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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When To Send Wedding Invitations

SAVE THE DATES

You can send Save the Dates  at 4-8 months before the wedding. The general rule is the sooner you can send them, the better. Save the Dates are a considerate touch if you're planning a destination wedding.

 

 

 

 

BRIDAL SHOWER INVITES

The maid of honour is responsible in this case, as they're hosting the event - even still, it's good to ensure that everyone is informed 6-8 weeks before the shower.

 

 

 

 

 

STAG/HEN PARTY INVITES

It's considered polite to give a month's heads up before throwing a stag or hen party.

 

 

 

 

 

REHEARSAL DINNER INVITES

3-6 weeks notice should give people time to clear their schedule.

 

 

 

 

 

WEDDING INVITATIONS

Etiquette dictates that you send wedding invitations at least 6-8 weeks prior. Be considerate - those who live out-of-town may need to make travel arrangements. If yours is a destination wedding, then be sure to send the invitations at least 3 months in advance.

 

 

 

 

RSVPS

The sooner you send out the invitations, the sooner you get your RSVPs. It's useful to set a deadline for RSVPS - you should have all the responses collected 2-3 weeks before the Big Day. Caterers generally require a finalized headcount a week before the wedding, and stationery providers require finalized names for the place cards. Collecting responses early alleviates stress for all involved.

 

 

THANK YOU CARDS

The general rule is to send these as soon as possible, but sending gratitude cards within 2-3 weeks is considered polite.

How to word Wedding Invitations

Wedding invitations are more than curly script and fancy paper - they're a tool for efficiently delivering information to your guests. Therefore, the challenge is to keep your wording elegant, while still efficient and informative- and luckily, there are formulas already in place for you.

slim modern invite

1. HOST LINE

A description of who is hosting the event (ex. Together with their families)

2. NAMES

The names of the couple (ex. Jane Does & John Smith)

3. INVITATION

The action line (ex. Invite you to celebrate their marriage)

4. INFORMATION

The time of wedding, the date, the location's name, and the city and state/province, with each of these on a different line and fully spelled out - for instance, instead of 2, write two.

(ex. Saturday June 6th, 2015/ At  Eight O'Clock in the evening/ St Michael's Cathedral/ 200 Church street/ Toronto, Ontario)

5. RECEPTION

A description of the after-party (ex. Dinner and dancing to follow)

Isabelle Collection - Anista Designs

Natalie Collection  - Anista Designs

Natalie Collection - Anista Designs

traditional invite

1. NAMES

Proper names of those hosting the wedding (ex. Mr. and Mrs. Jones)

2. INVITATION

Request line (ex. request the honour of your presence)

3. EVENT

Description of the event taking place (ex. at the marriage of their daughter)

4. BRIDE NAME

The bride's full name (ex. Jane Anne Doe)

5. GROOM NAME

To the groom's full name (ex. to Jone Sam Smith)

6. INFORMATION

The time of wedding, the date, the location's name, and the city and state/province, with each of these on a different line and fully spelled out - for instance, instead of 2, write two. 

(ex. at 11 o'clock in the morning/ St. Michael's Cathedral/ 200 Church street/ Toronto, Ontario)

7. RECEPTION

A description of the after-party (ex. Reception to follow)

Simone Collection - Anista Designs

Sarah Collection - Anista Designs

Etiquette for traditional invitations can be elaborate - examples of traditional wording for all situations can be found here.

This guide is also helpful if you'd like traditional wording but find yourself in a non-traditional situation (i.e. divorced or re-married parents).