Once you nail down your wedding date and book your stationer, it’s time to begin drafting your guest list. Brushing up on the rules of wedding envelope addressing etiquette as you gather your guests’ addresses, ensures your list is properly formatted. I offer both calligraphy guest addressing and digital envelope printing for all my clients. I always request that they double-check their list for proper formatting and etiquette.
The rules of envelope addressing etiquette can be confusing. The rules of etiquette are based on a few key considerations: the guest’s marital status, title, and living situation.
You may be wondering if following the rules of etiquette is important in our modern culture. I say a resounding “YES!” for a couple of reasons. First, taking the time to thoughtfully consider each guest’s specific situation honors. Second, correct formatting clearly identifies who is invited to the wedding and helps you avoid awkward conversations down the line.
Modern couples are choosing to use a single outer envelope instead of a formal setup which includes both an inner and outer envelope. Because of this, the examples I present below follow the etiquette for a single outer envelope.
How many invitations should I order?
Because not every guest will need their own invitation, guest count and invitation quantity are two different numbers. In general, I recommend you order one invitation suite per household, but there are a few exceptions to this rule.
Traditional etiquette dictates the following exceptions to the “one per household” rule:
- Children over 18 years old, who still live at home with their parents should receive their own invitation.
- Unmarried couples who are not living together should each receive their own invitation if both partners are invited guests (no plus one).
- Adult roommates should each receive their own invitation, so long as they are all invited guests (not someone’s plus one).
If your budget allows, plus one’s are a great way for your guests to feel more comfortable at your wedding. Etiquette indicates that if you know the name of your guest’s plus one, you should use it on the envelope, following the name of your guest. The words “and guest” can be written after your guest’s name if the plus one seat is open-ended.
Envelope Addressing Etiquette: Single Guests
Envelope Addressing Etiquette: Honorifics
Honorifics are often where the confusion begins. An honorific is a title that conveys respect for the guest’s position or rank. These titles, as well as gender and/or the guest’s relationship to you, determine how you present the guests’ names on the envelopes. When you address your guests by their correct or preferred titles, you recognize their importance to you. Your wedding invitations help set the tone for a thoughtful and meaningful wedding.
Titles such as “Doctor” or “The Honorable” should be spelled out. Courtesy titles such as “Mr.” or “Mrs.” are generally abbreviated.
The correct title for non-binary individuals (those who identify as “they”) is “Mx.” If you’re ever unsure what pronouns your guest uses, just ask them! They will appreciate you going the extra mile to get it right.
Envelope Addressing Etiquette: Formatting
Always spell out the elements of an address on a wedding invitation envelope. This includes street names and state names. You can reference this blog post for more information on wedding invitation etiquette and grammar. As always, refer to the queen of etiquette herself, Emily Post.
If you encounter any other sticky addressing situations, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can help you best format it for the situation! Happy Addressing!