How to Address a Wedding Invitation the Right Way

Use these examples to address your envelopes correctly.
cathryn haight the knot
by
Cathryn Haight
cathryn haight the knot
Cathryn Haight
Commerce Editor
  • Cathryn is a commerce editor at The Knot, where she focuses on all things gifting and stationery
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, Cathryn spent years as a food editor
  • Cathryn holds a bachelor's degree from Trinity College and a certificate in publishing from Columbia University
Updated Oct 02, 2023

So you've got the stationery of your dreams in hand, collected mailing information from guests and have a fat stack of fancy envelopes sitting on your coffee table. Now you're wondering how to address wedding invitations. Ensuring your invites are addressed properly is the first step in making your guests feel welcome on your big day. With that in mind, there are a few different scenarios you should be aware of that'll change how you write guests' names on your envelopes. For example, an invite addressed to a married couple differs from one addressed to an unmarried couple. To help you stay on top of the right envelope etiquette, we're sharing the most common addressing examples below as well as answers to the questions we get all the time.

A few last pieces of advice: Give yourself enough time to get the address list in order so you can send your invitations out on time (and have enough of a buffer period to double-check any funky details before you hit the post office). Once you have all the info you need, head over to The Knot Invitations to check out our handy guest addressing service. Ready to get to the examples? Scroll down to learn how to properly address wedding invitation envelopes.

In this article:

    THE KNOT ORIGINAL VIDEO

    Addressing Wedding Invitations: Examples

    There are a few simple guidelines to follow when it comes to addressing a wedding invitation, whether it's a bid to a formal affair or to a backyard bash. Traditionally, the inner and outer envelopes follow different etiquette rules. The outer envelope should be formal—our favorite option for this is to write out the recipient's or both recipients' full name(s), including their personal title(s). This format is foolproof, since it works for couples of all genders who may or may not share a surname, yet still feels somewhat traditional.

    Though, if you feel personal titles might feel restrictive and exclusive for your guests list (especially if some don't identify as Mrs., Ms., Miss or Mr.), feel free to forgo them in favor of this more modern way to address wedding invitations: just using first and last names. Also note that Mx., a gender-neutral personal title, might be how a non-binary guest identifies. Keep this info in mind, but always double-check every attendee's preferred personal titles beforehand, if you plan on incorporating them into your wedding invitations.

    Inner envelopes are more informal, giving you the option to leave out one or two elements of the formal name format of the outer envelope. Go with your gut here—if using personal titles and last names together feels right, that works. If you're going for casual vibes and would like to use first names only, you have our blessing.

    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 thing's first, you should always use the person's preferred title. If you're not sure, play it safe by forgoing a title altogether, as aforementioned in the previous section. For invitations addressed with a guest included, it's best to mention both people by name, if you have that info. 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 a young child or children (under 18), the outer envelope is reserved for the name(s) of the parent(s) or guardian(s). You should list 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 about some folks not taking the hint, ask your immediate family and wedding party to help spread the word that the wedding will be adults only, and also add the message to your wedding website. You may still have to give guests who didn't get the memo a call to kindly 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, then you can follow the family format in the last section). You don't need to use titles, but you can if you'd like. Just be sure that you're using the correct identifiers.

    Example:
    On the outer envelope:
    Ms. Audrey Abraham

    On the inner envelope:
    Ms. Abraham

    Modern Geometric Invitation Design, Pinks, Green, Brown, Fall Wedding
    Photo: Allen Tsai Photography
    ,
    Stationery: Minted

    How to Address a Wedding Invitation to a Married Couple

    If you're inviting a married couple, put their names on the same line. Other than that, there aren't too many binding rules these days. You're free to forgo titles and list their 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 an invitation to an unmarried couple living together, it's a little different from 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 surname socially:
      Dr. Anne and Mr. Peter Underwood

    • If both parties are doctors:
      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: FAQ

    Still unsure about the best way to address your wedding invitation envelopes? We're answering your burning questions 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?

    If you're only sending one envelope (an outer envelope) with your wedding invitations, all invited parties should be clearly stated on the front. 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 something like "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 preprinted envelopes along with your stationery. Another way to neatly address wedding invitations without a fuss: hire a local calligrapher to do it for you.

    Does The Knot Invitations offer envelope addressing?

    If you're getting your wedding stationery from The Knot, you can absolutely take advantage of The Knot guest addressing service when you purchase your matching envelopes. Simply add a bunch of 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. You're welcome in advance for saving you the hand cramps.

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

    When it comes to the order of guests' names on a wedding invitation envelope, some couples choose to list the person they're closest with first followed by that person's partner, while 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 higher-ranking title should be named first. Just remember: You definitely don't have to make any decisions about name order based on gender in today's society.

    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 the outer and inner envelopes. That way, you don't need to print specific invites for every household you're sending them to.

    Wedding Invitations from Minted
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