How to Address Wedding Invitations

You’ve invested time, money, and care into choosing wedding invitations that reflect your personal style and tone of the wedding. The final step: addressing the envelopes!

It seems straightforward: title, name, address. But as you scan your guest list, you may find yourself with questions. We’re here to help! Read on for guidelines for every type of guest we can think of. And if we’re missing one, leave a comment and we’ll add it!

wedding invite
Image Source: Etsy

Why this matters:

The way you address the envelope is intended to honor your guests and provide clarity about who is invited to your wedding. Taking time to thoughtfully address your envelopes will ensure that every guest feels respected, and that they know who in their household is included!

General Guidelines:

  • Include a title (Mr., Ms., etc.) along with the guest’s full name.
  • For formal invitations, do not use nicknames or abbreviations for any part of the address (like street or state names)
  • It’s ok to use digits for house numbers, zip codes, etc.

Table of Contents:

Single Envelope Invitations:

  1. Married Couple
  2. Married Couple with Different Last Names
  3. Single Man
  4. Single Woman
  5. Single Guest with +1
  6. Unmarried Couple
  7. Same Gender Married Couple
  8. Families with Children

Double Envelope Invitations:

  1. Married Couple
  2. Married Couple with Different Last Names
  3. Single Guest
  4. Single Guest with +1
  5. Unmarried Couple Living Together
  6. Same Gender Married Couple
  7. Families with Children

Other Categories and Considerations

(doctors, widows, nonbinary guests, and more)

Single Envelope Invitations

Traditionally, formal wedding invitations have included both outer and inner envelopes (more on that later). Yet 84% of brides I surveyed on our @askarealbride Instagram page are skipping this tradition and going with single envelopes! Because of that landslide vote, let’s start with guidelines for single envelope invitations:

Married Couple:

Married Couple single envelope wedding invite

Married couple where woman has kept maiden name:

If a married woman has chosen not to change her last name, list the woman’s name first, joined to her husband’s with “and.”

Wedding invite - Married with Different  Last Names

Single Man:

single man wedding invitation

Single Woman:

single woman and guest example
single wedding invite

Miss or Ms.?

“Miss” refers to an unmarried woman of any age, though at a certain point, some adult women find this term a little juvenile. Hence “Ms.” which doesn’t signal marital status. There’s no consensus on an age when a woman transitions from “Miss,” to, “Ms.” Some guidelines put the age at 18, while others say it depends on the individual. You’ll have to use your judgment on what your unmarried, female friends would prefer!

Single Friend with a +1:

wedding invite - single and man and guest
wedding invite - single woman

Add the words, “and guest” (all lowercase) after the guest’s name.

Couples who are not married:

If the couple lives together, list their names on separate lines. List the guest with whom you share a closer relationship first, OR if you are friends with both, list by alphabetical order of last name.

wedding invite for unmarried couple

If the couple does not live together, you could either send the invitation to your friend with the words “and guest,” or send each an invitation at their individual addresses.

Same Gender Married Couple:

List names in alphabetical order by last name.

wedding invite - Same Gender Outer Envelope
wedding invite - Same Gender Envelope

If one spouse has taken the other’s last name, you can either address them as “The Thompsons” or “Mrs. and Mrs. Thompson.” If you’re not sure about either option, you can ask! Say: “As I plan wedding details, I want to honor you and [insert spouse’s name]. Can you let me know how you like to see your full names and titles in print?”

Family with Children Under 18:

List parents’ names first, then children’s first names by age:

wedding invitation for family with kids

Family with Children Over 18:

Children over age 18, even if living at home, should receive their own invitation. If combining invitations for two children over 18, list names by age:

wedding invitation - children over 18
double envelope wedding invitation
Image source: Etsy

Double-Envelope Invitations

Formal invitations traditionally include two envelopes: an outer envelope to weather any damage incurred during mailing, and an inner envelope that would remain “pristine” for presentation to the guest.

Only 16% of the brides I surveyed on @askarealbride are going with double envelopes, but that number may be shifting: over half of those brides also voted that they’d like to learn more! So here we go!

Double envelopes follow the same guidelines for name order and separate lines as single envelopes.

The major differences for inner envelopes: you generally drop first names, and add information like “and guest” and children’s names here instead of on the outer envelope.

Married Couple:

Outer envelope has both titles and the gentleman’s first name. For the inner envelope, drop the gentleman’s first name.

married couple wedding invite

Married Couple with Different Last Names:

Ladies first! Connect both full names with “and.” For the inner envelope, drop both first names.

Single Guest:

address single wedding guest on envelope

Single Guest with +1:

If using an inner envelope, this is the place to add “and guest” instead of the outer envelope.

single man and guest wedding invite

Unmarried Couple Living Together

List the names on separate lines, but this time, the woman’s name always goes first!

couple living together wedding invite

Same Gender Married Couple:

same gender wedding invite

Families with Children under 18

Include childrens’ names on inner envelope only:

wedding invite with family

Other Categories and Considerations:

What if someone on your guest list doesn’t fall neatly into any of the categories listed above?

Divorced Guests

If divorced yet still retaining her married name, use either “Mrs.” or “Ms.” with her first name:

Mrs. Julia Barton

Ms. Julia Barton

If she is using her maiden name, use “Ms.”

Ms. Julia Moore (maiden name)

Widowed Guests

Traditionally, widows keep their husband’s last name until they remarry.

Mrs. James Pierce (formal)

Mrs. Mallory Pierce


If the man is a doctor and his wife is not:

Doctor and Mrs. Justin Park

If the woman is a doctor and her husband is not:

Doctor Stacy Hampton and Mr. Ryan Adams

If both are doctors and share the same last name:

The Doctors Adams

Doctor Stacy Adams and Doctor Ryan Adams

If both are doctors with different last names:

Doctor Stacy Hampton and Doctor Ryan Adams

All other titles (military, judicial, etc.)

Use the same rules listed above for doctors. The person with the “higher” title should be listed first.

Non-Binary Guests

You could use the title Mx. as an alternative to Mr. or Mrs. But the best course of action may be to ask your friend about it directly. Say, “As I plan wedding details, I want to honor you. Can you let me know how you like to see your full name and title in print?”

Married Couples where the husband has taken his wife’s name

Pluralize their last name: “The Smiths,” or reach out and ask! “I want to honor you and [insert spouse’s name]. Can you let me know how you like to see your names and titles in print?” Chances are that they expect and welcome questions about their nontraditional choice!

Who did we miss?

Is there a category you’d like to see? Leave a comment with your envelope inquiry, and we’ll find you the answer!

2 thoughts on “How to Address Wedding Invitations

  1. Please check out the married couples with different last names inner envelope. Aren’t the first names deleted?
    I love your blog/ info! Spreading etiquette that is so helpful to everyone! Thank you!!

  2. Thank you so much for your comment, Becky! You are correct-I mistakenly placed two outer envelopes in the image. The image has been updated to remove the first names! We are so glad you’re enjoying the blog!

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