How to Address an Envelope

Addressing Wedding Invitations

Addressing the outer envelope

Traditional etiquette dictates that every married couple or individual over the age of 18 in a household should get their own wedding invitation.  Children under the age of 18, if invited, would have their names listed on the inner envelopes beneath their parents’ names.  However, most of our customers today send a single invitation to each household. In this case, the names of invited children would be listed on a line beneath their parents’ names. 

Married couples are formally addressed as: 

Mr. and Mrs. John Smith. 

In the case of unmarried couples, or when a married women has kept her maiden name, the woman is listed on the first line and the man on the next line, such as: 

Ms. Jane Jones

Mr. John Smith

In any case where a woman has a special title, such as that of a judge or medical doctor, she may be listed first with her appropriate title and first name, such as:

Dr. Jane Jones

Mr. John Smith

In the case of same-sex couples with different last names, guests may be listed in alphabetical order by their last name, such as:

Ms. Sara Jones

Ms. Susan Smith

Single guests who are invited to bring a date to the wedding would have ‘and guest’ written after their name on the inner envelope. If only outer envelopes are being used ‘and Guest’ (note the capital ‘G’ here) may be added to the outside envelope.

Abbreviations are typically not used when addressing wedding invitations. States, ‘Apartment’, and ‘Post Office Box’, for example, are all spelled out. Most word processing programs have a ‘Find a replace text’ feature that allows you to find ‘NY’, for example, and replace it with ‘New York’ in the event that you have a list with a lot of common abbreviations. You may have to repeat the operation with common spelling variations, such as ‘Ny’ and ‘N.Y.’ Also be warned that any words containing these letter combinations will be altered as well, so ‘Tony’ will become ‘ToNew York’.

Addressing the inner envelope

The inner envelope does not require a street address, but only the names of those invited. For married adults, only surnames are used on the inner envelope, such as:

Mr. and Mrs. Smith


Ms. Jones

Mr. Smith

If ‘Jr.’ or ‘III’ was used on the outer envelope, it is not necessary to repeat it on the inner envelope.  The names of children under 18, if invited, are listed beneath their parents’ names on a single line – in age order – oldest to youngest. 

The return address

The return address typically does not include the name of the sender – simply the address. The address is either that of the person who is issuing the invitation, or the address to which you would want gifts to be sent.