wedding invitation suite
Aaron and Jillian Photography

Real talk: Figuring out how to address your wedding invitations might be one of the most tedious parts of wedding planning. Even if you’ve got a stationer or calligrapher to do the dirty work for you, you still have to corral all of your guests’ names and mailing addresses, which can take a few days short of a lifetime (don’t even try to imagine what it was like doing this before the Internet, it’ll make your brain hurt). And still, just when you’ve think you’ve hit a rhythm and have totally got this whole addressing-150-envelopes thing on lock, you still aren’t out of the woods yet, because guess what? There are rules here, too! And I don’t just mean using pretty penmanship.

Check out these tips on how to address your wedding invitations to make sure you’re ticking all the right boxes for drama-free, non-offensive envelopes.

Give distinction where it’s due.

Your friend from undergrad didn’t spend the past 10 years of school and infinite dollars to not be called a doctor at every possible opportunity. Likewise for your bridesmaid’s boyfriend who’s a college professor. Sure, titles like “Dr.,” “PhD,” “Esq.,” may not mean a lot to you if you don’t have one, but they mean a ton to the people who earned them, and their families, too, and it can be pretty offensive if these titles are forgotten on formal correspondence. Especially when it comes to how to address wedding envelopes—you want to show your guests how invaluable they are to your and your partner’s lives, and that means being aware of things like titles of distinction. If you’re unsure whether a guest or a guest’s plus-one uses a certain title, never feel shy to ask—it’s as acceptable as asking for their address (and way more polite than not using the title they prefer). 

Don’t forget the fam.

If you’re inviting children also, include them on the envelope by adding “and Family” after their parents’ names. It’s a concise way of being inclusive, and their parents will appreciate the effort. Leaving the family off the envelope, but telling the parents their kids are invited, will create confusion—and vise-versa—so be strategic with this one!

Mention serious partners by name.

We live in a hyper-connected world, which means it’s easier than ever to figure out which of your guests will be bringing their partner to your wedding, and which will be bringing a TBD “plus-one.” Even if you’re inviting someone you’re not super-close with anymore, don’t simply add their name “and guest” to the address line of their invitation until you’ve hopped on social media and done a little research to make sure they don’t have a current, long-time partner that you can mention by name. It’ll take a little bit longer to figure out how to address these wedding invitations than adding “and Guest” to all of your invitees’ envelopes who aren’t married, sure, but it’ll be worth it in the end, because it shows guests that you care about them as much as they care about you and your upcoming nuptials. And, yes, of course it matters that there’s as much love going out as there is coming in! (Same as above, feel free to simply ask the primary guest if he or she is bringing a specific partner, and what their name is, if you don’t know or can’t find out otherwise.)

Stay up-to-date with people’s dates.

Sure, you think your old pal from college is probably still dating that dude because why the heck would they not be, but mayyybe make sure before you send out an invite addressed to a couple that broke up a few months ago. Yes, there is a theme here: A little research before you address your envelopes can save you a lot of awkwardness down the line. And to an event celebrating your true love, you really don’t want to erroneously invite someone else’s breakup. Ouch! So, make sure all the couples you’re planning on inviting are actually still together before putting them together on an envelope, and, if a couple does break up right before you send invites, simply send two separate ones. (They’ll show up together if they want to.) It’s that easy!

Let the ladies in your life have their own identities, please.

Unless you’re trying to keep things super formal, or sending invitations to older folks who are used to Emily Post-era etiquette, there’s really no reason to follow the old “Mr. and Mrs. John Smith” naming convention when it comes to how to address wedding envelopes. Your gal pals will thank you for not… totally erasing their existence with their husbands’ names, for one thing. And you’ll appear decidedly more progressive by inviting them both individually, together. It doesn’t have to be complicated, either: “Mr. John and Mrs. Jane Smith.” See? Or you can put the ladies’ names first, since we all know they’re the ones running the show, anyway. Wink!

Keep in mind who’s divorced.

Just like you shouldn’t leave new partners or titles off the envelope, calling someone a Mrs. when they’re not anymore might ruffle some feathers. When it comes to how to address wedding invitations, this one’s a no-brainer, but keep abreast of whose status has changed (and what titles and last names they use now—some people keep what they used during marriage!) so you don’t offend. Don’t rely on Facebook alone for this one; not everyone keeps their pages up to date with this information. Go ahead and ask the guest outright if you’re unsure!