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You know when Batman turns on his signal because the whole sky lights up! Wedding invitations are pretty much your wedding bat signal. I always tell my engaged couples that 6 to 9 months is the perfect time to send wedding invitations out. One of the most common questions I get asked as a wedding invitation designer is: “How do you address wedding invitations?”
Etiquette for addressing invitations typically says the male’s name comes first. The exception comes when there are distinguished titles involved. So if the female is a doctor, her name listed with her title would come before the male partner’s name. Not saying you need to do this and if you prefer to go by whoever pattern’s name comes first in the alphabet, you can totally do that! Most of my couples choose the first option of just listing the first names and the married last name.
Note on formality: A simple “+” between the names creates lots of breathing room on the envelope and feels less like reading a novel. It’s our preferred way of addressing invitations because it’s less formal and more modern, matching our couples’ vibe!
Many same-sex couples keep their last names even after marriage. You can address each person with their own title, separated by “and” or “+”. You can address each person with their own title can totally do that! Most of my couples prefer the first option of just listing the first names along with the married last name.
Some same-sex couples have the same last name. In this case, you can address invitations with the plural form of the title. Another option is to address each person individually with the shared last name. You can start with the name of the person you’re closest to or alphabetically if you’re equally close to each person. Either of these guidelines applies if the couple’s last name is hyphenated. If you’re unsure, reach out to the couple and ask how they would prefer to be addressed.
Remember, if your wedding is laid back and casual you can absolutely leave out the titles.
Note on this: Some people find this to be presumptuous because some couples choose to keep their own last names. However, as someone who is engaged and planning to take her FH’s last name, I got super excited when I got a wedding invitation addressed to us like this!
For couples that don’t have a ring on it, you can put the name of the person you are closest to first. List alphabetically if you know both guests equally.
Traditionally, males under 18 don’t get a title, unlike females under 18 who can be addressed as “Miss”.
If you’re inviting a plus one, I highly recommend avoiding the term “plus one”. Why? It could lead to some awkward scenarios down the road if you’re intimate wedding is filled with guests you’ve never met. It’s totally up to you, but I would suggest specifically naming the plus one on the invitation envelope. That way, the invitation isn’t transferred to someone else which could be AWKWARD! For my wedding, I had to explain this to my fiancé who didn’t realize the potential pitfalls “plus one” could bring. Our envelopes will specifically have everyone’s names so no one from high school that we haven’t spoken to in years makes a surprise appearance!
If your wedding is going to be an adults-only event, leave the names of the kids off of the envelope. Putting “adults only” on the invitation / Save the Date isn’t a good look! Instead, put this information on your wedding website.
If the kids are over 18, they should get their own invitations, separate from the parents.
Save this guide for addressing wedding invitations and share this with your engaged friends! Better yet, don’t even stress about how to address invitation envelopes and let me handle it for you. When you book a custom invitation design spot with me, you get an Excel template to fill out your guest addresses and I take care of printing your wedding invitation envelopes. My 2023 and 2024 invitation design calendar is filling up, so let’s get you booked!