Once upon a time, everyone wrote everything by hand – whether it was a love note, an important message, or just saying hello, you had to take pen (or quill) in hand and fire off a missive. Today, snail mail is so rare that most people don’t have a lot of experience writing out cards of any kind; why bother, when you can create a Facebook event or send an e-vite?
Sadly, digital formats are not yet in vogue when it comes to wedding invitations. There is still an art to the wedding summons, one that you will need to learn if you intend to send out your own wedding invitations rather than engaging a service to handle this detail for you. Your wedding invitations may be handmade or store-bought, but even the most gorgeous stationery can fall flat if the envelopes are improperly addressed. Here is what you need to know about addressing wedding invitations:
Outer & Inner Envelopes – This may seem confusing, but it’s not when you recall that the wedding invitation requires a snail mail reply. Of course, many of your enthusiastic guests will probably call or message you as soon as they receive their envelope, but the hard copy RSVP must still be included, and really, you do want them back in the mail so you can track exactly who is coming and who they are bringing.
When addressing the outer envelope, the recipient’s name is, of course, in the To position; when addressing the inner envelope, your name is in the To position and the recipient’s name is in the From position.
Salutations – They might not matter much anywhere else, but they matter here. Some of the common salutations to use when addressing wedding invitations include:
- Miss/Ms. are the appropriate salutations for unmarried females
- If guests are unmarried but living together, address the envelope alphabetically by last name, i.e. ‘Miss Jane Doe and Mr. John Smith’
- If addressing to a single person who will nevertheless bring a guest of some kind, use the person’s name on the outer envelope (Mr. John Smith) and then on the inner envelope, put ‘Mr. Smith and Guest’
- Married guests with different last names: put the male’s name first followed by the female (Mr. John Smith and Jane Doe)
- For guests with children under 16, use the children’s names on the inner envelope only: Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Tom, Dick, and Harry
Tips for Wedding Invitations
What if you have a lot of single friends – should you force them to scramble to find a guest who is willing to come to your wedding and share in the costs? Not necessarily. Your single guests should be free to bring someone only if they choose. They can definitely come solo.
It’s a faux pas to say ‘Adults Only’ – simply do not include the children’s names, and let your guests phone you for confirmation. You can tell them individually that you prefer a child-free affair. The same goes with including other information, like your wedding registry – DON’T! Let your guests ask you what an appropriate gift would be; you can direct them personally to your registry.
Stuffing the Envelope
Much like your wedding cake, your invitation has many layers. Start with the outer envelope. The next layer is the inner envelope, into which goes your invitation, followed by the reception card, the RSVP card with envelope, and finally map and directions on top.
Success! Your wedding invitations are both beautiful and in good taste.