How to Address Invitations

General Tips

  •  Use the guest list to ensure proper spelling
  • Ensure you understand the relationships of the guests you invite (are they married? Do they live together?)
  • Determine which guests have titles (ex. Police officer, doctor, clergy)
  • Write the name of married couples on the same line. If they are unmarried, you may choose to write them on separate lines
  • Platonic roommates traditionally receive separate invitations

Inside Envelopes

Inside envelopes are a wedding tradition from back in the day, when primitive post offices systematically sullied all that passed through them.

The inside envelope isn’t vestigial – it’s still a useful way of letting people know who is and isn’t invited, and whether they’re free to bring guest. 

Without further adieu:

  • Write the names in the middle of the envelope
  •  Last names only, with formal titles
  • Reference list for how to address those with titles
  • Only use titles if it is comfortable for the recipient – if they have a PhD, but do not use the title Doctor, than do not address them as such.
  •  If one person has a title (ex. Doctor), it is customary to list them first
  • If both people in a couple have titles, then it’s customary to list the women first (for example, Officer and Mr. Sarah and John Smith). For same sex couples, the order can simply be alphabetical.
  • For unmarried couples living in the same home, or for couples with different last names, it is considered correct to order them alphabetically
  • Children’s names go below their parent’s.
  • For multiple children, order them by age, with the youngest last and the oldest first
  • Children under the age of 18 may be addressed as Master and Miss
  • Children over the age of 18 merit their own individual invitations.
  • If guests are acceptable, simply add “and guest” after the primary invitee’s name
  • For example, if you want to invite a couple and their kids, plus a guest, it could read Mr. and Mrs. Johnson / Sara and Ross/ and Guest
  • If you’d like to specify the guest invited, either issue a separate invitation to the guest (if they live separately) or send the primary invitee the invitation, with the secondary person’s name following theirs (if they live together). For example, Ms. Cane and Mr. Lane

Outside Envelopes

  • This is where you put the mailing address and full names
  • As with normal letters, the address goes below the names.
  •  Include your return address 
  • Full formal names and titles, with no abbreviations or nicknames (Jr. and Sr. are an exception to this)
  • You do not need to include “and guest” or list the children– that is for the inside envelope. 
  • No abbreviations in the street address. For instance, write Street instead of st., Boulevard instead of blvd, and Post Office Box instead of PO box.
  • Write the street number in figures (i.e. 345 Rock Road), rather than spelling it out
  • zip codes go on the same line with the city and province/state
  • Do not abbreviate province or state names
  • Do not use symbols (i.e. no ampersands – spell out the word ‘and’)

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