Addressing Wedding Invitations and Envelopes.

While there may be room in the wedding budget to hire a calligrapher to address invitations, it is certainly not a requirement. Many budget-minded couples ask friends or family members with beautiful handwriting to help with the job.

Getting married is one of the most personal experiences, which calls for extending a personally addressed invitation that the guest will enjoy receiving as something special.

As such, set aside a week to prepare the wedding invitations for mailing. It's important not to rush and to have the right supplies. From an art supply store buy several archival gel ink pens that don't smear, dry fast and have a clean tip for writing. Black is the preferred color for its legibility. Never use ballpoint pens.

The process starts with assembling a well-vetted guest list with addresses that have been double checked for updates, as well as names for misspellings and how spouses or significant others like to be called.

Before even picking up an envelope, those on the invitation-addressing team should first practice using the archival pens. Be sure to sit at a table with a magazine as a foundation under the invitation.

Traditional wedding etiquette calls for invitations to include a small RSVP card with a pre-printed and stamped return-address envelope.

Here are some tips on addressing the wedding envelopes:

  • Use home addresses, never work or school.
  • Use the appropriate Mr., Mrs., Ms. or Miss before a full name. If there is a married couple using the same last name, then refer to them as "Mr. and Mrs." with the man's first name and last (i.e. Mr. and Mrs. Paul Green). If there are different last names among married or unmarried people, then place the names on the same line, in alphabetical order, but using "Ms." to address a woman (i.e. Ms. Sally Ames and Mr. Harry Lewis).
  • If a married same-sex couple is invited, apply the alphabetical rule for listing different last names, along with titles (i.e. Ms. Joan Fox and Ms. Mary Keenan or Mr. James Ace and Mr. Mac Black). If the couple shares the same last name, then refer to them in the plural as "Messrs" or "Madames," followed by the double first name and common last. (i.e. Messrs. Bob and Gary Gilbert or Madames Jane and Kathy Ames).
  • Women who are widowed should be addressed according to their late husband's name, with "Mrs." as the title (i.e. Mrs. George Brown).
  • Unless a divorced woman is using their maiden name, they should still be addressed as "Mrs.", but with their first names and former married last name (i.e. Mrs. Jane White).
  • Medical doctors should be addressed by their abbreviated title on the envelope, however guests with PhDs are referred to with the appropriate "Mr.," "Mrs." or "Ms."
  • If both people in a couple are medical doctors, then the envelope should refer to "The Doctors" plus the shared last name (i.e. The Doctors Jones). However, if each has a different last name, then address them individually as "Dr." plus their full name and in alphabetical order (i.e. Dr. Mary Jones and Dr. Harry Smith).
  • Other professional titles used are "Honorable" in reference to judges; Captain, Lieutenant and other military designations; and Reverend, Rabbi, Imam or other religious titles.
  • Guests 18 or older who are still living at home should get an invitation even if their parents are invited.