Calligraphy envelope example

Chances are, if you're like most of us, you're hardly sending out any formal pieces of mail these days - let alone ANY mail.  With everything going electronically, sending mail has become somewhat of a lost art.  Not to fear - this calligrapher has your back.

For many people, their wedding is the one time they will be sending out fancy-pants envelopes, and it's no surprise to have no experience or many questions.  However, receiving that special piece of mail amongst a sea of bills and advertisements will really make your guest's day.

Here is a guide to addressing your invitations, looking at many situations in a household.  Keep in mind, this is a somewhat formal etiquette guide that you can take it or leave it.  At the end of the day, it's your wedding and  you can alter the rules as you wish.  But here they are!

Addressing wedding envelopes

A married couple

Traditionally, the woman’s name follows the man’s name. If they are married with the same last name, you can address with their titles and his name.  Always address to both people, even if you know for a fact one cannot attend.

Formal: Mr. and Mrs. David Johnson

Informal: David and Jessica Johnson

 An unmarried couple living together

His name will still come first, followed by her name.  Both names should be on the same line if possible.  This would be the same format for a married couple when the woman has kept her maiden name.

Formal: Mr. David Johnson and Ms. Jessica Sullivan

Informal: David Johnson and Jessica Sullivan

A single guest

Pretty self-explanatory for this one.  If the guest is a single female, anyone over 18 it is appropriate to use “Ms.” not “Miss”.

Formal: Mr. David Johnson [OR] Ms. Jessica Sullivan

Informal: David Johnson [OR] Jessica Sullivan

A single guest with a “plus one”

Whenever possible, the name of their guest should be determined and added to the envelope.  There is nothing more awkward than seeing your boyfriend’s mail and your name is “And Guest”!  Although, there are many times when the guest is single and they don’t know whom they are bringing, and this format may be acceptable (if you must).  Including or excluding this piece is important to let your guest know if they are welcome to bring a plus one or come solo.

Formal: Mr. David Johnson and Guest

Informal: David Johnson and Guest

A family with children under 18

This would be the same as an envelope with a married couple, but adding on their children.  Including or excluding this line is especially important to let families know if your event is kid-friendly or if they should plan to get a sitter.

Formal: Mr. and Mrs. David Johnson [next line] Timmy Johnson

Informal: David and Jessica Johnson and family

 Children over 18 living with parents (or other relatives living in household)

He or she should receive their own invitation, separate from their parents.  If they have a guest, refer to rules above.  This rule applies to grandmas, aunts, cousins, uncles, etc. that are at the same house as other guests that are invited.

Formal: Mr. Timmy Johnson

Informal: Timmy Johnson

A same sex couple

This would be listed the same way as an unmarried couple.  Who to list first?  Use alphabetical order.

Formal: Mr. Jack Anderson and Mr. David Johnson

Informal: Jack Anderson and David Johnson

He is a doctor or judge

The woman’s name will still follow the man’s name.

Doctor: Dr. and Mrs. David Johnson

Judge: The Honorable and Mrs. David Johnson

She is a doctor or judge

This is an exception where his name will follow her name, as her social title outranks his.

Doctor: Dr. Jessica Johnson and Mr. David Johnson

Judge: The Honorable Jessica Johnson and Mr. David Johnson

They are both doctors

There are a few different ways to address this, all acceptable.  If she still uses her maiden name, the last example would be used.

The Doctors Johnson

Drs. David Johnson and Jessica Johnson

Dr. David Johnson and Dr. Jessica Johnson

A widowed wife

His name can still be honored, and her “Mrs.” title would still be in place.

Formal: Mrs. David Johnson [OR] Mrs. Jessica Johnson

Informal: Jessica Johnson

Addressing wedding envelopes

Writing Out Street Addresses

All words should be spelled out instead of abbreviated.  This includes words like “Street” and directional words like “North”

            Street

            Avenue

            Boulevard

            Lane

            Court

            North, West, South, East

            Northwest, Northeast, Southwest, Southeast

 If the street is a number, a good rule of thumb is that the word should be spelled out if the number is under 10.  It is acceptable to use numbers over that. Here are some examples:

            1234 Fifth Avenue

            5555 34th Street

 If there is a unit number, this should also be spelled out as these examples:

            Apartment

            Unit

            Number

            Suite

Wedding envelope calligraphy

Don’t forget to book your calligrapher well in advance and allow plenty of time to get your envelopes completed!  Usually two to three weeks is standard, depending on schedule.  Contact us today to get the ball rolling with your lovely wedding envelopes.

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