Wedding Etiquette for Name Order

Written by lynn klein
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Wedding Etiquette for Name Order
Formal wedding planning raises many etiquette questions. (wedding celebration image by Warren Millar from Fotolia.com)

From compiling guest lists to writing thank-you notes, planning weddings are great tests of etiquette savvy. Some of the trickiest questions arise when it comes to properly writing names on invitations and announcements. Learning established rules, such as that a man’s first and last name are never separated, will help a bride or groom navigate through Mr., Ms. and Mrs. dilemmas.

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Formal Invitations

Traditional wedding invitations begin with the hosts' names, such as the bride or groom’s parents, written in full, like "Mr. and Mrs. David John Allen." If the bride and the groom’s parents are both hosts, the names of the bride’s parents are listed first, followed by the parents of the groom. The next name listed in the invitation is the bride’s name, followed by the groom’s name, both which should be written in full, according to Emily Post. For a wedding where the bride’s parents are the only hosts, an invitation could read: Mr. and Mrs. David John Allen request the honour of your presence at the marriage of their daughter Alexandra May Allen to Mr. Howard John Montgomery.

Wedding Etiquette for Name Order
The bride's name is always listed before the groom's name on an invitation. (invitation mariage image by Christophe Thélisson from Fotolia.com)

Informal Invitations

In non-traditional wedding invitations, listing the hosts' names and writing names in full is not as important as it is for traditional ones. However, the bride’s name is still typically listed before the groom’s name. An example invitation could read: Emily Hill and Benjamin Kraus invite you to attend their wedding.

Married Guests

When addressing invitations to married couples who share the same last name, etiquette dictates to write them using the husband’s name, such as "Mr. and Mrs. Michael Jones." Include the middle name if you have it, according to YourWedding101.com. A more progressive way to address married couples’ invitations that also includes the woman’s name is to write, "Mrs. Michelle and Mr. Michael Jones." Remember that the man’s first and last name should never be separated.

Wedding Etiquette for Name Order
Use full names when addressing wedding invitations. (Fountain pen on letter and envelope image by Paul Hill from Fotolia.com)

Unmarried Guests

To address an invitation to an unmarried couple, list the woman’s name in full first, followed by the man’s name, such as "Mrs. Barbara Nixon and Mr. Daniel White." If it is a same-sex couple, write them alphabetically. This same rule applies to married couples in which the woman uses her maiden name.

Professional Guests

If a guests has a professional title, such as doctor, list the person with the most impressive title first on the invitation if addressing it to a couple. If the woman is the doctor, the invitation would read, "Dr. Katherine Wright and Mr. Joseph Wright." If the man is the doctor, write "Dr. and Mrs. Wright," according to Brides.com. If both members of the couple are doctors, the invitation can read, "The Drs. Wright" or "The Doctors Wright."

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