Wedding Envelope Etiquette

Wedding Envelope Etiquette

Following proper etiquette is a must while sending invitations for a wedding. You do not wish to hurt your guests on the most important day of your life. This article guides you through common addressing etiquette for your wedding invitations.
A wedding is supposed to be one of the happiest days of a person's life, a melange of emotions and a hope for a new future together. Etiquette on the other hand exudes strict, emotionless formality. Addressing your guests is an issue that you need to think about to avoid offending or upsetting anyone on your wedding.

Traditionally, wedding invitations include two envelopes: the outer one and the inner one. The outer one is for the formal name and mailing address of the recipients while the inner one is less formal with only the names of the guests. The return address is mentioned on the back flap of the outer envelope. The idea behind this protocol was that the mail was often received by the servants of the house, who would separate wedding invitations from the other mail. They would then remove the outer envelope and hand the inner envelope to their employers. Since the invitation had already reached its destination, there was no need for the outer envelope. Although the practice of getting mail through servants has become obsolete now, the tradition still continues. However, some couples prefer to send an outer envelope with the formal name and postal address of their guests.

Wedding Envelope Addressing Etiquette

Addressing people on invitations has never been this complicated. But with the emergence of gay marriages, live-in relationships, and with divorce rates reaching an all time high, addressing your guests has become quite confusing. Moreover, you also have to take their professional titles into consideration. Given below are some possible combinations of addressing your guests.

Married couple living in the same house

Outer Envelope:
Mr. and Mrs. Robert Smith
(Address)

Inner Envelope:
Mr. and Mrs. Smith

Married couple living in the same house with children under 18 years of age

Outer Envelope:
Mr. and Mrs. Robert Smith
Alex and Susan (eldest first)
(Address)

Inner Envelope:
Mr. and Mrs. Smith
Alex and Susan

Children above 18 years should be sent separate invites even if they are staying with their parents. If the woman retains her maiden name she could be addressed similar to an unmarried woman as given below.

Unmarried couple living in the same house

Outer Envelope:
Ms. Caroline Jones
Mr. David McGregor

(Address)

Inner Envelope:
Ms. Jones
Mr. McGregor


A couple that does not stay together should be sent separate invites. Also, a divorced couple should be sent separate invites. The woman can be addressed by whatever name she retains after her divorce.

Single individual with guest

If you wish to invite a friend who you know is seeing someone or is engaged, it would be appropriate to find out the name of the concerned person. You can either send that person a separate invite, or address them together as an unmarried couple. If you are not able to find the name of the concerned individual, it is acceptable to address him or her as 'guest'.

Outer Envelope:
Ms. Caroline Jones
(Address)


Inner Envelope:
Ms. Jones and Guest

Gay Couple

If the couple stays together they should be sent a single invite with both their names appearing on the envelope in an alphabetical order.

Outer Envelope:
Mr. Malcolm Filch
Mr. Simon O'Connor

(Address)

Inner Envelope:
Mr. Filch
Mr. O'Connor


The etiquette for addressing on an envelope may vary slightly according to your country and tradition. If you are still confused about how to address your guests, let your common sense guide you.
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