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Wedding Invitation Etiquette: How to Address, Assemble, and Mail Wedding Invitations March 17, 2009

Filed under: Resource Alley — genesiswse @ 8:40 pm

Now that you have your beautiful wedding invitations – what is the proper way to address them? Here are traditional formal guidelines to help you put your address list together properly. Although theses are the traditional guidelines in addressing wedding invitations, they are just that – guidelines, so feel free to deviate from these if you prefer to make your invitations more personal or more casual.

Outer Envelope

Inner Envelope

Single Guests

Unmarried female Miss (or Ms.) Mary Smith Miss (or Ms.) Smith (and Guest)
Divorced female, uses married name Mrs. Mary Smith Mrs. Smith (and Guest)
Divorced female, uses maiden name Miss (or Ms.) Mary Smith Miss (or Ms.) Smith (and Guest)
Unmarried male Mr. John Smith Mr. Smith (and Guest)

Couples

Married Couple Mr. and Mrs. John Smith Mr. and Mrs. Smith
Married Couple – woman kept maiden name Mrs. Mary Smith
Mr. John Jones
Mrs. Smith
Mr. Jones
Unmarried couples who do not live together – send to the closest friend Miss (or Ms.) Mary Smith Miss (or Ms.) Smith
Mr. Jones
Unmarried couples who live together – alphabetical by last name Miss (or Ms.) Mary Smith
Mr. John Jones
Miss (or Ms.) Smith
Mr. Jones
Same gender couples – alphabetical by last name Mr. John Jones
Mr. David Smith
Mr. Jones
Mr. Smith

Children

Child under age 18 Nothing on outer envelope David, Alexis, and Sarah (first names only, oldest to youngest)
Children over 18 – should receive their own invitation, even if still at home Miss Mary Smith or
Mr. John Smith
Miss Smith (and Guest) or
Mr. Smith (and Guest)

Miscellaneous

Judge The Honorable and Mrs. John Smith Judge and Mrs. Smith
Clergy The Reverend John Smith The Reverend Smith
Doctor (medical) Doctor John Smith Doctor Smith (and Guest)
Doctor (PhD) Dr. John Smith Dr. Smith (and Guest)
Married Woman Doctor Doctor Mary Smith
Mr. John Smith
Doctor Smith
Mr. Smith
Married Couple, Both Doctors Doctors John and Mary Smith The Doctors Smith
Officer – Man (active or retired) Colonel and Mrs. John Smith Colonel and Mrs. Smith
Officer – Woman Lieutenant Mary Smith, U.S. Navy
Mr. John Smith
Lieutenant Smith
Mr. Smith

General Information / Addresses & Zip Codes

There is nothing more frustrating than having a beautifully addressed invitation be returned to sender with postage markings all over it because of an incorrect address. These are guidelines to help you put your address list together properly. Although these are the traditional formal guidelines in addressing wedding invitations, they are just that ~ guidelines. Feel free to add your own style.

Nicknames or abbreviations should be avoided when possible except for Mr., Mrs., Jr., etc. You may use an initial if you do not know the full name, or if the person never uses his given name. Cities, states and numbered streets are written out in full (with the exception of D.C.). In regards to addresses, the only optional abbreviations are for Saint (St.) or Mount (Mt.), which can be written either way.

Making sure you have the correct address is paramount. There is nothing more frustrating than having a beautifully addressed invitation returned to sender with postage markings all over it because of an incorrect address or insufficient postage. To check zip codes go on the Internet to http://www.usps.com/zip4 .

Assembling your invitations

The best way to assemble your invitation is to set everything up on a cleared table, in an assembly line fashion – placing them in the order in which they go. No more than two people should be assembling the invitations at the same time (one on each side of the table), because it creates too much confusion. It also makes it easier if you place stamps on all of your response envelopes before you start assembling.
If your invitations are single fold and the wording is on the outside only, insertions are placed on top. If your invitations are multi-fold and/or the wording is inside the fold then insertions are placed inside the first fold.

The insertions go in the following order (from bottom to top):

  • tissue paper
  • reception card
  • map
  • response envelope
  • response card (tucked under the flap of the response envelope)

This is all placed inside the inner envelope, printed side facing the flap. The inner envelope is then placed inside the outer envelope, flap side facing the front of the outer envelope.

Make sure before you begin that every stack has the exact same count. For instance, if you are starting with a stack of 100 invitations, make sure you have a stack of 100 of everything else (tissue paper, reception card, maps, respond envelopes, and respond cards). Start assembling your invitations one at a time, but do not seal the outer envelope. When you are finished, make sure your counts are still even. If you have 4 invitations left, make sure you have 4 of everything else left. This is why you don’t seal the envelopes – if your counts aren’t the same, then you can check the invitations to see which one is either missing an insertion, or has an extra insertion, and still correct it. Once everything is correct, then you can seal your envelopes!

Here’s another great tip – number your guest list, and then number the response cards somewhere inconspicuously (on the back or inside if they are folded) in pencil with numbers that correspond to your guest list. If you receive a response in the mail that is blank (believe it or not, people forget to write their name in all the time), you will know exactly who it is from by cross referencing the number to your guest list!

When should I send out my Invitations?
Invitations should be sent out six to eight weeks before your wedding date. If you have a large number of out of town guests, we suggest eight weeks to give your guests the courtesy of making reservations and securing travel arrangements more economically.

Mailing Your Invitations
When you first receive your invitations, assemble one complete invitation (including the tissue paper, any maps or additional insertions, and the stamp on the return response envelope) and take it to your local Post Office for weight and measurement. Sometimes it’s the size and not the weight which may require more postage than one first class stamp, so we encourage you to take it to the window and have a postal worker weigh and measure it for you. This step can save a lot of aggravation later. Ask to see their selection of wedding stamps and see if they are available as self-stick stamps.
When it is time to mail your invitations, if you hand deliver them to your local post office window, you can request that they be hand canceled with a rubber stamp, instead of by a machine. It makes the front of the envelope look a lot more attractive without the large ugly black postal markings all over it. At our local post office they use a nice maroon colored ink for hand canceling.

That’s it! Enjoy putting your list together and thinking of the close friends and family that will be a part of your special day. Congratulations & Best Wishes!

By Victoria Colcombe

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5 Responses to “Wedding Invitation Etiquette: How to Address, Assemble, and Mail Wedding Invitations”

  1. Andrianna Says:

    wow you really helped me, thanks!!

  2. Simonn Says:

    I truly appreciate you taking the time to share this . Look forward to more posts from you

  3. HotWomen Says:

    It looks like we have similar ideas on this subject.

  4. Very Nice Post. I love it. Have a Great day.

  5. John Says:

    Well…..I agree with most of the things you said. Anyway, thanks!


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