Wedding Envelope Addressing Etiquette

Envelope Addressing Etiquette - Tips For Getting That Wedding Address List Written In No Time - True North Paper Co.

Alright, we’re just going to start this post off with a little confession time - I’ve put off writing an envelope blog post for so SO long, and have been a little apprehensive to write about it since I think my thoughts about envelope etiquette aren’t necessarily the norm. I’m not one to get caught up on the etiquette of something or the way that “it should be done”, I’m more of a “do what works for you”. If you want to address your envelopes in a formal matter go for it. But hey, you want to keep it super casual? Go for that as well! If I were to ever get something in the mail that someone else might look at and say “Wow, the etiquette on this is wrong”, you know what, I don’t care. There, I said it.

But I do not want to make sure you understand that me saying I don’t care how your envelopes are addressed does not mean I don’t care about the process, my clients, or the actual calligraphy itself. Quite the opposite - addressing envelopes is my favourite calligraphy project to work on, and I love working with clients to make sure that their envelopes are a reflection of them and their wedding day. What I mean by I don’t care is if you want to follow really formal etiquette rules then go for it, but if you don’t, that’s totally fine with me too!

So with me really being on board the do-what-works-for-you train, I’ve been a little apprehensive about writing a blog post on etiquette telling you how it should and shouldn’t be done. But with that, I do admit that figuring out the different options for writing out addresses can be really hard. Who’s name do you typically write first? Do you abbreviate words such as Road and Street? And on and on it could go, right!? And that’s where the motivation for this post came. I want you guys to have a resource where you can get information for any kind of envelopes (formal to casual to the in-between) and be confident when it comes to how you arrange your addresses. I hope it will be helpful, and that you can gather the info you need to get that address list made in no time!


We’re going to start this off by going over some tips to keep in mind, and then from there, we’ll dive into various options for addressing envelopes.


- Keep it consistent - if you are addressing your envelopes with courtesy titles (i.e. Mr. and Mrs.) and then first and last names, keep that consistent throughout all the envelopes. Don’t switch to just courtesy names and last names halfway through. Whatever you decide, keep it consistent through all the way through.


- Let the tone of your addressing be a reflection of the tone of your wedding day. If you’re having a more laid back and casual wedding, addressing your envelopes in the most formal way possible might not make the most sense. Likewise, if you’re having a very formal wedding, addressing your envelopes in a more casual way will set the wrong tone for the day.


- Courtesy Title Abbreviation Meanings:

Mr. - Married or unmarried man

Mrs. - Married woman

Ms. - Unmarried woman

Miss - Unmarried woman under 18


- Shorten courtesy titles such as Mr. and Mrs., but spell out Doctor.


- Spell out words such as Drive, Street, Avenue etc. and Cities and States/Provinces.


- If you know who your guest is bringing as their date include their name on the invitation.


- Send separate invitations to children who are over 18 and are living at home.


- Send separate invitations to adults who are not romantically involved but live at the same address (i.e. roommates).

Addressing Etiquette

For these examples, I’ve provided several options for each, ranging from more formal to more casual. But if there is another way you want to address your envelopes that you don’t see on here - go for it, but hopefully, these will still act as a good guideline!  

Envelope Addressing Guidelines - Wedding Envelope Etiquette - True North Paper Co.

To a Married Couple

Option 1: Use courtesy titles and then spell out the husband’s first and last name.

I.e. Mr. and Mrs. David Beckham


Option 2: Include both the husband and the wife's first name, and then the last name.

I.e. Mr. David and Mrs. Victoria Beckham


Option 3: Sticking with just the courtesy titles and last names

I.e. Mr. and Mrs. Beckham


Option 4: Simply, first and last names

I.e. David and Victoria Beckham


Inner Envelope: If you’re including an outer and inner envelope the outer envelope is the more formal option and then the inner envelope less so.

Ie. Outer envelope: Mr. and Mrs. David Beckham

Inner Envelope: Mr. and Mrs. Beckham or simply David and Victoria


Married Couple with Different Last Names

There are different ways to approach who to list first - you could either list the person you’re closest to first, or arrange the names in alphabetical order.


Option 1: Use courtesy titles and then spell out the first and last name of each spouse

I.e. Mr. John Krasinski and Mrs. Emily Blunt


Option 2: Sticking with just the courtesy titles and last names of each spouse.

I.e. Mr. Krasinski and Mrs. Blunt


Option 3: First and last name of each spouse

I.e. John Krasinski and Emily Blunt


Wedding Envelope Etiquette - Tips for Addressing Envelopes - True North Paper Co

Married Couple with Hyphenated Last Names

Option 1: Use courtesy titles and then spell out the first and last name of each spouse.

I.e. Mr. Ben Wyatt and Mrs. Leslie Knope-Wyatt


Option 2: Sticking with just the courtesy titles and last names of each spouse.

I.e. Mr. Wyatt and Mrs. Knope-Wyatt


Option 3: First and last name of each spouse.

I.e. Ben Wyatt and Leslie Knope-Wyatt


Wedding Envelope Addressing Etiquette - Black Envelope with White Ink - True North Paper Co.

Unmarried Couple

Both names should be listed on the envelope, with the person you are closest to first.

Option 1: Courtesy Titles and First and Last Names

Ms. Rory Gilmore and Mr. Jess Mariano


Option 2: Courtesy Titles and last names

Ms. Gilmore and Mr. Mariano


Option 3: First and last names

Rory Gilmore and Jess Mariano


To a couple with Titles

If one person in the couple has a title (i.e. Doctor, Reverend, or military personnel etc.) write their name first.


To a Divorced Female

Best practice is to use either Ms. or Mrs. and then the last name they prefer to go by, whether it is their former married last name or their maiden name.


Envelope Addressing Etiquette Guidelines - Wedding Prep - Inner and Outer Envelopes - True North Paper Co.

To Families

If you’re using two envelopes (inner and outer), mention children on the inner envelope not the outer.


Outer and Inner Envelope

Outer: Mr. and Mrs. Sean Lowe OR Mr. Sean and Mrs. Catherine Lowe OR Mr. and Mrs. Lowe OR Sean and Catherine Lowe OR The Lowe Family

Inner: Sean, Catherine, Samuel, and Isaiah (children’s names) or The Lowe Family


Just Outer Envelope:

Mr. and Mrs. Sean Lowe, Mr. Sean and Mrs. Catherine Lowe,  Mr. and Mrs. Lowe, or Sean and Catherine Lowe on the first line and then children’s names written on a separate line


The Lowe Family


Individual with Guest

If you’re using outer and inner envelopes, address the outer to the person you know, and then include “and guest” on the inner envelope.


Ie. Outer: “Mr. Christ Pratt” or “Mr. Chris Pratt” or “Chris Pratt”

Inner: “Mr. Chris Pratt and Guest” or “Chris Pratt and Guest”


It’s hard to cover all the etiquette for every scenario that you might come across when addressing envelopes, but I hope this guide was still helpful and answered some questions for you. And remember you do what works you - if you like to keep things formal, do that! But if you’d like your envelopes addressed more casually - no shame there! Do what you want and what accurately sets the tone for your wedding day.

If you have any further questions, shoot me an email! And if you’re interested in getting your envelopes addressed (you’re making a good choice ;)), head here!


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