Ask the Expert: Common Questions About Addressing Wedding Invitations

by Ryan Conner | September 17, 2014

Thanks to Lauren Essl from Blue Eye Brown Eye for answering this week’s reader question:

What are the proper ways to address a wedding invitation?
As a calligrapher, I’m often asked about correct wedding etiquette when it comes to addressing invitations. There are infinite resources online that go over the guidelines to addressing envelopes, but for me, there is not greater resource than Crane & Co.’s The Wedding Blue Book. It’s my survival guide to all things wedding invitations.

Wedding invitations often come with both an outer and inner envelope. The outer envelope is used to address the couple, or single friend/family member that is invited to the wedding. The inner envelope is used to indicate who exactly is included in the invitation. Here, you’ll include children’s names (under 18 years old) that are invited to the wedding, or indicate “and guest” if this applies.

Many modern suites do not include an inner envelope. If this is the case, you will use the outer envelope to address all guest names that are invited. “And family” is often used in such case to save room on the envelope. You’ll do this only in the case that there is no inner envelope.

By using the formulas below to commonly asked questions, you will make your calligrapher very happy!


A MARRIED COUPLE

OUTER ENVELOPE:

Mr. and Mrs. Travis Essl (for formal affairs, a middle name is often included)
3730 Modlin Avenue (always spell out words in your address, no abbreviations)
Dallas, Texas
75208

If you opt for an inner envelope, you will drop the first and/or middle name of the male and address as:

Mr. and Mrs. Essl

*Note: if you are inviting children to your wedding, you will indicate this on the inner envelope. For example, you would write:

Mr. and Mrs. Essl
Olive and Matilda (on second line)

If you do not have an inner envelope, brides will often indicate “and family” on the outer envelope. If no children are invited, you will simply leave as the couple’s name on the inner envelope: Mr. and Mrs. Essl. Children of couples that are over 18 years old should receive their own individual invitation.


AN UNMARRIED COUPLE LIVING TOGETHER

OUTER ENVELOPE:

Ms. Lauren Smith (It is often suggested to place the female’s name first)
Mr. Travis Essl (Second name of couple will go on the second line)
3800 Dorothy Lane
Apartment 212 (Always place the apartment or unit number on a separate line)
Dallas, Texas
75204

INNER ENVELOPE:

Ms. Smith
Mr. Essl

If a couple is not living together, you may address the invitation as indicated above to acknowledge the couple. Or, you decide to address to the guest only on the outer, and include “and guest” or the partner’s name on the inner envelope.


HOW TO ADDRESS DOCTORS

When addressing Doctors, you will always spell out Doctor and follow this formula:
If the male is married and is a doctor:

Doctor and Mrs. Travis Essl
3600 Maple Avenue
Dallas, Texas
75252

INNER ENVELOPE:
Doctor and Mrs. Essl

If the female is married and a doctor:

Doctor Lauren Essl and Mr. Travis Essl
3600 Maple Avenue
Dallas, Texas
75252

INNER ENVELOPE:
Doctor Essl
and Mrs. Essl


SINGLE GUESTS
OUTER ENVELOPE:

Miss (or) Ms. Lauren Essl
9002 Preston Park Lane
Dallas, Texas
75252

INNER ENVELOPE:
Miss (or) Ms. Essl

If a guest is invited:
Miss (or) Ms. Essl and Guest

When inviting single guests, it is nice to include an “and guest” on their invitation, especially when you feel they might not know many people in attendance. Otherwise, this option is up to the discretion of the bride and groom. In my experience, I have addressed envelope where all single guests had an “an guest” and where only some included an “and guest.”

One Response to “Ask the Expert: Common Questions About Addressing Wedding Invitations”

  • Chas | May 25, 2017 | Reply

    How do I address the mailing envelope for an Alderman and his wife?