How to Address a Wedding Invitation the Right Way

Use these examples to address your envelopes correctly.
Naoimh O'Hare - The Knot Associate Commerce Editor
by
Naoimh O'Hare
Naoimh O'Hare - The Knot Associate Commerce Editor
Naoimh O'Hare
Associate Commerce Editor
  • Naoimh writes articles for The Knot Worldwide, specializing in shoppable roundups from gift guides to wedding fashion
  • Before working on editorial content, Naoimh wrote storefront descriptions for some of The Knot Worldwide's many wedding vendors
  • Naoimh studied creative writing at the National University of Ireland, Galway
Updated Mar 31, 2022

By this point, you've likely selected your stationery and collected information from guests—and now you're looking into how to address wedding invitations. There are a few different scenarios that can affect how you write guests' names on your envelopes. For example, an invite addressed to a married couple differs from that addressed to an unmarried couple. To help you keep on top of the correct etiquette, we're sharing the most common examples below as well as answers to the questions we get all the time.

A few last pieces of advice before we get started: Give yourself enough time to get the addresses in order so you can send your invitations out on time (and double-check anything you're not sure about). Once you have all the information you need, head over to The Knot Invitations to check out the guest addressing service. Ready to get to the examples? Here's how to properly address wedding invitation envelopes.

In this article:

    Addressing Wedding Invitations: Examples

    There are a few simple guidelines to follow when it comes to addressing any wedding invitation. Tradition indicates that the inner and outer envelopes follow different etiquette rules. The outer envelope should be formal with titles and/or full names, while the inner envelope is more informal (leaving out first names, titles or last names). Since titles can be restricting and exclusive for some (especially if select guests don't identify as "Mrs.," "Ms.," "Miss" or "Mr."), know that they aren't necessary—you're free to simply use your guests' names and leave the titles off. Another modern way to address wedding invitations is to use the gender-neutral title "Mx."

    How to Address a Wedding Invitation to a Single Person

    Knowing how to formally address a wedding invitation to a single guest is the first step to mastering the art of addressing envelopes. First things first, you should always use the person's preferred title. If you're not sure, play it safe by forgoing a title altogether. For invitations addressed with a guest, it's best to invite both people by name if you have that information. If you're not sure what name to include as the plus-one or you're allowing someone to bring a casual date, the words "and Guest" on the inner envelope will suffice.

    Example One: Without a Plus-One

    • On the outer envelope:

    Ms. Ali Johnson

    • On the inner envelope:

    Ms. Johnson

    Example Two: With a Plus-One

    • On the outer envelope:

    Mx. Sam Li

    • On the inner envelope:

    Sam Li and Guest

    How to Address a Wedding Invitation to a Family

    For invitations addressed to a family with young kids (under 18), the outer envelope is reserved for their parents' names. You should include each child by name on the inner envelope. For girls under 18, you can use "Miss" if you'd like. Boys don't need a title until they're 16—then they can be addressed as "Mr."

    Note: If you don't include each child's name, you're implying that children are not invited. That said, don't be surprised if some guests still mistakenly assume their kids are welcome. If you're concerned this will happen with your guests, ask your immediate family and wedding party to help spread the word that the wedding will be adults only and add the message to your wedding website. You may still have to follow up with guests who don't get the message via phone to gently explain the situation.

    Example

    • On the outer envelope:

    Mr. and Mrs. Michael Abraham

    • On the inner envelope:

    Mr. and Mrs. Michael Abraham

    Daniel, Jeffrey, Miss Brittany and Mx. Kelly

    How to Address Wedding Invitations to Children 18+

    If you're inviting a family that includes children who are 18 or older, they should each receive their own invitations (unless they're living at home with their parents). You don't need to use titles, but you can if you'd like. Just be sure that you're using the correct identifiers for the guests.

    Example

    • On the outer envelope:

    Ms. Audrey Abraham

    • On the inner envelope:

    Ms. Abraham

    How to Address a Wedding Invitation to a Married Couple

    If you're inviting a married couple, put their names on the same line. You're free to forgo titles and list the names separately (as shown below in example two). If they have different last names, list the person you're closest with first. If you're equally close with them, go in alphabetical order. Or, if one person has taken the other person's name, you can address the invitation to reflect that (shown below in example one).

    Example One: Same Last Name

    • On the outer envelope:

    Mr. John and Mrs. Samantha Rivera

    Or

    Mr. and Mrs. John Rivera

    • On the inner envelope:

    Mr. and Mrs. Rivera

    Or

    John and Samantha

    Example Two: Different Last Names

    • On the outer envelope:

    Ms. Celine Elgin and Ms. Jacqueline Purcell

    Or

    Celine Elgin and Jacqueline Purcell

    • On the inner envelope:

    Ms. Elgin and Ms. Purcell

    Or

    Celine and Jacqueline

    How to Address a Wedding Invitation to an Unmarried Couple

    If you're wondering how to address invitations to an unmarried couple living together, it's slightly different to the envelope format for a married couple. Both names should still be included on the envelopes, but in this case, each name gets its own line. Again, list the person you're closest with first or go by alphabetical order if you're equally close to both guests.

    Example

    • On the outer envelope:

    Mr. Aaron Triguiero

    Mr. Gabriel Reyes

    • On the inner envelope:

    Mr. Triguiero

    Mr. Reyes

    How to Address Wedding Invitations to Those With Distinguished Titles

    If a guest has a distinguished title (think: doctors, lawyers, judges or military personnel), it's proper etiquette to address them by that title on the wedding invitation envelope. Sending the invitation to a couple? List the guest with a professional title first, or if both guests have special titles of equal rank, you can list their names in alphabetical order. Here's what to write on a wedding envelope that includes a doctor, military professional, lawyer or judge.

    Example One: Doctors

    • On the outer envelope:

    Dr. Anne Barker and Mr. Peter Underwood

    If the doctor uses their partner's name socially:

    Dr. Anne and Mr. Peter Underwood

    If both parties are doctors, address the outer envelope:

    Doctors Anne and Peter Underwood

    • On the inner envelope:

    Dr. Barker and Mr. Underwood

    Or

    The Doctors Underwood

    Example Two: Military Personnel

    • On the outer envelope:

    Lieutenant Jonathan Kelly, US Navy and Mrs. Jane Kelly

    If they both have military titles:

    Captains Jane and Jonathan Kelly, US Navy

    • On the inner envelope:

    Lieutenant Kelly, US Navy and Mrs. Kelly

    Or

    The Captains Kelly

    Example Three: Lawyers

    • On the outer envelope:

    Michelle Brown, Esq. and Mr. John Brown

    If both parties are attorneys:

    Michelle Brown, Esq. and John Brown, Esq.

    • On the inner envelope:

    Mr. and Mrs. Brown

    Example Four: Judges

    • On the outer envelope:

    The Honorable Gina Rodriguez and Mx. Alice Rodriguez

    • On the inner envelope:

    Judge Rodriguez and Mx. Rodriguez

    Addressing Wedding Invitations: FAQs

    Still unsure about the best way to address your wedding invitation envelopes? We're answering the biggest FAQs here, including how to order your guests' names and what to do if you're only using one envelope.

    How do you address wedding invitations with one envelope?

    We've covered how to address inner and outer wedding envelopes together, but what do you do if you're only sending one envelope? If that's the case, all invited parties should be clearly stated. This includes guests that are typically only listed on the inner envelope, such as plus-ones and kids. If you're short on space, you can replace children's individual names with the words "and Family" or simply opt for "The Abraham Family."

    Do you have to address your wedding invites by hand?

    Individually addressing your wedding invitations by hand is a nice touch, but it's not necessary. Assembling invites is a time-consuming process on its own, so we totally understand if you want to print guest address labels at home or buy pre-printed envelopes with your stationery. Another way to neatly address wedding invitations without a fuss? You could hire a local calligrapher to do it for you.

    Does The Knot Invitations offer envelope addressing?

    If you're getting your stationery from The Knot Invitations, you can purchase matching envelopes conveniently printed with guests' names and addresses. Simply add printed envelopes to your order, use our handy template to fill out your guest list information and send it back to the team. You'll get a digital proof of all the envelopes before they're printed so you can double-check the information and make any necessary changes. Addressing wedding invitations has never been easier!

    How should you order guests' names on wedding invitation envelopes?

    Determining whose name to list first when addressing wedding invitations is an age-old etiquette question. Nowadays, there's no hard and fast rule and you definitely don't have to make any decisions based on gender. Some couples choose to list the person they're closest with first followed by that person's partner, and others opt for alphabetical order. Ultimately it's up to you if you want to follow one (or none) of these guidelines. The only exception is when there are distinguished titles involved. In this case, the person with the highest-ranking title should be named first.

    Where do you put guests' names on wedding invitations?

    Based on standard wedding invitation wording, guests' names are not written on the actual invitations. You are only expected to address your loved ones by name on outer and inner envelopes. That way, you don't need to print specific invites for every household that you're sending them to.

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