How to Address Your Wedding Invitation Envelopes – Part 1

Envelope Header

As a stationery designer, I am always here to answer questions and educate brides on invitation etiquette. I’m hoping that this post helps answer the biggest questions about how to properly address your wedding invitation envelopes so that when the time comes to get your guest list together, things will be easy-peasy! I’ll go over address and state abbreviations, writing out your guest’s names, and how to properly use inner envelopes if you choose to incorporate those into your wedding suite.

Wedding invitation address on envelopes by Paper Hearts InvitationsGuest address on envelopes


 

ADDRESS ABBREVIATIONS

When it comes to getting your guest list together, formality is key. Wedding invitations are not just any old invitation, they are your wedding invitation, and probably the most expensive invitation you will ever mail. Even if it is a backyard wedding, you should still write out the address the properly: no abbreviations on the address should be printed on the envelopes. All words such as “Street,” or “Boulevard” are spelled out. State names may be written in full or use the two-letter postal code abbreviation.

Here’s a list of the most common abbreviations used in addresses and the correct way to spell them out.

Street Abbreviations

US STATE ABBREVIATIONS

State names may be written in full or use the two-letter postal code abbreviation.

State Abbreviations


 

PROPER NAMES

To address the envelopes using proper etiquette, you want to use your guest’s proper names on the envelopes. Example: “Bob” should be written out as “Robert”, and “Patty” should be written out at “Patricia”. Unless your guest’s never go by their formal names, you should try to use the formal name over any nick names or shortened names.

 


 

HOW TO LIST NAMES ON THE ENVELOPES

The etiquette guide below is from The Emily Post Institute

  • The outer envelope is addressed conventionally using titles, first, (middle), and last names. Middle initials aren’t used, so either write out the middle name or omit it.
  • Titles are abbreviated (Mr., Mrs., Ms., Dr.)

To roommates residing at the same address
An invitation to two people residing at the same address is addressed with both names connected by “and.” Use one or two lines, depending on length.

Example: Mr. Timothy Harris and Miss Stephanie Jones

To an unmarried couple living together

An invitation to an unmarried couple living together is addressed with both names connected by “and.” Use one or two lines, depending on length.

Example: Mr. Robert McCarthy and Miss Katherine Wilson

To a married couple
Invitations are always addressed to both members of a married couple, even though the bride may know only one or knows that only one will attend.

Example: Mr. and Mrs. Robert Smith
or
Mr. Robert and Mrs. Kimberly Smith

To a married woman doctor or two married doctors
If the woman uses her husband’s name socially, the address is “Dr. Barbara and Mr. James Werner.” If she uses her maiden name both professionally and socially, it is “Dr. Barbara Hanson and Mr. James Werner.” If the husband is also a doctor, the address is either “The Drs. Werner” or “Drs. Barbara and Robert Werner.”

How to add “and Guest”
Some believe that it is impersonal to address the outer envelope as “Mr. James Smith and Guest,” but I think that it is just fine to include the words “and Guest” on the envelope. I’ll explain below how to use the two envelope method to avoid placing “and Guest” on the outer envelope.

Example: Mr. James Smith and Guest

How to send an invitation to a family
Generally, an invitation to parents and children is addressed to the parents, but you may include “and Family” or list the child’s name under the parent’s names.

Example:

Mr. and Mrs. James Arthur Darling
and Family
or
Mr. and Mrs. James Arthur Darling
Sarah Darling
Adam Darling

 


 

USING INNER AND OUTER ENVELOPES

Some believe that it is impersonal to address the outer envelope as “Mr. James Smith and Guest,” or to list “and Family” under the parents names, so the two envelope system works well. Also, if you are inviting only certain members of a household you can easily list the invited members names on the inner envelope to avoid confusion as to exactly who is invited. Two envelopes, of matching or different colors, are used. The inner envelope is an un-gummed or unsealed envelope that holds the invitation, and then is placed in the outer envelope so that when the flap is lifted, the name(s) of the guest(s) is visible. The outer envelope is the one that is sealed for mailing and has the mailing address on it.

Example Outer: Mr. James Smith
Example Inner: Mr. James Smith and Guest
or
Example Outer: Mr. and Mrs. Angela Holmes
Example Inner: Mr. and Mrs. Angela Holmes, Sarah Holmes, Ashley Holmes

It’s also fine to write familiar names for close family:

Example Outer: Mr. and Mrs. Angela Holmes
Example Inner: Uncle Bill and Aunt Angela

 


 

Thanks for reading, friend! I hope this article helps answer questions you may have about how to go about getting your guest list together. If you ever have any additional questions, please feel free to email me at hello@paperheartsinvitations.com.

In part two (coming soon): I’ll go over different methods of actually getting your guest’s addresses onto the envelopes by explaining different printing and calligraphy methods. Subscribe to my mailing list so you don’t miss it!

 

Allison Paper Hearts Invitations

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