Unmarried couples living together receive one invitation with both of their names. The word “and” implies marriage. So, they’re listed on separate lines with the woman listed first.
Ms. Rebecca Wright
Mr. Jacob Martin
If you don’t know who your guest is bringing as their plus one, use…
Ms. Rebecca Wright and guest
Make a note that “guest” is lowercase because it’s not a proper noun.
Traditionally, a man’s first and last name are never separated. Always list couples in the order of highest “ranking” if either of them are doctors, judges, military, etc.
Traditional form for a married couple…
Mr. and Mrs. Phillip Jackson
Modern form for a married couple where the woman’s first name is included…
Mrs. Elizabeth Jackson and Mr. Phillip Jackson
This one stumps a lot of couples. Most often, I see “Mr. and Mrs. Phillip and Elizabeth Jackson” or “Mr. Phillip and Mrs. Elizabeth Jackson” incorrectly written on invitations.
When the husband is the second of his name…
Mr. and Mrs. Phillip Jackson, junior
There is a comma and “junior” is written in lowercase letters. Don’t abbreviate to “Jr.”
If the husband is a doctor…
Dr. and Mrs. Phillip Jackson
If they have a PhD, use the abbreviated “Dr.” If they are a medical doctor, spell out the word “Doctor”. The same goes for the two examples below.
If the wife is a doctor…
Dr. Elizabeth Jackson and Mr. Phillip Jackson
The spouse with the higher ranking title is always listed first on an envelope.
If both are doctors…
The Doctors Jackson
Double or Single Envelopes?
You’ve probably wondered, “What’s the point of two envelopes? Is that really necessary?” More and more couples opt to eliminate the second envelope. However, double envelopes are more traditional and do actually serve a purpose.
Outer envelopes keep the inner from getting dirty. As a result, your guests are much more likely to hold onto the inner envelope instead of throwing it away.
An outer envelope also allows you to put an envelope liner on the inner envelope. Consequently, this keeps the liner from ripping when guests open it.
Also, double envelopes make it very clear who is invited because you can state them individually by name on the inner envelope. This clears up any confusion about adults-only weddings.
Inner Envelope Format
If you choose to use an inner envelope, you typically use titles and last names only. List children by first name on a separate line. You may also drop titles and use more personal names for your friends and family. Here are a few examples:
A married couple with children invited…
Mr. and Mrs. Jackson
Claire and Bobby
A single person with an unknown plus one…
Samantha Peters and guest
Nicknames used instead of proper names…
Grandma and Grandpa
Technically, families with children over the age of 18 should receive their own invitation.
In general, do not include any abbreviations in the address other than titles. For example, spell out words like “Street” or “Apartment”. Additionally, do not abbreviate states either.
“Miss” is typically only used for girls under the age of 18. Otherwise, use “Ms.”
I know it seems daunting to address wedding invitations. However, it isn’t actually that bad. Go through your list, and do the proper formatting for the easy ones first. Then, go back and format the more complicated ones. Just take it case by case, and ask your stationer if any of them are confusing!
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