How to Address Wedding Invitations

Check out our guide to addressing wedding invitation envelopes correctly—according to etiquette.
by Amanda Black
Calligraphed wedding-invitation envelopes
photo by Mikkel Paige Photography

Determining the appropriate way to address your wedding invitation envelopes can be a tricky process. As a rule of thumb, the outer envelope of your wedding invitation should be more formal, with titles and full names, while the inner envelope is more informal, leaving out first names or titles and last names (if you're very close to the guest). Find even more ways to address your wedding invitation envelopes below.

A Married Couple

On the outer envelope:

Mr. John and Mrs. Samantha Holt

Or

Mr. and Mrs. John Holt

On the inner envelope:

Mr. and Mrs. Holt

Or

John and Samantha

A Married Couple With Different Last Names

List the person you're closest with first on the outer and inner envelopes. If you're similarly acquainted with both, list them in alphabetical order.

On the outer envelope:

Mr. John Holt and Mrs. Samantha Thuente

On the inner envelope:

Mr. Holt and Mrs. Thuente

Or

John and Samantha

An Unmarried Couple Living Together

As with a married couple, both names should be included on the envelopes, but in this case, each name gets its own line.

On the outer envelope:

Mr. Joseph Hirsch
Ms. Rebecca Strecker

On the inner envelope:

Mr. Hirsch
Ms. Strecker

A Same-Sex Couple

Use the same rules you would for any other unmarried or married couple. If the couple is married, list the names on the same line.

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

A Married Woman Doctor or Two Married Doctors

If a woman uses her maiden name professionally and socially, the envelopes should read:

On the outer envelope:

Dr. Anne Barker and Mr. Peter Underwood

If she uses her husband's name socially:

Dr. Anne and Mr. Peter Underwood

If both parties are doctors, you can address the outer envelope:

Doctors Anne and Peter Underwood

On the inner envelope:

Dr. Barker and Mr. Underwood

Or

The Doctors Underwood

Those With Other Distinguished Titles

Apply the same rules you use for doctors for military personnel, judges, reverends and so on. If both titles don't fit on one line, indent the second line.

On the outer envelope:

The Honorable Jane Kelly and Lieutenant Jonathan Kelly, US Navy

Or if they're both captains in the military: 

Captains Jane and Jonathan Kelly, US Navy

On the inner envelope:

Judge Kelly and Lieutenant Kelly, US Navy

Or

The Captains Kelly

Children and Families

Younger guests can be included on the inner envelope of their parents' invitation by their name(s)—they should not be addressed on the outer envelope. For girls under 18, use “Miss." Boys don't need a title until they're 18—then they're addressed as "Mr."

Mr. and Mrs. Michael Abraham
Daniel, Jeffrey, Miss Brittany and Miss Kelly

Children 18 and Older

They should receive their own invitations (unless they're living at home with their parents).

On the outer envelope:

Ms. Audrey Abraham

Or

Mr. Jack Abraham

On the inner envelope:

Ms. Abraham

Or

Mr. Abraham

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 children are welcome. If you're concerned this will happen with your guests, ask your immediate family and bridal party to help spread the word that the wedding will be adults only and add the message to your wedding website. In the end, you may have to follow up with guests who don't get the message via phone to gently explain the situation.

 

Find stationery vendors in your area here.
Learn the basics on wedding calligraphy.
Check out the prettiest wedding invitations.

Up Next
White and gold wedding invitation
10 Most Common Wedding Invitation Mistakes Couples Make
We went straight to the pros to find out the most common wedding stationery mishaps. Read up!
by The Knot