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Wedding Invitation Address Etiquette

Wedding Invitation Address EtiquetteWhen preparing to address our wedding invitations, I looked up the prevailing wedding invitation address etiquette. It’s appalling in it’s complexity. If you ask me, the purpose of the address — getting the invitation to it’s intended destination — has been entirely disregarded in all the stuffy hoopla.

Below, I will list all the “rules” for addressing a wedding envelope. But first, I’ll let you know that we had about a dozen correctly addressed and clearly printed invitations returned. In addition, we had at least as many that were not delivered. (It’s rather difficult to gather this information, since only those that already know about the event and know they were to have been invited will ever tell you they weren’t actually invited.)

Add to that the fact that at least one invitation took 26 days to get to Orem, a city that shares a border with Lindon (where we live). That will be the last time I hand-deliver anything important to the Pleasant Grove Utah Post Office. Given the very poor delivery all around, it seems that the workers there did not handle the mailing properly.

Here are the rules for wedding invitation address etiquette. Again, I go to the ultimate etiquette source, Emily Post. You’ll have to decide which wedding etiquette to follow and which to ignore.

General Wedding Invitation Address Etiquette

No abbreviations or initials are used (except titles)

Naming conventions are as follows:

Addressing a Man (easy)

Mr. Bart Bartholomew

Addressing a Woman (mind-blowingly complex)

When there are multiple options, you should you the option that the recipient prefers. If you don’t know, call all 500 of them and ask. If you can’t reach them, use your crystal ball to divine the correct form. Good luck.

Maiden nameMs. Penelope Johnson
Miss Penelope Johnson
Married, keeping maiden nameMs. Penelope Johnson
Married, using husband's name sociallyMrs. Bart Bartholomew
Mrs. Penelope Bartholomew
Ms. Penelope Bartholomew
Separated, not divorcedMrs. Bart Bartholomew
Mrs. Penelope Bartholomew
Ms. Penelope Bartholomew
DivorcedMrs. Penelope Bartholomew
Ms. Penelope Bartholomew
Ms. Penelope Johnson
WidowedMrs. Bart Bartholomew
Mrs. Penelope Bartholomew
Ms. Penelope Bartholomew

Addressing a Couple (even more complicated than ever)

Married, she uses husband's name sociallyMr. and Mrs. Bart Bartholomew
Married, she prefers Ms.Mr. Bart Bartholomew and Ms. Penelope Bartholomew
Ms. Penelope Bartholomew and Mr. Bart Bartholomew
Married, she uses maiden nameMr. Bart Bartholomew and Ms. Penelope Johnson
Ms. Penelope Johnson and Mr. Bart Bartholomew
Unmarried, living togetherMr. Bart Bartholomew
Ms. Penelope Johnson
Woman outranks husband (elected/military)The Honorable Penelope Bartholomew and Mr. Bart Bartholomew
Woman outranks husband (professional/degree)Dr. Penelope Bartholomew and Mr. Bart Bartholomew
Both doctors (PhD or medical) and use same last nameThe Doctors Bartholomew
Drs. Penelope and Bart Bartholomew
Drs. Bart and Penelope Bartholomew
Dr. Bart Bartholomew and Dr. Penelope Bartholomew
Dr. Penelope Bartholomew and Dr. Bart Bartholomew
Both doctors (PhD or medical), she uses maiden nameDr. Penelope Johnson and Dr. Bart Bartholomew
Dr. Bart Bartholomew and Dr. Penelope Johnson

Addressing a Double Envelope Wedding Invitation

Our invitation had two envelopes. I rarely receive these anymore, but they are still considered the most formal. And, of course, they have their own set of rules. Yipee!

Addressing the Inner Envelope for a Wedding Invitation

Include the following:

  1. Title and last name of adult guests, as per the rules above
  2. If children are invited, their first names are listed on the line below their parents’ names

Addressing the Outer Envelope for a Wedding Invitation

Include the following:

  1. Title and full name of adult guests, as per the rules above
  2. Street address
  3. City, state, zip code
  4. Country, if applicable

Addressing a Single Envelope Wedding Invitation

Include the following:

  1. Title and full name of adult guests, as per the rules above
  2. Names of any children invited
  3. Street address
  4. City, state, zip code
  5. Country, if applicable

More Wedding Invitation Etiquette

There are lots of rules regarding the invitations themselves. There are more rules for stuffing the envelopes. You don’t want to ever incorrectly stuff the envelope. Because that would be crazy and rude. And people will probably throw your invitation right in the trash. Now that you’ve addressed correctly, make sure to look up correct stuffing procedures. And stamping.

And don’t take your correctly addressed, stuffed, and stamped envelopes to the Pleasant Grove Post Office. You’ll be sorry.

{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Abbey May 12, 2011, 4:42 pm

    It’s tough being a woman! I always address a woman by Ms., regardless of her stature (unless she’s of course a doctor or in the military as you’ve stated…) Who would have thought that such a fun day would have to be so formal? This is just more reason for me to have a small wedding 🙂

  • jasmine May 13, 2011, 10:04 am

    Very interesting! And….OMG….I had no idea it was so involved! 😀 No matter, I AM glad to have read this article BEFORE I get married. Thanks! 🙂
    jasmine recently posted…2nd Anniversary GiftsMy Profile

  • jan July 28, 2011, 2:00 am

    I know how complicated the choosing of perfect wedding invitation. We have to consider the wedding theme, color combination, fonts style, design and other minute details.

    Been this dilemma good though the wedding invitation maker knows everything about wedding invitation.

  • Kathy July 31, 2011, 12:52 pm

    When I was married in the ’80s, one of the treasured wedding gifts I received was Emily Post’s three-inch book on etiquette (to this day I still wonder if this was hint for a wedding faux paux I may have committed or if it was just a very thoughtful gift.) I learned from that book that Ms. Post was a woman who thought about and wrote for the times. I sometimes wonder what she would tell us today, if she were to tackle the new tacky…FaceBook wedding evites. The rising generation amazes us daily with their technological efficiencies, but I still prefer the anticipation of opening a pretty invitation, touching the high quality stationery, seeing the handsome couple’s happy faces staring up at me, and doing it all over again in the weeks preceeding their union. Of course, we don’t hold it against anyone to send an evite because we love them all the same, but I still wonder what Emily would think today.

  • EPD August 20, 2011, 4:30 am

    Very informative at least for me…….because i am also in the same filed Wedding Planning and Event Management
    EPD recently posted…Who We AreMy Profile

  • Wedding Reception Games October 1, 2011, 3:59 pm

    There are so many so called “rules” for specific etiquette for weddings and it can be so difficult to make sure that your wedding uses the correct etiquette. Sometimes I feel you can be a bit too perfect. Weddings are meant to be a happy, special occasion, so it has to have the bride and grooms personality shown in it!

    These are great tips to help with wedding invitation etiquette though, and will come in very useful for couples wanting to get it just right.

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