Engagement season spans from Thanksgiving until Valentine’s Day, so now is the perfect time to tackle one of the trickiest parts of wedding planning: How to address the invitations. With a little help from Crane—stationers who have been in the business for over a century—we’ve put together a handy guide explaining how to invite each family and friend correctly.
Addressing Outer and Inner Envelopes
Every family is different, which makes addressing wedding invitations a bit difficult. The accepted rule is that the outside of the envelope, containing the invitation and other paper elements, should use formal addressing, while the inner envelope can be more informal, leaving out titles and last names (if you’re close to the guest).
Children, who are under the age of 18, within invited families aren’t included on the outer envelopes but can be addressed on the inner—for girls under 18, use “Miss,” and boys don’t take on a title until 18 with “Mr.” Children of invited family members who are an adult age should get their own invitations, unless they live at home. Widows should be asked by a close family member which surname is preferred.
TO A MARRIED COUPLE WITH THE SAME LAST NAME:
If you decide to include middle names, they should be spelled out, not indicated by an initial.
Outer: “Mr. Justin and Mrs. Hailey Bieber” or “Mr. Justin Drew and Mrs. Hailey Rhode Bieber” or “Mr. and Mrs. Justin Bieber” or “Mr. and Mrs. Justin Drew Bieber”
Inner: “Mr. and Mrs. Bieber” or “Justin and Hailey”
TO A MARRIED COUPLE WITH DIFFERENT LAST NAMES:
Usually, you list the person you’re closest to first, and if they’re equal, alphabetical order is the way to go.
Outer: “Mr. John Legend and Mrs. Chrissy Teigen”
Inner: “Mr. Legend and Mrs. Teigen” or “John and Chrissy”
TO A MARRIED COUPLE WITH ONE HYPHENATED LAST NAME:
If the wife has chosen to hyphenate her last name, then she can be addressed as Ms. (or Mrs.) + her first name + her maiden name + married name—the same order goes for a husband who chose to hyphenate.
Outer: “Mr. Kanye West and Mrs. Kimberly Kardashian-West”
Inner: “Mr. West and Mrs. Kardashian-West” or “Kanye and Kimberly”
TO AN UNMARRIED COUPLE LIVING TOGETHER OR UNMARRIED OR MARRIED SAME SEX COUPLE
You can list the person you’re closest with first.
Outer: “Ms. Taylor Swift and Mr. Joseph Alwyn”
Inner: “Ms. Swift and Mr. Alwyn” or “Taylor and Joseph”
TO A MARRIED FEMALE DOCTOR OR TWO MARRIED DOCTORS
If a female doctor uses her maiden name professionally and socially, it should be listed after her first name, and if she uses her husband’s last name socially, then a repeating last name isn’t necessary.
Outer: “Dr. Meredith Grey and Mr. Derek Shepherd” or “Dr. Meredith and Mr. Derek Shepherd”
Inner: “Dr. Grey and Mr. Shepherd”
If both people are doctors, see below:
Outer: “Doctors Meredith and Derek Shepherd”
Inner: “The Doctors Shepherd”
*The same rules apply for military personnel, reverends, judges, and other distinguished titles. If names with titles don’t fit on one line, list separately, if only one has a title, or indent the second line if both do. The person with the distinguished title always goes first.
Now that you know exactly how you’re going to address each guest’s invitation, you can browse more wedding invitations from Crane!
This post is sponsored by Crane.