Invitation Addressing Etiquette + Free Download

Invitation Design by  Papertree Studio , Photography by  Kay Kroshus , Calligraphy by Caitlin Jane Calligraphy

Invitation Design by Papertree Studio, Photography by Kay Kroshus, Calligraphy by Caitlin Jane Calligraphy

I get it.

It’s time to send out those wedding invitations and you aren’t sure if you should address your Uncle Bill as “William” even though you’ve never called him that.  You’ve also got lawyers, doctors, and military members on your guest list and you aren’t sure of the proper titles to use for them.  Oh, and not to mention, you’re also inviting your married cousin who decided to keep her maiden name.

Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.

Below are some general rules of thumb you may find helpful when it comes to addressing your wedding invitations, but before we dive in, let’s quick touch on the difference between inner and outer envelopes.  Back in the old days when mail was delivered by hand, envelopes would get pretty dirty en route to their destination, so that’s where the idea of inner and outer envelopes was born.  The outer envelope would be the main mailing envelope, but inside would be a pristine, fancy envelope, and then inside the inner envelope lays the invitation.  Swanky, right?

Tradition has since held and invitations for formal events are often sent with both inner and outer envelopes.  The outer envelope contains the guest’s address and the inner envelope states exactly who is invited to the event.  This enables the host to be very clear about who is invited, and by omission, who is not.

If inner envelopes aren’t being used, then the names of all invited guests are written on the outer envelope.  It’s 2018, so I always tell brides to buck tradition as they see fit.  If the concept of inner and outer envelopes just doesn’t bode well for your wedding, then by all means do what fits you best!

Now that we’ve got that covered, here are some helpful hints regarding envelope etiquette for your invitations.

1.     Always use your guest's full names

2.     Avoid writing “and family” or “and children” and instead spell out the guest's names

3.     Write out the words “street,” “boulevard,” “avenue,” “drive,” “road,” etc.

4.     Spell out all state names

5.     Do not use symbols. Spell out the word “and” (an exception being if your envelopes are too small to fit everything)

6.     Guests over the age of 18 should receive their own invitation, even if they live at home with their parents

7.     Omit names of children altogether if you are planning an adult-only reception

If you're still feeling stuck and want to see some specific examples you can

Click here to download my FREE guide on envelope addressing etiquette!