
Captain Jennifer Vincent and Mr. Richard White
United States Navy