Etiquette on Addressing Invitations


Wedding invitations are typically a fancy affair. At the least they are of higher quality and printing than your average piece of mail. Addressing wedding invitations requires a bit of diligence because there is a proper way to do it. Wedding etiquette comes with its own set of niceties, and addressing the invitations is among them. A few simple tips will soon have you following proper protocol.


  • Most wedding invitations come with an inner and outer envelope. The outer envelope is the more formally addressed of the two, and also includes the home or business address of the recipients. This should also indicate to the recipients who is invited to the affair. For example, an invitation addressed to Mr. and Mrs. Robert Smith should indicate that Mr. and Mrs. Smith are the only ones invited. Should you wish to include their children, Bobby and Mary Smith, you should address the envelope as follows. "Mr. and Mrs. Robert Smith and Family." Never assume, however, if it is only Mr. and Mrs. Smith that you've invited, that they won't assume they can bring the kids. This is hopefully handled in yet another step.


  • The inner envelope included with wedding invitations can be less formal. For example, if you know Mr. and Mrs. Robert Smith quite well, the inside envelope can simply read "Bob and Ann." If little Bobby and Mary are included in the invite, write "Bob, Ann, Bobby and Mary."
    If you've invited a single, divorced or widowed friend or family member, your inner envelope should include the opportunity to bring a guest. If you know that your widowed Aunt Susan has been dating a man named Al for the past year, go ahead and address her inside envelope to "Aunt Susan and Al." Al's name doesn't appear on the outside envelope unless they are married or in a committed relationship.


  • Many RSVP cards leave a blank space to fill in your names, checking off that you will or won't attend, and sometimes even your choice of chicken or fish for the reception meal. If you are concerned that Bob and Ann will automatically assume that Bobby and Mary are invited, even though their names don't appear on either the inside or outside envelope, this is your last chance to set the record straight. In the blank space, you may write in "Bob and Ann Smith," and in the slot for writing the number of guests, you can write the number 2. If this doesn't clearly state your wishes, it's likely you'll have to speak with them to make your intentions known.

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