When addressing invitations, the most important rule is to write clearly and legibly. In general, on most types of invitations you can bypass old-fashioned rules of etiquette that dictate how people should be addressed based on their social standing and career status. But people still pull out all the stops for wedding invitations, including using titles on the envelopes. Using titles can be intimidating because they're rarely used in everyday life. However, a few simple rules are all you need to get it right.
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Write the names of a couple on the outer envelope as Mr. and Mrs. Jones or Mr. and Mrs. Smith if they are married and share a last name. Write Mr. and Mrs. Jones on the inner envelope if your wedding is a quite formal affair. Write their first names--such as John and Jane--if your wedding is more informal.
Send separate invitations to couples who don't live together. Use their titles with their first names, such as Mr. John Smith or Miss Jane Jones, on the outer envelope. On the inner envelope, write the addressee's first name for a less formal wedding and repeat the outer-envelope name if your wedding will be a formal one.
Write the names of married couples who have different last names using their full titles separated by the word "and," and put the woman's name first: Mrs. Jane Jones and Mr. John Smith. Use the same guidelines for the inner envelope that you'd use for a married couple. Write their first names for a more casual wedding and repeat the titles for a formal one.
Follow the same guidelines for married couples with different last names when you're writing the titles for a couple where the woman has hyphenated her name. Write Mrs. Jane Smith-Jones and Mr. John Jones, keeping the woman's name first. Inside, write the couple's first names or repeat their titles, depending on how formal your wedding is.
Write Dr. and Mrs. Smith on the outer envelope for a couple where the man is a doctor. If the woman is a doctor, write Dr. Jane Jones and Mr. John Jones on the outer envelope. If both the man and woman are doctors, write The Doctors Jones or Dr. Jane Smith and Dr. John Smith. Use the same convention for the inner envelope you'd use for other married couples: Write their first names, Jane and John, for an informal wedding and The Doctors Smith for a more formal one.
Use military titles for active-duty and retired commissioned officers: Write Captain and Mrs. John Smith or Corporal and Mrs. John Jones. If a woman is a commissioned officer and her husband is not, you can address them as Mr. and Mrs. John Smith or as Captain Jane Smith and Mr. John Smith. Address non-commissioned officers or enlisted military members as Mr. and Mrs. Jones.
Use "The Honorable" before the name of an active or retired judge, ambassador or other elected official: The Honorable and Mrs. John Jones or The Honorable Jane Jones and Mr. John Jones.
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