A Bride's Guide to Addressing

One pound design provides every bride who uses us to design and coordinate their invitation suite with the essential service of helping answer any and all wedding etiquette questions. With each wedding invitation suite that one pound design creates comes a good amount of questions from the bride pertaining to addressing.  The "what if"s and "how about"s pertaining to formal addressing can be enough to drive any bride crazy.    So using the always timeless and wise etiquette expert Emily Post as a guide, today's post is about all of the odds and ends of addressing situations that create questions for most brides.  This partial guide should help alleviate any addressing question that a bride may have.

First of all - the outer envelope is for mailing purposes only and no abbreviations should be used in the address. Also, words such as "Street" and "Avenue" should be spelled out in entirety, as should "Post Office Box."
The address above is incorrectly written because
 it includes abbreviations - PO Box should be
written out in entirety, as well as the state name

The address above is correctly written because all words
are written out completely with no abbreviations
Married Couples: For married couples, the invitation should be addressed to both members of the couple, even though the bride & groom may only know one or know only one can attend.  The husband's first name is always included in the outer envelope's address and it should not be detached from his last name.   Also the husband's formal first name should be used, not a nickname or abbreviation.
The address line above is incorrect because
the husband's first name has been omitted.   
The address line above is incorrect because a
nickname has been used for the husband's name.
Only full, formal names should be used on the outer envelope.
This address line is correct because the husband's
formal first name is included & not abbreviated.

Unmarried couple living together: When a couple that is not married lives together at the same address, the invitation should be addresses to both members, with each member appearing on separate lines and the woman's name listed before the man's.  The formal names, not nicknames, of each member should be used.

This address is incorrect because the man's name is listed before the woman's.
Additionally, the man's informal name has been used.
This is the correct address since the woman's name
is listed first and no informal names are used.
Married couple where the woman has kept her maiden name: The protocol for "Unmarried couple living together" should be followed, yet an "and" should be placed between the two names.
Both members of the couple are listed with simply
an "and" placed between the two names.  The woman's
 name appears on the first line, the man's on the second.

A couple dating / engaged, not living at the same address:  Your guests will appreciate it if you take the extra effort to contact them to get the names of their dates and send them both separate invitations, with their single name listed on the outer envelope and both names listed on the inner envelope.  You can also send one invitation to the address of the member of the couple you know best, with only their name listed and then include the date's name on the inner envelope.  
Option one:
Option two:

Including (or excluding) children: All children over the age of eighteen should receive their own separate invitation.  If children are not receiving a separate invitation, their names should only be written on the inner envelope below their parent's names -- Outer envelopes should only be addressed to the adult members of the household.   On the inner envelope try to be as specific as possible and list all names invited and avoid addressing simply "Maria, John & Family" unless:
  1.  it is clear that you are only inviting the people who live at the address, not the aunt or uncle next door.
  2.  when the children are very young
  3.  When every person living under the same roof is intended to be included in the invitation.
If a bride wishes to have an "adult-only" wedding - then she simply omits the children's names from the inner envelope. The inner envelope should be used to specify, by inclusion or exclusion, who exactly is invited to the wedding.
The outer envelope should be addressed
 to only the adult members of the household.
 No children's names should be listed on the outer envelope.
The inner envelope does not use formal first names
for the adults in the household. Children are listed
below their parents in order of age.
Alternatively, for a more casual wedding, the following is also appropriate
more informal names may be used for inner
envelopes, such as "Aunt Jackie & Uncle Jon."
The woman's name always precedes the man's name
Formal Titles: if one or both of the members of a household have a formal title, it is to be included on the outer envelope:
Doctors (Medical only.  If a member of a couple has a PhD., not a MD or DMD, then their titles are simply Mr. or Mrs.)
  • If man is a doctor: 
  • If woman is a doctor:
Military Titles: 
If you know a guest is a member of the Armed Forces, it is imperative that you include their rank on the invitation - it is their legal title and using Mr. or Mrs. is inappropriate.  Refer to Crane & Co's extremely handy guide to addressing your invitations to guest with a military ranks & titles here.  The guest's rank should not be abbreviated.

Elected Officials: 
"The Honorable" is used as the title for all elected officials which includes, but is not limited to:
  • judge
  • governor
  • mayor
  • US Senator
  • member of Congress
  • cabinet member
  • ambassador
  • President
If you are unsure about a guest's title, it is always better to ask your guest for their proper title.  And if you ever have any questions about wedding invitation protocol in general, your one pound design invitation coordinator is here to not just create invitations you love, but also help navigate the often confusing and frustrating wedding etiquette waters!

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