Write out whole names on the center of the envelope. That’s right, the recipient name features prominently on the envelope’s front. Let the guest feel special. You’re choosing them to attend an important even in your life, after all. Leave space below for coupled guests with different last names as well as the sending address.
Spell out full words as often as possible. Guest names are a given, since the only abbreviations you’ll use are ones such as Mr., Mrs., Jr., and Dr. Other words such as “and” are also typically spelled out for the sake of formality. It’ll also give you a wicked hand cramp. As long as you’re consistent, you can get away with shortening and to “&.” No one’s going to call you out on it.
Include a guest option for plus ones. An ordinary address to your dear but unmarried friend is “Miss Clara Oswald.” If you intend on only inviting her, you can leave it at that. Most people bring guests, and you need to show that this is welcome. Write, “Miss Clara Oswald and guest.” The word “guest” is always lowercase. At least you won’t be surprised when Miss Oswald turns up at your wedding with a plus one.
- The word “guest” is only used when you don’t know the guest’s name. If you do know the name, write the name out under the first one. For example, write “Miss Clara Oswald” then “Dr. John Who” under it.
- You could choose to leave the “and guest” for the inner envelope. Leaving it out can make the outer envelope feel more personal.
Address married couples with the same last name together. These are the easiest ones to figure out, as long as no one has a special title like Dr. Those married friends and parents you know are represented as a union like their wedding oath proclaims. The proper address is “Mr. and Mrs. Harry Potter” or “Mr. Harry and Mrs. Ginny Potter.” You’ll probably be wishing you knew more married couples.
- The person whose last name is used on the invitation goes first unless their partner has a professional title, such as Dr. or a military ranking.
- The same rules apply to married same-sex couples that share a last name. If they don’t share a last name, write the full names on separate lines.
Write out the full names for couples that don’t share a last name. Some people don’t assume their partner’s last name. Invalidating that choice or their marriage would be an unpleasant start to your wedding, so take the time to write out both names. The person you are closest to goes first. For example, you’re best friends with Rachel, so you write “Mrs. Rachel Green and Mr. Ross Geller.”When you are equally close to each person, list the names in alphabetical order.
Separate unmarried couples onto different lines. It doesn’t matter if they live together or not. Standard etiquette is to keep the names separate to differentiate them. These stiff old standards have relaxed over time, so you may be able to join the names with the word “and” like you would for married couples. To play it safe, separate the names, order them alphabetically by last name, and write the names out in full.For example, write “Mr. Joffrey Baratheon.” Under it, write “Miss Sansa Stark.”
Order names by professional title rankings. Ranking tops gender, so if your best lady friend is an army colonel, judge, or rocket scientist, you better give her respect. Standard notation for rankings is “Dr. John and Mrs. Who.” If Mrs. Who is the doctor, flip the names. If they’re both doctors, you can write “Drs. John and Clara Who.” The abbreviation for Dr. only needs to be written out in full for medical doctors.Remember to follow the other rules, such as denoting couples with different last names. Change it to “Dr. John Who and Dr. Clara Oswald.”
Send children over 18 a separate invitation. At age 18, children are considered legal adults, at least in the US. It gets tricky when the friend you want to invite is living with their parents. You are free to include them on their parents’ invitation, if you are sending one. You might as well send a separate invitation to avoid the confusion.
- When there are multiple children over 18 living together, list them by seniority. For example, write “Mr. Bill Weasley.” Under it, write “Mr. Charlie Weasley.”
- Good news! You don’t need to list children under 18 on the outer envelope. You may do it by writing “Sansa and Arya” under “Mr. and Mrs. Ned Stark,” but ask yourself if it’s worth the effort.