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Photo: Stephanie Fay Photography

Not quite sure how to address those invitation envelopes? We’ve got you covered!


Here are some traditional rules of thumb to reference. Happy addressing!

Do:

  • Use Full Names - Always use full, given names as opposed to nicknames.
  • Spell Out Numeric Street Names - For example, write Sixty-Seventh Street, rather than 67th Street.
  • Spell Out Single-Digit Street Numbers - Use numerals for numbers higher than ten when it comes to street numbers; otherwise, write out the number (ex. Eight rather than 8)

  • Don’t:
  • Abbreviate State Names - Write out the full name of a state, rather than using its two letter abbreviation.
  • Abbreviate North, South, East, West
  • Abbreviate Street, Road, Avenue, Boulevard, Lane, Drive, Etc.
  • Abbreviate the Generational Suffixes “Senior” or “Junior”

  • Married Couple, Same Last Name
    List on the same line. Use the “Mr. and Mrs.” title, followed by the man’s full name. (Ex: Mr. and Mrs. John Doe).

    Married Couple, Same-Sex, Same Last Name
    List on the same line. Use the title “The Mesdames” for two women and the title “The Mssrs.” for two men, followed by both first names and the couple’s last name. (Ex. The Mesdames Jane and Susan Smith). If you don’t want to be this formal, simply substitute the title “Mrs. and Mrs.” or “Mr. and Mr.”

    Married Couple, Same-Sex, Different Last Names
    List on the same line. List both full names, each preceded by the appropriate title, on the same line with the “and” conjunction. (Ex. Mr. John Doe and Mr. James Smith).

    "Believe it or not, the traditional rules of etiquette and French grammar provide predictable path for using the correct salutation for married same-sex couples thanks to our ability to create a plural for Madame and Monsieur! One modern twist you might consider for a legally unmarried, but otherwise longtime, committed same-sex couple would be to elevate them to a single line out of respect for their relationship if you, they and the community considers them a 'married' couple, but they have not for personal, practical or political reasons chosen to head to City Hall for a license."
  • Kathryn Hamm, GayWeddings.com

  • Married Couple and Their Children (Under 18)
    Use the rules above for the first line. On the second line, list the children’s first names in order of age. (Ex. Mr. and Mrs. John Doe [Line Break] Catherine, Thomas, and Margaret)

    Married Couple and Their Children (Over 18)
    Use the rules above for the first line. List each child on his or her own subsequent line, preceded by the title “Miss” or “Mr.” (Ex. Mr. and Mrs. John Doe [Line Break] Miss Catherine Doe [Line Break] Mr. Thomas Doe)

    For a Guest with a Plus One
    List the guest’s full name preceded by the appropriate title, followed by “and Guest” on the same line. (Ex. Ms. Jane Doe and Guest).

    An Unmarried Couple
    List each guest’s full name, preceded by the appropriate title, stacked on two separate lines. It doesn’t matter whom you list first; when in doubt, go alphabetically. (Ex. Ms. Jane Doe [Line Break] Mr. James Smith).

    An Unmarried Woman
    Use the “Ms.” title, followed by her full name.

    A Widowed Woman
    Use the “Mrs.” title, followed by the first and last name of her late husband.

    A Divorced Woman
    Both the “Ms.” and “Mrs.” title are acceptable, followed by her first and last name, whether she kept her married last name or goes by her maiden name.

    A Married Couple, Same Last Name, Man is a Doctor
    List both names on the same line. Use the title “Dr. and Mrs.,” followed by the man’s full name. (Ex. Dr. and Mrs. John Doe)

    A Married Couple, Same Last Name, Woman is a Doctor
    List both names on the same line. List both full names, each preceded by the appropriate title, on the same line with the “and” conjunction. The woman’s name should be listed first and preceded by the “Dr.” title. (Ex. Dr. Jane Doe and Mr. John Doe)

    A Married Couple, Same Last Name, Both Doctors
    Use the title “The Doctors” or the abbreviation “Drs.,” followed by their last name. (Ex. The Doctors Doe)

    A Married Couple, Same Last Name, Man is a Judge
    List both names on the same line. Use the title “The Honorable and Mrs.,” followed by the man’s full name. (Ex. The Honorable and Mrs. John Doe)

    A Married Couple, Same Last Name, Woman is a Judge
    List both names on the same line. List both full names, each preceded by the appropriate title, on the same line with the “and” conjunction. The woman’s name should be listed first and preceded by the “The Honorable” title. (Ex. The Honorable Jane Doe and Mr. John Doe)