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!
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
Writing Out Street Addresses
All words should be spelled out instead of abbreviated. This includes words like “Street” and directional words like “North”
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:
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.