As wedding planners and stationery designers we are often asked how to address wedding invitations and what formalities should be used. To help guide you through this process we have teamed up with Jane Dolan, owner of Southern Calligraphy , to address some of these frequently asked questions. As you will see there are many ways to address your invitations, but ultimately it is the bride’s choice to make the invites as formal or as informal as possible.
1. If I choose the inner/outer envelope combination, what do I put on the outer envelope and what do I put on the inner envelope?
The outer envelope should be addressed to the heads of the household. The inner envelope should clearly state exactly who within that household is invited:
Outer: Mr. and Mrs. James Hamilton
Inner: Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton (parents)
Amanda, Andrew and John (Children Names)
2. Do I put “and guest” or “and Family” on the outer envelope?
If you are inviting someone with children or a plus-one it is more personal to include the name/names on the envelope rather than “and guest” or “and family”. However, if you do not know the name of your invited guest 'plus one' you may include "and guest" on the inner envelope. When listing children, list the names (first name only, no last names here) below the parents names and start with the oldest child first. *See inner and outer envelope photo for example.
3. Do I have to include middle names on my addresses?
It is not necessary to include middle names on the addresses, but if you prefer to do so write out the name and do not abbreviate to a middle initial. In general you can look at the addressing like this:
Least formal: first and last name only(no title)
More formal: title + first and last name
Most formal: title + first, middle and last name
4. Do I need to spell out the states?
Yes! All wording on your envelopes should be spelled out, not abbreviated. Spell out all street names, post office box, apartment and states. The exceptions are titles of names such as Mr and Mrs, Dr, Jr, Sr, and the one state exception is Washington, DC which can be written as DC as opposed to District of Columbia.
*Another frequently overlooked recommendation is that of writing out numbers twenty and below.
You will find a lot of information on the Internet that is not correct regarding proper envelope addressing. Jenna Laine Weddings and Southern Calligraphy are a reliable go-to source of choice for the most accurate and proper etiquette regarding addressing your envelopes. Please feel free to contact Jenna Laine Weddings or Southern Calligraphy if you have any questions addressing your guests!
Jane Dolan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org