How To Address Wedding Invitations: Basic Guides for Couples

Sending out wedding invitations is one of the most important steps in planning for your nuptials. There is a lot of essential information to include, so you want to make sure you use the perfect wedding invitation wording. Understanding how to address wedding invitations can inform you on how to structure text on envelopes, the proper way to address guests by title, and everything else you might need to know. Use this guide and tackle the task of filling out your invites ASAP.

Why You Should Properly Address Wedding Invitations

Putting a letter in the mail is not a very complicated task. You may wonder why it is so important to put in the extra effort with your invitations. Since your wedding is an important event, the invitations are a reflection of how much the special day matters to you.

By following proper etiquette when exploring how to address wedding invitations, you are showing your guests that this is an occasion for celebrating your new journey in life. Use these points to guide you through the process and feel confident in your finished product.

How to Address Wedding Invitations Without an Inner Envelope

The first point to keep in mind is the envelope. Most couples will send out two envelopes with their invitations. The outer envelope contains the names and addresses of the recipients, while the inner envelope includes only the names of the guests.

While you aren’t beholden to having two envelopes, the inner option usually provides a helpful place to include items like the RSVP card and additional information on the wedding that doesn’t fit on the invitation itself. If you only use one envelope, be diligent about the way you address it.

1. To A Married Couple with the Same Last Name

The most common arrangement you are likely going to be dealing with when filling out your invitations is married couples who have the same last name. This is a very easy task to approach.

Traditionally, you would use Mr. and Mrs. to refer to the couple and use the name of the husband. However, this is not the norm anymore. Feel free to explore different arrangements with married couples that reflect your own sensibilities..

Example: 

  • Outer envelope: Mr. and Mrs. Robert Belcher
  • Inner envelope:  Mr. and Mrs. Belcher
                                   
    —or—
                            Robert and Linda

2. To A Married Couple with Different Last Names

As mentioned, times have changed and couples are all following different habits when it comes to the names they live with after marriage. Approach addressing envelopes for couples like this in the same fashion you would a married couple with the same last name. When it comes to how to address wedding invitations, you really need to only use common sense when it comes to figuring out which names to include. However, recipients prefer is the best way to go.

Example: 

  • Outer envelope: Mrs. Leslie Knope and Mr. Ben Wyatt
  • Inner envelope: Mrs. Knope and Mr. Wyatt
                                        —or—
                                    Leslie and Ben

Related post: Wedding Invitation Wording: Formal & Casual Samples

3. To A Married Couple with One Hyphenated Last Name

There are also couples who share a hyphenated last name. This is actually one of the easier arrangements to work out. All you need to do is use the “Mr.” and “Mrs.” monikers and put the last name of the couple. There is no need to include the first names unless you feel inclined to do so. This will all be a matter of your personal preference.

Example: 

  • Outer envelope: Mr. Andy Dwyer and Ms. April Ludgate-Dwyer
  • Inner envelope: Mr. Dwyer and Ms. Ludgate-Dwyer
                                    —or—
                                    Andy and April

4. To a Married Couple, One of Whom is a Doctor

When someone in the couple you are inviting to your wedding has an advanced degree or a lofty title, you may wish to include this on the invitation. For some, a level of prestige accompanies having this kind of title, and wedding invitations are a typical place where the extra attention gets paid.

If one person in the couple is a doctor, spell out the word doctor instead of using “Dr.” The exception to this is when the names are too long to spell out the full word.

Example:

  • Outer envelope: Doctor Michaela Quinn and Mr. Byron Sully
                                        —or—
                                     Doctor Rainbow and Mr. Andre Johnson, Sr.
  • Inner envelope:  Dr. Quinn and Mr. Sully

5. To a Married Couple, Both of Whom are Doctors With the Same Last Name

If both of the people you are addressing the envelope to are doctors, then you may not be certain how to address wedding invitations in an appropriate fashion. In a traditional arrangement, putting the woman’s name first is the norm. However, for same-sex couples or other modern relationships, you may want to go a different route with how you arrange the names. Try a few different ways to see what you like best. 

Example: 

  • Outer envelope: Doctors Monica and Alan Quartermain
  • Inner envelope: (The) Doctors Quartermain

6. To Married Doctors With Different Last Names

proper way to address wedding envelopes: Married Doctors With Different Last Names

Now, you may also find yourself in a predicament where both of the people in the couple are doctors and both also have different last names. If this is the situation you find yourself in, then you are going to want to follow the same pattern.

Put the name of the woman in the relationship first, unless it doesn’t make sense for the relationship. Don’t waste too much time thinking about the right order, as there are other important tasks related to planning your wedding

Example: 

  • Outer envelope: Dr. Meredith Grey and Dr. Derek Shepherd
  • Inner envelope: Dr. Grey and Dr. Shepher

7. For Couples With Other Distinguished Titles

There may also be people you will be inviting to your wedding who have distinguished titles other than doctor. Whether the people are judges, religious officials, members of the military, or some type of political figures, you can follow the same rules as you did for addressing the envelopes to doctors. If the titles get too long, use your best judgement to shorten things down to an appropriate length.

Example: 

  • On the outer envelope: The Honorable Jane Kelly and Lieutenant Jonathan Kelly, US Navy

Captains Jane and Jonathan Kelly, US Navy ( If they’re both captains in the military)

  • On the inner envelope: Judge Kelly and Lieutenant Kelly, US Navy Or The Captains Kelly

8. To an Unmarried Couple

There are going to be a ton of unmarried couples invited to your wedding. For these couples, you should always list the person you are closest with first.

If you are equally friendly with both of the people in the couple, then you can select the arrangement however you would prefer. If the couple doesn’t live together, send separate invitations, and include both names.

  • Example:
  • Outer envelope: “Mr. Stanley Kim and Ms. Amanda Rhee
  •   Inner envelope:  “Mr. Kim and Ms. Rhee” or “Stanley and Amanda”

9. To a Same-Sex Couple

envelope for invitations: same sex couple

As mentioned already, understanding how to address wedding invitations to same-sex couples is important for weddings in the current day and age. You don’t need to do anything special for this type of envelope. Follow the same rules and put the name of the guest you are closest with first. You can also list names in alphabetical order if you are looking for a simple system to follow.

Example: 

  • Outer envelope: Ms. Lucy Stevens and Ms. Stacey Thompson
  • Inner envelope: Ms. Stevens and Ms. Thompson” or “Lucy and Stacey

10. To a Single Man

When addressing an invitation to a single man, be sure to use the title of “Mr.” unless the man is under the age of 18. You don’t have to use titles for teenagers who are not considered legal adults yet, but you may want to anyway. Adding a title for a young man can make him feel like he is on his way to being an adult. Being invited to a wedding is a pretty adult activity, after all.

Example:

  • Outer envelope:  “Mr. James Montgomery.”
  • Inner envelope:  “Mr. Montgomery” or “James”

11. To a Single Woman

how to address a wedding invitation to a singel woman: wedding invitation to singel woman

If you’re looking to address a wedding invitation for a single woman, use the same rules as with a single man. If the girl is under the age of 18, no formal title is needed unless you prefer it. Additionally, an unmarried woman can be referred to as “Ms.” instead of “Mrs.” but this practice is not as common as it once was. 

Example: 

  • Outer envelope: Ms. Stephanie Chen” or “Miss Stephanie Chen” (if she is younger than 18)
  • Inner envelope:  “Ms. Chen” or “Miss Chen” or “Stephanie”

12. To a Widow

Most widows still retain their married names after the passing of a spouse. However, there are some who change their names or remarry.

If you’re unsure about a person’s preferred name, then you need to reach out to someone who has the answers so that you can put the correct information on the envelope. 

Example: 

  • Outer envelope: “Mrs. Susan Brown” or “Mrs. John Brown” depending upon her preference.
  • Inner envelope:  “Mrs. Brown” or “Susan”

13. To Someone Who Is Divorced

If someone has recently gone through a divorce, then you need to make sure that you have the right information. You may only know this person by his or her married name. If this is the case, be sure to learn what the person’s maiden or original name was so that it can be included when you are addressing your invitations. 

Example for a a divorced female

  • Outer envelope: Mrs./Ms. Cookie Lyon
                                —or—
                      Mrs/Ms. Cookie Holloway
  • Inner envelope:  Mrs./Ms. Lyon
                                      —or—
                              Mrs./Ms. Holloway

14. To a Judge

As mentioned before, distinguished titles require a bit of extra effort when it comes to putting the correct information on an envelope. When a judge is the recipient, it is commonplace to include “honorable” before the person’s name. “The Honorable Judge Smith,” for example, is a common way to refer to someone with this title.

Example: 

  • Outer envelope: The Honorable Sonia Sotomayor
  • Inner envelope: Judge Sotomayor

15. To a Religious Official

Religious officials should also receive special titles when addressing your envelopes for your big day. If the person is a priest, you can easily write “Father” as a way of referring to the person.

However, do your research and learn about the specific title of the person and how you should address the envelope if you are unfamiliar with the person’s particular religion. 

Example:

  • Outer envelope: Father Damien Karra
  • Inner envelope: Father Karras

16. To the Whole Family

There are also going to be times when you are addressing an invitation to the entire family. In a case like this, you would want to keep it as simple as possible. Writing the name of the family and excluding all first names is acceptable. You can also include the name of one of the parents with the added “and family” on the envelope.

Example:

  • Outer envelope:  “The Thompson Family” or “Mr. and Mrs. Alan Thompson” or “Mr. Alan Thompson and Mrs. Emily Thompson”
  • Inner envelope:  Alan, Emily, Roger, Chance, Miss Jennifer

Figuring out the right way to go about filling out your wedding invitations is a huge part of feeling prepared for your big day. Give yourself time to think about how to address wedding invitations in the proper and traditional way. Whether you follow the customs or not, having an idea of the common way to go about the process will help you know where to start.