Wedding Etiquette for Addressing Envelopes
We’re kicking off the week with another good dose of “do’s and don’t” as I’m back today sharing tips on addressing mailings. If you missed the first post in my etiquette series, The Etiquette of Wedding Mailings, be sure to take a peek.
When Emily Post first wrote her book, life was simple. Women were married young, rarely had PhDs and almost never “out-ranked” men. Today’s world is far from simple and neither is proper address etiquette. I’m definitely no Emily Post (insert chuckles) but I like to keep things as easy as possible, so let’s break it down a bit.
Save the Date, Wedding Invitation, Rehearsal Dinner
Wedding invitations are the no-brainer here. 99% of the time they should be addressed formally. That’s the hard stuff, (i.e.: the nitty gritty) that we’ll review soon. Save the dates and rehearsal dinner invitations do not need to be addressed formally, unless the meal or expected attire dictates such. It is often perfectly acceptable to address a save the date without titles, using first and last names only.
The Formal 101
Let’s review a few of the basic principals by using an example. Your wedding guests are your neighbors, Suzy and John Smith. “Mr. and Mrs. John Smith” is how you would address their wedding invitation and “Susanne and John Smith” is how the save the date could be addressed. The first basic principal is that the woman’s name typically precedes the man’s name because his first and surname traditionally are not to be separated. With words like “surname” you may be rolling your eyes- I know, but that’s etiquette! What about their kids, you may ask? Well come back tomorrow as I am spending the entire day on that subject!
The Nitty Gritty
The best way to know how to deal with special case scenarios is to handle them one example at a time, so let’s get this party addressed!
Unmarried female Ms. Sarah Johnson
Divorced female, uses married name Mrs. Jennifer Ashburg
Divorced female, uses maiden name Ms. Christina Smith
Unmarried male Mr. Seth Hamburg
Married couples Mr. and Mrs. John Smith
Married couples- women kept maiden name Mrs. Emily Hendrickson
Mr. Keith McCarthy
Unmarried couple who live together Mr. Steve Early
- list your friend first Ms. Kelsey Schmitz
- if both are friends, alphabetical by last name
Same gender- alphabetical by last name Mr. Alan Peterson
Mr. Nathan Riley
Judge The Honorable and Mrs. Doug Miller
Clergy The Reverend Thomas Taylor
Doctor (medical) Doctor Bryan Pope
Doctor (PhD) Dr. Mackenzie Bowers
Married female doctor Doctor Sarah Landon
Mr. Derek Landon
Married couple, both doctors The Doctors McCarthy
Officer- man (active or retired) Colonel and Mrs. Jackson Linstrom
Officer- woman Lieutenant Ashley Anderson
Mr. Jason Anderson
Children over 18 Ms. Madeline Taylor
- should receive their own invitation, even if still at home or
Mr. Tyler Willard
This basic template above helps answer some of the most common/ uncommon addressing scenarios. As with everything, not all things are created equal and fit within the box. It’s okay to take each circumstance on a case-by-case basis and use your judgment as you see best fit. The key with etiquette is to show your good manners and avoid offending anyone. If your judgment call can accomplish both of those feats, you should trust your instinct.