When you’re ready to address your outer envelopes, sticking to the following conventions announces your upcoming celebration with grace and style.  Need a template to work with?  Download my Excel worksheet here.

How to address the outer envelope (traditional):

Mr. and Mrs. John Francis Smith, II (Line 1)
      101 Example Street (Address 1)
      Apartment 101 (Address 2)
      Beverly Hills, California, 02159 (City, State, Zip)

How to address the Inner Envelope (traditional)

Married couples with invited children
Mr. and Mrs. Smith
Billy and Jane

Married couples
Mr. and Mrs. Smith

Singles or children over the age of 18 (+ guest)
Mr. Smith and guest

Other methods for addressing invitations to guests with titles, alternative living situations, etc:

Married couples with different last names
Mr. Robert Smith and Mrs. Elaine Allen

Married couples with one doctor 
Doctor and Mrs. Robert Smith 
or... Doctor Elizabeth and Mr. Robert Smith

Married couples with two doctors
The Doctors Robert and Elizabeth Smith

Married couples with a judge
The Honorable and Mrs. Robert Smith
The Honorable Robert Smith and Mrs. Elizabeth Smith

Unmarried couples or homosexual couples living together (names listed on separate lines):
Mr. Robert Smith
Ms. Elizabeth Johnson

Addressing Dos and Don’ts

  • Do rely on inner envelopes to tactfully invite only certain members of a family      
  • Children under 18 should have their first names only listed.      
  • Children over 18 should receive their own invitation.     
  • Don’t use abbreviations.      
  • Spell out state names, landmarks (Street | Avenue | Northwest) and other words like "Post Office Box."      
  •  Spell out titles for judges, clergy, military & doctors as well as generational suffixes like “junior”


The return address indicates where guests should send replies and gifts when a specified RSVP address does not appear inside the invitation.

Traditionally, guests mail responses to the parents of the bride, or the host(s) of the wedding. Today, many brides prefer to handle the responses themselves. In that case, use the bride’s address.  

Typically, the return address does not include the bride and groom's name, but If the groom insists on having his name appear on the return address, proper etiquette is to present the couples’ names on separate lines, or you can use a hyphenated title such as "The Smith-Edwards Wedding"

The same rule applies for the RSVP card return address. 


Assembling your invitation stationery

When your guests open your wedding invitation, they should see the enclosed cards arranged in order of size, with the smallest piece on top and the largest – the invitation – on the bottom.
The invitation always arrives on the bottom with its printed side facing up. If your invitation is double-sided, arrange it so the ceremony details are faced down.
Additional pieces should be stacked on top of the invitation according to size. If you have more than one card of the same size, place the more important card closest to the invitation.

In general, the ordering of the pieces usually looks like this:

  Bottom ------------------------------------------------

  1. Invitation      
  2. RSVP set (RSVP card should be placed under the flap of the RSVP envelope)      
  3. Reception Card     

   Top ----------------------------------------------------

Assembly Dos and Don’ts:

  •  Do write a number lightly in pencil on the back of every RSVP card. Assign each number to a guest on your list. When a guest inevitably forgets to write his or her name on the RSVP card, this backup system will allow you to keep track of who’s coming.      

Stuffing the envelopes – Dos and don’ts

  •  Do assemble one complete invitation set and weigh it at the post office before stamping your envelopes. Improper postage, which will result in returned invitations, can be disastrous.      
  • Do set aside invitation sets that have international addresses. This will help remind you to add extra postage.      
  • Do double, triple, quadruple check each invitation set before sealing the outer envelope. If you’re including inner envelopes, make sure the names on the outer and inner envelopes match.      
  • Don’t use a sponge to seal the envelopes. It may not taste great, but the lick-and-stick method guarantees a tight seal.      

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