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The Proper Way to Address an Envelope to a Married Couple

Updated February 21, 2017

Formal invitations are used for special ceremonial events such as weddings, anniversary parties and formal dinner parties. When making out invitations and envelopes for a formal occasion, it's important to address your guests in the proper way. A married couple can be addressed in one of several ways, depending to a variety of factors such as their job titles and if they share the same last name. Finding out such information ahead of time will help you properly address your envelopes.

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  1. Address the couple in the front centre of the envelope. Write the formal name of the married couple on the first line. The most popular and widely used format is "Mr. and Mrs. John Smith," listing just the first name of the husband. Address the couple by both of their first names if the couple requests, such as "Mrs. Jane and John Smith."

  2. Learn if the wife shares the same last name with her husband. Write "Ms. Jane Jones and Mr. John Smith" if the couple is married but the wife retained her maiden name. The same format should be used for a wife who has a hyphenated last name of her maiden and married names, such as "Ms. Jane Jones-Smith and Mr. John Smith."

  3. Acknowledge any doctorate degrees. For example, if both the husband and wife are medical doctors, address them as "Drs. Jane and John Smith." Write "Dr. Jane Smith and Mr. John Smith" if only the wife holds doctorate degree. Write "Dr. and Mrs. John Smith" if only the husband holds a doctorate degree.

  4. Take other formal titles into account. For example, if the husband is a minister, write "The Reverend and Mrs. John Smith" or if the wife is a judge and the husband is not, write "The Honorable Jane Smith and Mr. John Smith."

  5. Write the street address or post office box on the second line. Spell out street numbers under 10 (i.e. 123 Third Avenue) and completely spell out all words, such as "Building," "Apartment," "Street," "Avenue" and "Road." If the apartment number doesn't fit on the same line as the street address, write "Apartment" or "Building" followed by the apartment number on the third line.

  6. Write the city, state and Postcode on the third line. The proper format is the city name followed by a comma, the two-letter state abbreviation and the five-digit Postcode (e.g., "New York City, NY 10001"). Do not add the extended four-digits onto the Postcode; that is used mostly for business correspondence or bulk mail.

  7. Indicate a return address in the top left corner of the envelope. Adhere a return address label or hand write the return address. The first line should contain your full name and the full name of your partner. The second line should contain your street address, followed by your city, state and five-digit Postcode on the third line.

  8. Tip

    To add a more formal look to your envelopes, hand write the names and addresses using a calligraphy pen.

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Things You'll Need

  • Pen

About the Author

Dan Richter began freelance writing in 2006. His work has appeared in a variety of publications, including the "Wausau Daily Herald," "Stevens Point Journal," "Central Wisconsin Business Magazine" and the "Iowa City Press-Citizen." Richter graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts in communication and media studies.

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