Wedding etiquette dictates that invitations should be sent out eight weeks prior to the wedding.  The wedding invitation wording on the card has been finalized, and now it’s time to figure out how to address wedding invitations on the inside and outside envelopes.  There are etiquette rules for each name designation.

To a Married Couple With the Same Last Name

For a heterosexual couple, use “Mr.” and “Mrs.” and spell out the husband’s first and last name. For a same-sex couple, either name can go first.

  • Outer envelope: “Mr. and Mrs. William Sullivan”
  • Inner envelope: “Mr. and Mrs. Sullivan” or “William and Elizabeth”

Many modern women may have a strong aversion to having their name left out and lumped in with their husbands. If you are a couple that is sensitive to this:

  • Outer envelope: “Mr. Thomas Sullivan and Mrs. Elizabeth Sullivan”
  • Inner envelope: “Mr. Sullivan and Mrs. Sullivan” or “William and Elizabeth”

To a Married Couple With Different Last Names

For a heterosexual couple, write their names on the same line with the woman’s name first.  If the combined names are too long to fit on one line, list them separately.

  • Outer envelope: “Ms. Julie Bennett and Mr. David  Roberts”
  • Inner envelope: “Ms. Bennett and Mr. Roberts” or “Julie and David”

To a Married Couple With One Hyphenated Last Name

In the case of a spouse who has chosen to hyphenate their last name, then they should be addressed using the following:

  • Outer envelope: “Mr. Anthony White and Mr. Brian Smith-White”
  • Inner envelope: “Mr. White and Mr. Smith-White” or “Anthony and Brian”

To an Unmarried Couple

Invitations to a couple who are unmarried but live at the same address are addressed to both people on one line. List the person whom you are closest to first.

  • Outer envelope: “Mr. Alexander  Thompson and Ms. Amanda Whitehead”
  • Inner envelope: “Mr. Thompson and Ms. Whitehead” or “Alexander and Amanda”

To a Single Female

Use “Ms.” if she is over age 18. If she is younger, then “Miss” is the acceptable choice; it should be spelled out, not abbreviated as an initial.

  • Outer envelope: “Ms. Barbara Lee” or “Miss Barbara Lee ” (if she is younger than 18)
  • Inner envelope: “Ms. Lee” or “Miss Chen” or “Barbara”

To a Single Male

Use “Mr.” if he is over 18. Otherwise, no title is necessary.

  • Outer envelope: “Mr. Peter Greene”
  • Inner envelope: “Mr. Greene” or “Peter”

To a Married Couple, One of Whom Is a Doctor

If the combined names are too long to fit on one line, list them separately. Spell out “doctor” on the outer envelope, and abbreviate it on the inner.

  • Outer envelope: “Doctor Patricia Reed and Ms. Christina Thomas”
  • Inner envelope: “Dr. Reed and Ms. Thomas” or “Patricia and Christina”

To a Married Couple, Both of Whom Are Doctors

In the case of married doctors, it is proper to use: “The Doctors.”

  • Outer envelope: “The Doctors Russell” or “Drs. Joseph and Jacqueline Russell”
  • Inner envelope: “The Doctors Russell” or “Joseph and Jacqueline”

In the case of married doctors and one has chosen to hyphenate: If both titles don’t fit on one line, indent the second line.

  • Outer envelope: “Doctor Joseph Russell and Doctor Jacqueline Briggs-Smith”
  • Inner envelope: “Dr. Russell and Dr. Briggs-Smith” or “Joseph and Jacqueline”

To a Couple With Distinguished Titles Other Than Doctors

Apply the same rules for military personnel, judges, reverends, etc., that you use for doctors. If both titles don’t fit on one line, indent the second line. And remember that whichever half of the couple “outranks” the other (say, a doctor, member of the military, or some other profession that includes a title) goes first, regardless of gender.

  • Outer envelope: “The Honorable Rebecca Woods and Mr. Jason Wood” or “Captains Rebecca and Jason Woods, US Navy”
  • Inner envelope: “Judge Woods and Mr. Woods” or “The Captains Woods”
If you’re addressing someone who is an attorney, use “Esq.” after their name. Example: Jane Anderson , Esq.

To a Family, Including Children

When inviting an entire family, the family name or the parents’ names should be listed alone, and everyone can be included on the inside.

When including female children under the age of 18, address them with a Miss.

  • Outer envelope: “The McCormick Family” or “Mr. and Mrs. Allen McCormick” or “Mr. Allen McCormick and Mrs. Ellen McCormick”
  • Inner Envelope: “Allen, Ellen, Robert, Chase, Miss Ashley, and Miss Lillian”