Envelope Addressing Etiquette

You've picked out your wedding invitations, you've finalized your guest list, and now it's time to think about addressing your envelopes. I provide calligraphy and envelope printing for my invitation clients, but before they send me their lists, I ask them to double-check every name and address to make sure they are correctly formatted.

There are all kinds of rules when it comes to the proper way to address an envelope for a formal invitation, and they vary based a guest's marital status, title, or living situation. There are also rules about how to format the addresses themselves to give your envelope the formality deserving of a wedding invitation. To avoid offending your guests, and to help clarify who is being invited to your wedding, make sure you adhere to the guidelines below. I've included two parts for your reference: first, a list of address formatting tips, and second, a list of proper etiquette for addressing your guests.

Note: these rules apply mainly to formal invitations, but you can apply them to your Save the Dates if you prefer to convey a more formal tone from the start.

address formatting envelope etiquette emily rose ink

IF YOU KNOW THE FULL NAME OF THE GUEST, YOU SHOULD INCLUDE IT ON THE LINE BELOW YOUR INVITEE'S NAME

*THE MORE TRADITIONAL OPTION WOULD BE TO OMIT THE "AND," LISTING THEM ON SEPARATE LINES (WOMAN ON 1ST LINE & MAN ON 2ND). FOR GAY & LESBIAN COUPLES LIVING TOGETHER, THE SAME OPTON APPLIES, BUT THEY COULD BE LISTED ALPHABETICALLY OR IN ORDER OF PREFERENCE

IF YOU KNOW THE NAME OF YOUR INVITEE'S GUEST, YOU SHOULD INCLUDE IT ON THE LINE BELOW YOUR INVITEE'S NAME

*THIS OPTION SHOULD BE USED IF THE WOMAN WILL BE TAKING HER HUSBAND'S LAST NAME. IF SHE WILL BE KEEPING HER MAIDEN NAME, THE COUPLE CAN BE LISTED AS "THE FUTURE MR. JOHN LEE AND MRS. EMILY POST"

*KIDS OVER 18 GET THEIR OWN INVITATIONS, EVEN IF THEY ARE LIVING AT HOME.

*LIST NAMES ALPHABETICALLY

                        *LIST NAMES ALPHABETICALLY

*KIDS OVER 18 GET THEIR OWN INVITATIONS, EVEN IF THEY ARE LIVING AT HOME.

 *LIST NAMES ALPHABETICALLY

                        *LIST NAMES ALPHABETICALLY

* ALTERNATIVELY, YOU COULD WRITE "DOCTOR SEAN HYLAND AND DOCTOR RACHEL HYLAND" (MAN FIRST)

* NOTE THAT THE WOMAN'S NAME COMES FIRST

ANOTHER ACCEPTABLE OPTION IS TO ADDRESS THE WIDOW BY HER FORMAL MARRIED TITLE - "MRS. JOHN ABRAHAM, FOR EXAMPLE. HOWEVER, IT IS BEST TO ASK THE GUEST'S PREFERECE,  AND I WOULD DEFAULT TO THE EXAMPLE ABOVE.

IT IS ACCEPTABLE TO USE EITHER "MRS." OR "MS" TO ADDRESS A DIVORCED WOMAN.