How to Properly Address Your Wedding Invitations by DM Paper Designs

You have designed your beautiful invitations and you are now ready to collect everyone’s addresses and start forming your guest list. Did you know that there is proper wedding etiquette to addressing your invitation envelopes? DM Paper Designs has dug up all of the information you need to properly address your invitations to etiquette standards.

Read the rest of the article after the cut!


Guidelines for Guest Addressing

For the names on your invitations:

  • Please include titles for adults, including Mr., Mrs., Miss or Ms., Doctor. These are the only acceptable abbreviations during your addressing, Doctor being the exception.
  • Please make sure that you have included first and last names and that all spelling is correct. Initials are not acceptable; Write “William,” not “W”. Omit the middle name if you do not know it.
  • Please insert the word “and” between guests’ names. An ampersand or “&” should not be used.

How to Properly Address Your Wedding Invitations by DM Paper Designs

The following guidelines apply when wording your guests’ names and addresses:

  • TO A MARRIED COUPLE:Mr. and Mrs. Walter Stuart Brown
  • TO A MARRIED COUPLE WITH CHILDREN UNDER EIGHTEEN:Mr. and Mrs. Walter Stuart Brown
    Jane and Paul Brown
  • TO AN UNMARRIED COUPLE AT THE SAME ADDRESS receive one invitation with names written on separate lines in alphabetical order.Miss (or Ms.) Emily Jones
    Mr. Williams
  • TO A SINGLE WOMAN (PLEASE NOTE: on a formal invitation, Miss is used for an unmarried woman under 21, Ms. for an unmarried woman 21 or over.)Miss (or Ms.) Emily Jones
  • TO A SINGLE MAN
    Mr. John Williams
  • TO A WIDOW, OR A SEPARATED WOMAN
    Mrs. Walter Stuart Brown
  • TO A DIVORCEE WHO IS STILL USING HER FORMER HUSBAND’S NAME
    Mrs. (or Ms.) Smith Robertson or Mrs. (or Ms.) Barbara Smith Robertson (Smith being her maiden name)
  • TO A MARRIED COUPLE WHEN THE WIFE USES HER MAIDEN NAME
    Ms. Emily Jones and Mr. John Williams (Both names are on the same line)
  • TO A SINGLE MAN OR WOMAN AND GUEST
    Mr. Williams and Guest
  • TO A MARRIED COUPLE, BOTH DOCTORS
    The Doctors Williams
  • TO A MARRIED COUPLE, WIFE IS A DOCTOR
    Doctor Emily Jones and Mr. John Williams (She kept her maiden name) or Doctor Emily Williams and Mr. John Williams
  • CHILDREN OVER AGE EIGHTEEN each receive his or her own invitation
  • OTHER ADULT RELATIVES WHO RESIDE IN THE HOUSEHOLD should each receive his or her own invitation

 How to Properly Address Your Wedding Invitations by DM Paper Designs

For Your Addresses

  • ADDRESS 1: Include house number, and street name.Please spell out all words. North, South, East, and West should not be abbreviated. Street, Road, Avenue, Boulevard and Lane should always be written out, not abbreviated. Figures are used in zip codes and house numbers. Numbered streets can be written out, but is not required. For example: Fourteenth Street, vs. 14th Street, or One Hundred and Twenty-Fifth Street, vs. 125th Street. If you are unsure about any abbreviations, please ask us.
  • ADDRESS 2: For additional address information, such as Apartment number, please spell out the word, Apartment vs. Apt., or Suite vs. Ste.
  • CITY, STATE AND ZIP CODE: Please spell out all words and do not use abbreviations. States are spelled out in full (for example: Georgia, not GA).

 How to Properly Address Your Wedding Invitations by DM Paper Designs

Some Extra Advice

  • Invitations should be mailed from six to eight weeks before the wedding.
  • Mail invitations first-class mail, never metered mail.
  • Be sure to include a return address on the invitations.
  • Wedding announcements are addressed the same as invitations, and should be mailed immediately after the wedding.

How to Properly Address Your Wedding Invitations by DM Paper Designs

Guidelines for Guest Addressing for outer and inner envelopes

Many wedding invitations have two separate envelopes, the outer envelope and the inner envelope, which contains the actual invitations.

The following guidelines apply to addressing them:

  • TO A MARRIED COUPLE
    Outer: Mr. and Mrs. Walter Stuart Brown
    Inner: Mr. and Mrs. Brown
  • TO A MARRIED COUPLE WITH CHILDREN UNDER EIGHTEEN
    Outer: Mr. and Mrs. Walter Stuart Brown
    Inner: Mr. and Mrs. Brown
    Jane and Paul
  • TO AN UNMARRIED COUPLE AT THE SAME ADDRESS receive one invitation with names written on separate lines in alphabetical order.
    Outer: Miss (or Ms.) Emily Jones
    Inner: Miss (or Ms.) Jones
    Mr. Williams
  •  TO A SINGLE WOMAN, PLEASE NOTE: on a formal invitation, Ms. used for an unmarried woman 21 or over.Outer: Miss (or Ms.) Emily Jones
    Inner: Miss (or Ms.) Jones
  • TO A SINGLE MAN
    Outer: Mr. John Williams
    Inner: Mr. Williams
  • TO A WIDOW, OR A SEPARATE WOMAN
    Outer: Mrs. Walter Stuart Brown
    Inner: Mrs. Brown

How to Properly Address Your Wedding Invitations by DM Paper Designs

 

  • TO A DIVORCEE WHO IS STILL USING HER FORMER HUSBAND’S NAME
    Outer: Mrs. (or Ms.) Smith Robertson or Mrs. (or Ms.) Barbara Smith Robertson (Smith being her maiden name)
    Inner: Mrs. (or Ms.) Robertson
  • TO A MARRIED COUPLE WHEN THE WIFE USES HER MAIDEN NAME
    Outer: Ms. Emily Jones and Mr. John Williams (Both names are on the same line)
    Inner: Ms. Jones and Mr. Williams
  • TO A SINGLE MAN OR WOMAN AND GUEST
    Outer: Mr. John Williams
    Inner: Mr. Williams and Guest
  • TO A MARRIED COUPLE, BOTH DOCTOR
    Outer: The Doctors Williams
    Inner: The Doctors Williams
  • TO A MARRIED COUPLE, WIFE IS A DOCTOR
    Outer: Doctor Emily Jones and Mr. John Williams (She kept her maiden name) or Doctor Emily Williams and Mr. John Williams
    Inner: Doctor Jones and Mr. Williams (She kept her maiden name) or Doctor Williams and Mr. Williams
  • CHILDREN OVER AGE EIGHTEEN each receive his or her own invitation
  • OTHER ADULT RELATIVES who reside in the household should each receive his or her own invitation

How to Properly Address Your Wedding Invitations by DM Paper Designs

DM Paper Designs was born and grew from a love for creative unique invitations and stationery which are a joy to send and receive! We design and produce each order based on the customer’s vision for their event, whether it be a wedding, corporate event or fundraiser, bar/bat mitzvah, quinceanera, birthday party, new baby, or any other event requiring an invitation, announcement, stationery or printed piece.

To learn more about DM Paper Designs, visit their WeddingInviteLove Profile , website or blog. Connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.

Do you have any questions about invitation addressing? Add them below!


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  • Deborah

    I am also a custom invitation designer, and I am a stickler for following the correct formats, however, I am currently dealing with a customer who insists on having her address format in the following:
    Mr. James and Mrs. Catherine Walton
    I have advised her that this is not a correct format, however she is quite insistent that it is.
    What would your advice be?

    • torbot

      sack her in the face

    • weddinglovely

      Unfortunately as they’re the client, I would advise gently that it’s the incorrect format but if they insist, then let them have their way.

  • Allesandra

    How would I address an invitation to a single (divorced) parent who has sole custody of children under eighteen?

    • weddinglovely

      We’d recommend “Ms. Emily Jones” or “Mr. John Williams” (depending on gender), with the inner envelope with children names if they’re invited. Hope that helps!

  • Allesandra

    How would you address a couple in which the husband is the third or fourth in a line of men with the same name. Would it be formatted “Mr. and Mrs. Walter Stuart Brown III” or differently?

    • weddinglovely

      Yup! Make sure to use roman numerals for III, IV, etc.

      • Allesandra

        And for the inner envelope it would be “Mr. and Mrs. Brown III”? Or simply “Mr. and Mrs. Brown”?

        • weddinglovely

          As you’re not mentioning the husband’s first name in the inner envelope, we’d recommend “Mr. and Mrs. Brown”

  • ashley

    The return address on my wedding invitation: should I spell out 35 hidden wells drive or thirty-five hidden wells drive??

    • weddinglovely

      If you’re having a super formal/black tie event, we’d recommend “Thirty Five” u2014 however, if you’re less formal, for return addresses “35” should be fine.

  • Tanica

    How to I address 3 Adults (family members) at the same address? Are 3 separate invites necessary?

    • weddinglovely

      Generally yes u2014 three separate invitations are necessary, if the family members aren’t married.

  • erin

    Do I write out Extension or use Ext if the address has it?

    • weddinglovely

      We’d recommend writing out Extension!

  • erin

    And do I write out district of Columbia for DC?

    • weddinglovely

      Yes!

  • dosgrandeburrito

    what about numero (u2116 ) instead of apartment?

    • weddinglovely

      Write it out! :)

  • jen

    If they have an apartment number in their address, should I place that on a separate line below their street address or separate by using a comma after their street adress? For example:nMs. Gina Harmsn1010 South 60th StreetnApartment 10nnnornnnMs. Gina Harmsn1010 South 60th Street, Apartment 10

    • weddinglovely

      Same line, if it fits!

  • clong126

    Should the city St. Louis be spelled out Saint Louis?

    • weddinglovely

      As far as we can tell, Saint Louis.

  • Judy

    How to address outer and inner envelopes when both are Reverends (ministers)?

  • Judy

    How to address outer envelope when man is a Bishop in the church and is referred to as The Right Reverend and the wife will be invited, also?

  • Jess

    Can I write Mr. and Mrs. John and Jane Doe? I hate the idea of just eliminating the woman’s name just because she’s married. Also, is it okay to write The Smith Family? My sister has four kids and it really doesn’t fit!

    • weddinglovely

      We agree! Mr. and Mrs. John and Jane Doe works just as well. Also agree on “The Smith Family” :)

  • Susan

    For the invitation itself, does the date and time need to be written out or are numbers okay?

    • weddinglovely

      It’s generally recommended to write them out! For example “The nineteenth of December at seven o’clock in the evening.” The exception is if you’re having a really casual wedding, where it matters less.

  • Margaret

    Should Washington, DC be written Washington, District of Columbia

    • weddinglovely

      Unless you have a super casual event, use District of Columbia.

  • Denise

    You mentioned not abbreviating North, South, West and East, but what about Southwest,ect. Should I spell it our or use SW?

    • weddinglovely

      Spell it out. :)

  • Carina

    Would you recommend using “Thirty Six and One Half Street” or “36 1/2 Street”?

    • weddinglovely

      Spelled out!

  • Carina

    And is it “Post Office Box” instead of “P.O. Box”?

    • weddinglovely

      Yes, spell it out for any wedding event with formality. :)

  • Melissa

    Is it okay to use “The Blank Family” if the family has young kids?

    • weddinglovely

      I believe so, yes.

  • Nanette Dondero

    What would you recommend for guest who hold Academia Doctorates?

    • weddinglovely

      If they have a Dr. title, that should go on the invitation!

  • Fabulous Collection!!!nAll cards seems so pretty n classy..Awesome collection thanks for share this..

    • weddinglovely

      You’re most welcome!

  • Bonnie

    You don’t have to spell out P.O. Box do you?

    • weddinglovely

      Generally recommended to spell it out (“Post Office Box 3233” etc.) unless you’re having a very informal wedding!

  • Kelli

    For an address containing a county road number, would you recommend spelling out “county road” or is abbreviation “CR” accepted? Also, what about a FM road?

    • weddinglovely

      You should probably spell it out unless it’s a informal wedding!

  • lana branco

    the venue address is 1551 KY 393

  • lana branco

    kinda puzzled how to word it

  • catherine clement

    For an address that includes an apartment, is it proper to include a comma between the word apartment and the number? I’ve seen it both ways. “Apartment, 305” or “Apartment 305”. Which is correct?nnccnc

    • weddinglovely

      I think Apartment 305 is the correct one as there is no need to separate the apartment number! :)

  • francine goldrich

    Is it O.K. to print both return adresses on the back flap of the wedding invitation. The couple has printed their first names on the back (logo style) and instead of one return address is two ok? The divide is also 40 returns for one adress and 140 for the other address. thanks

  • Lynnette Gravel King

    How do you properly address a wedding invitation to a military man and his wife. Colonel Alex Smith and Mrs. Smith or Colonel and Mrs. Alex Smith?

    • weddinglovely

      Formally it’s Colonel Alex Smith and Mrs. Smith followed by their address. :) Hope this helps!

  • Jan

    How do you address a military service person’s address, when it is provided to you as:n5DBN 1STMAR 1STMARDIV PLT CAT6nnand then followed by the Box number and the base, state and zip??

    • weddinglovely

      Since getting invitations to the person is more important than etiquette, I would recommend to send the invitation using the address as given. :)

  • Jan

    How do you address a military person’s invitation when the address you’ve been given is full of abbreviations; for example:n5DBN 1STMAR 1STMARDIV PLT CAT6nnfollowed by the box number, base, state and zipn

  • Great list of tips, especially in today’s age with so many mixed families!nnDebin

    • weddinglovely

      Thank you! :)

  • Chris

    How do you address an unmarried couple with kids at the same address?

    • weddinglovely

      For unmarried couples with kids, have their names listed on separate lines. The kids will also have a separate line for their names. Hope this helps! :)

  • Carrie

    My fiancu00e9 and I live together. How would I address the return address on the back of the envelope? We are hosting the wedding. Do I put both of our full names or just first names? And does my name go first or his?

    • weddinglovely

      This is where you can choose your preference u2014 the most formal would probably be his name first, both full names. But that isn’t a rule, just the most formal way to do it. I’d say to do what feels best for you!

  • Danielle

    In regard to a pastor, would it be Pastor and Mrs. John Smith? Or Pastor John and Mrs. Jane Smith?

  • Danielle

    Oh, and also, my brother has seven kids, which is a lot of names to include on the envelope (We’re not doing inner envelopes), so would it be Mr. John Smith and Family, Mr and Mrs John Smith and Family, Mr John and Mrs Jane Smith and Family or The Smith Family? n(Etiquette can be so confusing! Lol)

  • dacia schuetz

    Useful article . I loved the details – Does someone know if my company might be able to access a blank MA T21844 document to edit ?

  • raquel salinas

    Example: Jane A Smith or Jane A. Smith Would rather not type out middle name because it looks so long.