Wedding Invitation Wording: How to Address Inner and Outer Envelopes

Wording can by tricky, we know. But follow these guidelines, and you’ll master the art of addressing wedding invitations. As a standard rule of thumb, your wedding invitation’s outer envelope should be formal, including titles and full names. The inner envelope can be a little less formal, excluding first names or titles and last names (if you are close with your guests). Here’s a guide to help you.

To a Married Couple:

  • On the outer envelope: “Mr. Michael and Mrs. Jessica Smith” or “Mr. and Mrs. Michael Smith”
  • On the inner envelope: “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” or “Michael and Jessica”

To a Married Couple That Use Different Last Names: First, list the person with whom you’re closest on the outer and inner envelopes. If you are close with both people, list their names in alphabetical order.

  • On the outer envelope: “Mr. Michael Smith and Mrs. Jessica Anderson”
  • On the inner envelope: “Mr. Smith and Ms. Anderson” or “Michael and Jessica”

To an Unmarried Couple Living Together: As with a married couple, both names should be listed on the envelopes. In this case, each name gets its own line.

  • On the outer envelope: “Mr. Jon Edwardson and Ms. Michelle Wright”
  • On the inner envelope: “Mr. Edwardson and Ms. Wright”

To a Same-Sex Couple: The same rules apply as they would for any other unmarried or married couple. If the couple is married, list the names on the same line.

  • On the outer envelope: “Ms. Jennifer Maxwell and Ms. Tina Moore,” or list their full names without titles: “Jennifer Maxwell and Tina Moore”
  • On the inner envelope: “Ms. Maxwell and Ms. Moore” or “Jennifer and Tina”

To a Married Woman Doctor or Two Married Doctors:

  • On the outer envelope: If a woman uses her maiden name professionally and socially, the outer envelope should read: “Dr. Cynthia Peters and Mr. Adam Mitchell.” If she uses her husband’s name socially: “Dr. Cynthia and Mr. Adam Mitchell.” If both people are doctors, you can address the outer envelope: “Doctors Cynthia and Adam Mitchell”
  • On the inner envelope: “Dr. Peters and Mr. Mitchell” or “The Doctors Mitchell”

To Those With Other Distinguished Titles: Apply the same rules for military personnel, judges, reverends, etc., that you use for doctors. If both titles don’t fit on one line, indent the second line.

  • On the outer envelope: The Honorable Stacy Little and Lieutenant Mark Watson” or “Captains Stacy and Mark Watson, U.S. Navy”
  • On the inner envelope: “Judge Watson and Lieutenant Watson, U.S. Navy” or “The Captains Watson”

To Children and Families: You many include younger guests on the inner envelope of their parents’ invitation by their names, but they should not be addressed on the outer envelope. Use “Miss” for girls under 18 years old. Boys don’t need a title until they’re 18, when they should be addressed as “Mr.”

  • On the outer envelope: “Mr. and Mrs. Chris Morgan”
  • On the inner envelope: “Brandon, Jason, Miss Katherine, and Miss Kennedy”

To Children 18 and Older: They should receive their own invitations (unless they live at home with their parents).

  • On the outer envelope: “Ms. Anne Morgan” or “Mr. Jacob Morgan”
  • On the inner envelope: “Ms. Morgan” or “Mr. Morgan”

If you exclude children’s names from the invitations, you are implying that children are not invited. However, some guests may assume that children are  invited. If you are worried that this will happen, ask your close family and the wedding party to spread the word letting others know it will be an adults-only affair. You still may want to follow up with guests who miss the memo and nicely explain.

Featured Cover Image: Jose Villa{"url":"","count":3})


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