It seems like nothing about stationery is more confusing than the question “how do I address these things?”
So, let’s talk about what should go on the outside of your envelopes!
First of all, it’s important to mention again that etiquette has been evolving over the past few years, so this format is no longer set in stone. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!
Did you know that only the names of those who are invited should be on the envelope? If you are sending (or receiving) an envelope with only one name on it, that means that one person is the only person invited. Many couples have told me horror stories told to them by friends where cousin Joe showed up with someone that he has been dating for 3 weeks, and did not RSVP for either of them. These stories make us in the industry shudder, so we cannot stress this “envelope is your ticket” view enough!
Here at Wedding Design by Anika, we are able to print your guests names and addresses onto your envelopes. So, save your hands from hours of hand lettering! We provide all of our envelope printing orders with an Excel spreadsheet laid out exactly how we need it from couples. That part, at least, is easy enough! Fill it out properly and send it back. Then proof the design when we send it to you. Boom, done!
But, how do you enter the names of the guests? Well, it depends on how formal you would like to be!
There are two main types of invitation envelopes:
• an inner, which is the standard 7.25”x5.25” envelope
• an outer, which is slightly larger, and is only used if you would like your invitation envelope to not get dirty in the mail
Our clients mostly tend to forgo the outer envelope (it does add on another cost) so, we are going to use examples of what will go on whichever envelope with the address on it!
You may add “and Guest” to these if they are allowed a plus one, but you don’t know the guest’s name
For unmarried females, use their full name:
Miss (or Ms.) Cynthia Smith
For divorced females who use their married name:
Mrs. Norah Matthews
For divorced females who use their maiden name:
Ms. Jessie Bunton
For unmarried males, use their full name:
Mr. Kenneth Klarkson
It is not uncommon today to just use the first and last name and ditch the prefix.
Mr. and Mrs. Edward Johnson
Married Couples where the woman kept her maiden name:
Mr. Johnathan Kline
Miss (or Ms.) Missy George
Unmarried couples who do not live together (send it to whomever lives closest):
Mr. Aiden Hans
Miss (or Ms.) Johanna Abbot
Unmarried couples who live together, alphabetize by last name:
Mr. Jacob Jackson
Miss (or Ms.) Abby Renald
Same-gender couples, alphabetize by last name:
Mr. Neil George
Mr. Kyle Timms
It is not uncommon today to just use the first and last names and ditch the prefix. For non-same sex weddings, you would list the male first.
CHILDREN & FAMILIES
Children over 18 should always receive their own invitation, even if they live at home.
It is perfectly acceptable to list the Parents’ names (as shown above) and add “And Family” on the line underneath.
If you would like to list the children by name, add a line under the parents’ names and list first names only, in order of birth:
Mr. and Mrs. William Bennet
Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Catherine and Lydia
Canada post has listed this as it’s preferred way of addressing:
JIM AND PAM
11-1234 56 STREET SW
EDMONTON AB T6U 8O1
Note the capital letters, left alignment and no punctuation except between the unit number and street address. Also, note the abbreviation for the province and no mention of Canada.
Now, in our opinion, there is a bit of flexibility here. Although every deviation from this means a higher possibility of returns, (we have to say that for liability sake!) we believe it is perfectly acceptable to centre align the text, add lowercase letters and add a comma between the City Name and Province, but the other pieces should remain true.
- Always write out “Street,” “Avenue” out
- Do not use initials
- Spell out the word “and” (and if you don’t, please do not use both “and” as well as the & on one envelope!)
Phew! So much to know!
Remember, if you do have questions, it’s best to double-check with your stationer!
Hope this list helps!