Not sure how to address wedding invitations? We’re here to help! If it’s unclear what title to give grandpa’s best friend from the army, or you’re wondering why wedding invitations have outer and inner envelopes (and what the difference is between them), no problem! We’ve got examples and explanations to clarify any questions you may have about addressing wedding invitations.
Table of Contents
Addressing wedding invitations
Some people don’t mind being addressed with a nickname, but others mind a lot. I’ve been called many names before (thankfully most of them positive), and as long as I’m greeted politely I’m happy to respond with a smile. Everyone is different though, and some people will take offense if given the incorrect title. It’s hard to tell who may feel this way sometimes, so it’s best to tread carefully.
Our guide on how to address wedding invitations should answer your major naming-related questions, but it’s still not foolproof. If you really don’t know how to address someone (or how to spell their title or name), you should always ask them to make sure. Weddings are a lot of work, and everybody should be sympathetic.
Wedding invitations examples
Some say diversity is the spice of life. I’m inclined to agree! We’ve put together a chart that should cover how to address most of the possible relationship/title guest scenarios, and there are quite a few.
These examples are all written using the traditional format. If you would prefer a more casual tone, address guests by their first name only on the inner envelope.
Weddings are happy occasions, and a great way to keep your single guests happy is to extend a plus one invite!
If you choose to got this route, make it clear on the inner envelope. For example, the inner envelope would be addressed “Ms. Scott and Guest” if you wanted to allow your unmarried girlfriend to bring a date.
Also, single ladies can be addressed as “Ms.” or “Miss,” it’s completely up to you. “Miss” is considered to be more formal if that’s the vibe you’re aiming for.
|Guest||Outer Envelope||Inner Envelope|
|Unmarried Female||Ms. Ashley Scott||Ms. Scott|
|Unmarried male||Mr. Gregory Clegane||Mr. Clegane|
|Divorced female, still prefers married name||Mrs. Eleanor Rigby||Mrs. Rigby|
|Divorced female, uses maiden name||Ms. Claire Beauregard||Ms. Beauregard|
According to tradition, a married couple should be listed as “Mr. and Mrs. [MAN’S FIRST & LAST NAME].” If you want to follow this style, that’s totally fine! Today, it’s cool to list either name first.
Having trouble deciding who to name first on the invitation? Try going with the friend you and your fiancé are closer with (regardless of their gender).
Same-gender couples who are either married or unmarried should be addressed alphabetically, unless they tell you otherwise. This is also the case with unmarried couples who are living together and married couples who kept their own names.
Couples not living together should also be written in alphabetical order, and the letter should be sent to the person who you are closest with. In contemporary society it’s nice to address friends alphabetically because it’s gender neutral and fair (unless your last name is Zysman, then you probably don’t think it’s too fair).
|Guests||Outer Envelope||Inner Envelope|
|Married couple||Mr. and Mrs. Freddy McMann||Mr. and Mrs. McMann|
|Married couple, wife kept maiden name||Mrs. Ruth Applebee|
Mr. Roger Friday
|Same gender couple||Ms. Maryanne Huxley|
Ms. Kayla Snell
|Unmarried couple living together||Mr. Alan Arkansas|
Ms. Cindy Colorado
|Unmarried couples not living together||Ms. Becky Boston|
Mr. Cody Chicago
Children can definitely raise the cuteness factor at a wedding, so if you want them to come be sure to invite them! You can do this by including their names on the inner envelope (only address the parents on the outer envelope). No need for formal titles here, just write their first names under those of their parents, from oldest to youngest.
Adult children should receive their own invitations, even if they are living at home with their parents. They’ve made it to adulthood (hurray for filing taxes!), so make sure to send them their own invite if you want them to attend.
|Guest/s||Outer Envelope||Inner Envelope|
|Kids (babies to 17-year-olds)||Allen, Claire, and Ian|
|18+ year-old children||Mr. Kelvin Pariah||Mr. Pariah|
Formal & Professional Titles
Professional titles make things a bit more complex, but not to worry! Here are a few tips to clear up some of the confusion.
- Professional titles go before gender titles. Even if the wife is a doctor and she uses her husband’s name, she will still be listed first (Doctor WIFE’S FIRST NAME and Mr. HUSBANDS FIRST & LAST NAME).
- Dr. vs. Doctor: “Dr.” is a title for a person with a doctorate, “Doctor” is a person with a medical degree.
- Military, religious, and political titles: Find out their specific title and address them appropriately. If you’re close to them personally, only use their title on the outer envelope. Their name can be placed on the inner envelope instead of using the title twice.
|Guest/s||Outer Envelope||Inner Envelope|
|One spouse is a medical doctor||Doctor Melody and Mr. Joseph Reuben||Doctor Reuben
|Female doctor, kept maiden name||Doctor Melody Dickenson|
Mr. Joseph Reuben
|Both are medical doctors||Doctors Melody and Joseph Reuben||The Doctors Reuben|
|Both are medical doctors, kept their own names||Doctor Melody Dickenson |
Doctor Joseph Reuben
|One spouse in the military (officer)||Lieutenant Rubina Dann|
Mr. Erin Dann
|Both in the military (officers)||Colonel Barry Sanders |
Lieutenant Rubina Sanders
|Both in the military (officers), wife keeps maiden name||Colonel Barry Sanders|
Lieutenant Rubina Dann
|Wife is a professor (PhD holder)||Dr. Barbara and Mr. Randy Scott||Dr. Scott
|Judge||The Honorable and Mrs. Michael Yordan||Judge and Mrs. Yordan|
|Politician (senator)||The Honorable and Mrs. Raymond Atkins||Senator and Mrs. Atkins|
|Clergy||Pastor and Mrs. Nigel Thornberry||Pastor and Mrs. Nigel Thornberry|
Inner & Outer Envelopes
The etiquette tied to wedding invitations has existed long before cars replaced horses as the primary mode of transportation. Back then, to ensure your carefully constructed wedding invites were unsoiled upon arrival, they were placed in an envelope inside another envelope. That’s right, Christopher Nolan fans — Envelopception. Today many people still choose to follow this tradition, much to the delight of stationery stores.
How you address the inner & outer envelopes is not quite the same. In our table of examples we dived into the differences, but the general rule of thumb is:
- The outer part will have a guest’s title and their full name
- The inner part will include a title and last name only
- A man’s title goes first (according to tradition, but follow your instincts here)
- Professional titles go before gender titles (it’s been mentioned already, but I wanted to emphasize this point)
Check out for reference if you need further clarification. We’ve covered the majority of scenarios, but if I missed one feel free to comment below. I’d be happy to help you out!
Navigating the stormy seas of wedding planning can be daunting, but don’t fret! You’re in charge, and if you make a mistake with the way you address your wedding invitations it’s not the end of the world. Now that you’ve taken a look at the variety of ways to address your friends and family, check out some advice on wedding invitation wording and get yourself one step closer to your big day!