The Berry House

Planning life’s most delightful moments!

Wedding Etiquette: How to Address Your Invitations

Let’s talk envelope etiquette! It’s 2022 people, there are options. You can take the traditional path and follow the Emily Post guidelines. You can play it safe and skip titles, which makes it less formal. Or have some fun with it.

Working in the wedding business, we know addressing envelopes can be a somewhat contentious debate between couples and their parents. Or perhaps, others are just confused about “what is protocol!” In our viewpoint, there are some traditional approaches and some more modern-day approaches. We do BOTH based on the couple’s preference. You can choose to be more formal or embrace the changing landscape of our world. But whatever you choose, don’t let this be a pain point or cause unneeded wedding planning stress.

We’ve broken down the variety of options for addressing your envelopes below! And mega bonus: You can download our wedding calligraphy addressing template to start working on your own list!

Married Couples: Formal

Traditionally for married couples, you include the male’s first and last name (i.e. Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Arendt). It’s likely the most familiar and the most common way to address envelopes. Note: This etiquette rule is only applicable for married couples with the same last name.

What we don’t like: Why does the woman not get her name mentioned? Why is she Mrs. Kenneth Arendt? See alternate option below.

blue envelope with stamps

Married Couples: The 2022 Spin, Informal

For a less traditional spin, remove titles and include both first names and joint last name! Note: Ladies first! Why? We still like the etiquette rule of not separating the male’s first and last name.

Also, you don’t have to spell out your guest’s full birth name (i.e. Kenneth Arendt versus Ken Arendt) if they never use that name in every day life. But this is totally your preference based on your relationship or level of formality preference.

wedding calligraphy for envelope

To Be or Not To Be: Mrs. / Ms. / Miss

All singles ladies can use either Ms. or Miss. But we think it’s more appropriate for the crowd over 20 to go as Ms.

And for married ladies, you also have two options, Mrs. of course, but Ms. can be used for both unmarried and married women. We prefer Ms. as it doesn’t identify a woman by her marital status.

Married Couples, Different Last Names:

If the married couple has different last names, list each full name with an AND between names to indicate marriage.

green wedding invitation

Same-Sex Married Couples, Different Last Names:

If the same-sex couple is married but with different last names, include both their first and last names combined with an AND. Opt to add their desired prefix in front of the name (Mr. or Ms.) for more formality.

envelope with custom stamp

Same-Sex Married Couples, Same Last Names:

If the same-sex couple is married and has adopted one last name, include both first and last names.

Who goes first? We recommend placing the names in alpha order based on their first name.  Then, make sure to include the AND to show that they are married.

You can also have the order of names based on who you know better.

wedding invitation with dog interactive stamp

Not Married, Living Together:

If the couple is not married but is living together, place them on two different lines. This indicates that they are not legally married. That being said, use your judgment. Ten+ years of living together deserves an AND!

envelope with watercolor

Single Friend with Guest:

If you are asking your friend to include a guest, you need to make sure to include it on the outer or inner envelope. Best practice is to learn the guest’s name before invitations are mailed and include this on the envelope.

If you are including an inner envelope, “& Guest”  or “and Guest” would be placed on the inner envelope not on the outer envelope. Whether or not you spell out “and” is based on your stylistic preferences.

(Note, you don’t have to include “and Guest” on the save the date as relationships do change throughout the course of the year!)

We have found that some couples believe it is standard protocol to always allow a guest, no matter how long the relationship. However, it really depends on your individual budget, preferences and relationship with the person that you are inviting. If they have a few friends already planning on attending the wedding, they might not need a guest to feel comfortable! Also, remember lots of love connections happen at weddings so going solo can have benefits!

brown envelope

For a Doctor on Your List:

For a married male doctor, address the invite as shown below:

naples wedding invitation

For a married female doctor, list the female first as shown below. Her name would then be followed by her husband’s title and first and last name.

addressing envelopes to doctors

If both are doctors with the same last name, address the envelope to “The Doctors” and their last name.

addressing for doctors

What about people with official titles? There are many nuances depending on whether the person is a politician, religious leader or military official. In most cases, people with official titles put THE in front of their title followed by their first and last name. If you are looking for a specific example, we suggest referencing Emily Post!

rose watercolor wedding invitation

Inviting the Whole Family:

There are a few ways to address the family based on your formality preference and whether or not you are using an inner envelope. Options here:

If using only an outer envelope:

Address the invite to “ The Armstrong Family.”  This implies that you will be inviting the whole family and that all family members (children included) are invited to both the ceremony and reception.

elegant wedding invitation with watercolor

If using an outer and an inner envelope!

You only need to address the adults on the outer mailing envelope. Then, utilize your inner envelope to spell out exactly who is invited.

Outer Envelope Example

On the inner envelope, include the name of the parents with the children listed below. The formal Emily Post etiquette suggests using “Miss” for young girls and “Master” for boys under the age of thirteen. ????

Inner Envelope Option 1

For a less formal spin, don’t include titles or last names and embrace nicknames.

Inner Envelope Option 2

Mixing It Up a Bit: Nicknames!

Now for the fun. This is where nicknames, terms of endearment and inside jokes can be used for a more personal, playful spin. With a fun nickname like Goose, who wouldn’t want to add it?

Note, we find that most people add nicknames on inner envelopes versus outer envelopes. But, it is your preference!

square wedding invitation with butterfly

Adding details like Favorite Aunt can be a way to make people smile and get them excited about the big event ahead 🙂

addressing envelope to an aunt

Have a loving name for your grandma or grandpa? Add it!

designed envelope

We don’t claim to be etiquette experts, but with more than 1,000+ invitations designed, we’ve seen a lot envelopes pass through our hands.  And we like to go by the rules or break them as long as the envelope reaches the intended party for your big party, your wedding!

And once again, as an added bonus, to keep your wedding list together, download our easy Excel wedding invitation addressing template below. It’s a great resource to capture all your guests and their addresses in one place! It also gives you more addressing helpful hints. Happy addressing!

Download Wedding Invitation Calligraphy Template