Before you can finalize your wedding invitations, you’ll need to finalize your guest list. Learning how to properly address your envelopes is key to getting this task off your to-do list. Let’s be honest, addressing envelopes isn’t the sexiest or most fun part of wedding planning, but I’ve assembled some crucial tips that will make aceing your guest addressing a breeze!
Invitation Addressing Methods
As you’re gathering the guest list, you’ll want to think about how you’ll have your envelopes addressed. I highly recommend taking advantage of our guest addressing services that are customized to match your invitation style; there’s a few examples in the article below, whether it’s a romantic calligraphy or a chic, modern sans-serif style.
Hiring a calligrapher is another option. Calligraphy can add a beautiful, elegant touch to your invitations. (But, beware it can be a bit hard on your budget; the cost is about 3x our printed guest addressing.) Or maybe you’ve taken a calligraphy class and want to tackle the task yourself, you brave soul! If you’re going with either hand-addressed method, I recommend ordering about 20% extra envelopes (printed with return address) to allow for practicing and making a few mistakes along the way.
Take advantage or our guest addressing services, shown above in gorgeous printed calligraphy.
Some Basics to Get Started
A few helpful things to know:
• Street Addresses & State Names should be spelled out in full
• Miss vs. Ms.: “Miss” should only be used for guests under the age of 18
• Do not use initials – if you’re including a middle name, for example, write it out in full.
• Guests over 18 living in the same household should receive their own invitation in an individually addressed envelope – this applies to both roommates & adult children living at home.
• Organize guest addresses in a spreadsheet, like Excel, Numbers or Google Doc, with a separate column for Guest Names, Street Address, City/State/Zip, and Country if applicable. This will make it easy to hand it off to your stationer for printing or calligrapher for hand-addressing.
Above: a more modern style of printed envelope addressing from our collection
Wedding Invitation Addressing Samples
Your guest list most likely includes a variety of living situations, such as married and single folks, divorced guests, widows, same sex couples, and guests with formal titles such as doctors, judges and military officers. Below are specific examples for each of these scenarios:
Married Couple with the Same Last Name
“Mr. and Mrs. Nathaniel Shaw”
“Mrs. Emily Shaw and Mr. Nathaniel Shaw”
Married Couple with Different Last Names
“Ms. Emily Voorhes and Mr. Nathaniel Shaw”
Married Couple with Hyphenation
“Mr. Nathaniel Shaw and Mrs. Emily Voorhes-Shaw”
Family, including Children
“Mr. and Mrs. Nathaniel Shaw
Taylor and Jackson”
(Note: only include children’s names if they are invited to the wedding)
Unmarried Couple Living Together
“Mr. Nathaniel Shaw and Mrs. Emily Voorhes”
(Note: List the person whom you are closest to first)
Same Sex Couple
“Mr. Nathaniel Shaw and Mr. Robert Voorhes”
(Note: List the person whom you are closest to first, or list alphabetically)
“Mr. Nathaniel Shaw”
“Ms. Emily Voorhes”
Single Guests with Plus-one
“Mr. Nathaniel Shaw and guest”
“Ms. Emily Voorhes and guest”
Married Couple with one Doctor
“Dr. Emily Shaw and Mr. Nathaniel Shaw”
Married Couple Both Doctors
“Drs. Emily and Nathaniel Shaw”
“The Doctors Shaw”
(personally, I find the latter sounds a bit strange)
Other Distinguished Titles
“The Honorable Nathaniel Shaw and Mrs. Emily Shaw”
“Captain Emily Shaw and Mr. Nathaniel Shaw”
“Mrs. Emily Shaw” or “Mrs. Nathaniel Shaw”, depending upon her preference
if she’s kept her married name:
“Mrs. Emily Shaw”
if she’s using her maiden name:
“Ms. Emily Voorhes”
What’s the Deal with Inner & Outer Envelopes?
These days, outer envelopes are typically reserved for only the most formal, black-tie weddings. While the inner and outer envelope method is more traditional, it can be seen as wasteful and less than eco-chic. There was a time when outer envelopes were actually a necessity – in the old days of mail delivery (like, waaaay back in the horse & buggy days when these traditions began), it was much more common for an envelope to be damaged en route from rain, dirt or mud. This just isn’t the case these days! There’s no rule saying you need both envelopes, so if you prefer a very traditional feel or are having a black tie event, you’ll want to use them – otherwise, you can leave this convention in the past!
A More Casual Approach
Can you get away with a more casual approach to guest addressing, such as first names only, or first and last names instead of worrying about all these rules? If this aligns with your event’s overall feel and you feel strongly about conveying a more fun, low-key vibe, go for it! An alternate idea would be to use a more casual approach on Save the Dates and go formal on the invitations.
Now you’re ready to tackle that guest list like a pro! For more helpful tips, see these related articles: