Few people know the rules for addressing envelopes, and even fewer are offended by a well-intentioned yet imperfectly written address. Nevertheless, those individuals who know the rules appreciate proper envelope etiquette, and a perfectly-addressed envelope will leave a favorable impression of the sender. There are several rules to observe when addressing an envelope to your Reverend and his or her husband or wife.
On Outer Envelopes
Spell out the complete word “Reverend” and precede it by “The.” For example: “The Reverend John Smith.” If the Reverend is a doctor, it is acceptable to abbreviate the word “doctor” as “Dr.” For example: “The Reverend Dr. John Smith.” If the Reverend is a judge, spell out the word “Honorable” and precede it by “The.” You may abbreviate “Reverend” as “Rev.” if there is no room for the complete title. For example: “The Honorable Rev. John Smith” or “The Honorable Rev. Dr. John Smith.”
Write out the word “and” followed by “Mrs.” and the Reverend’s name, if the Reverend has a wife you are also addressing. For example: “The Reverend and Mrs. John Smith.” This rule applies even with the additional titles explained above. If the wife is a doctor, include her first name, for example “The Reverend John and Dr. Jane Smith.” If the wife is a judge but the Reverend is not, her name and title comes first. For example: “The Honorable Jane and Reverend John Smith.” Rev. may be abbreviated in this case. If both husband and wife are reverends, write “The Reverends Jane and John Smith. The husband’s name always comes before the surname.
Write out the word “and” followed by “Mr.” if the female reverend has a husband who you are also addressing. For example: “The Reverend Jane Smith and Mr. John Smith.” All above rules for additional titles apply in this case.
Address the envelope as usual, with regards to street number and name, city, state and zip code. For formal invitations, do not abbreviate street types or state names. For example, “123 North Main Street, Anytown, New York” as opposed to “123 N. Main St. / Anytown, NY.
On Inner Envelopes
Write out the full name “Reverend,” and write all other titles according to the guidelines for outer envelopes. Leave out the first names for both husband and wife. For example: “The Reverend Smith” or “The Honorable Rev. Dr. Smith” or “The Reverend and Mrs. Smith” or “The Reverend and Mr. Smith.”
Write out the first names of invited children under 18 on the second line, in order of age from oldest to youngest. Children over 18 should receive a separate invite.
For example: The Reverend and Mrs. Smith John, James, and Rebecca
Write the children’s names on the second line of the outer envelope, if not including an inner envelope. Use the same format described above.