Nov 2, 2011

Addressing Etiquette

Sending our save the dates meant that Mr. B and I had to learn all those rules about how you properly address an envelope. You know, does the wife go first? Doctor first? What if the wife’s the doctor?

So I figured I’d put the rules down here, to save someone out there the trouble of looking them up. I compiled with the assistance of my girl Martha, the ladies of the Knot, and our calligrapher on the “right” way to address things. Do it your way, of course, but if you want the official “rules,” here they are:

Spell Out:
  • House numbers smaller than 20
  • State abbreviations (New Jersey)
  • Street abbreviations (10 Main Street)
  • The word “apartment”
  • Post Office Box

Addressing Rules:
  • If husband is a doctor, it would be “Doctor and Mrs. Daniel Brummel.”
  • If wife is a doctor, it is “Doctor Sally Brummel and Mr. Daniel Brummel”
  • Both doctors, “The Doctors Brummel.”
  • If they have different professional titles, it is “The Honorable Rachel Hayden and Lieutenant Ryen Slegr.
  • If the wife kept her maiden name, it should go first: “Mrs. Rachel Hayden and Mr. Ryen Slegr.
  • Unmarrieds living together are separated by a line, as in:
                   Miss Britney Spears
                   Mr. Joseph Hawley
  • If children are invited, the outer envelope is only addressed to the parents, as in “Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Horowitz.” Then, on the inner envelope, include the kids, as in:
                   Mr. and Mrs. Ross Federman
                   Jack and Jill
  • For single people, address the outer envelope with their name, and include “and guest” on the inner envelope.
  • For a same-sex couple, it is like any other couple: Mr. Jose Galvez and Mr. Robert Cantor.
  • Children over 18, even if living with parents, should receive their own invitation
Doing the save the dates also brought up some of those fighty, awkward questions, like who really needs to bring a date, and must we honestly invite those people’s kids?  Things will still change slightly by the time we do invitations, I’m sure, but it’s a good time to hammer out all those details.

Hope this helps!
Further Resources: The Knot, Martha Stewart Weddings


  1. you forgot one - you address it first to the person in the couple that you know the best.

  2. Great tips, I did not know that you spelled out those words either!! We did not include dates on the save the dates, things could change by the time invites go out so we save that to decide when it was time for invites.

  3. Thanks for sharing this! I was really casual with our save the dates and broke many of these rules. But I want to do it right for our invitations!

  4. Sarah- Thanks for the heads up!
    Bride-onicles- We didn't include dates either unless we were absolutely sure. We didn't even send save the dates to half the guest list, just in case!
    Sharon- I think save the dates is good to be casual. I only did it the "right" way so I could have that crossed off the list for is a pain getting all that info together!