How to Address Wedding Invitations to a Doctor

We are continuing our addressing series by discussing how to address invitations to doctors and those with other professional titles. We get a lot of questions about this so we hope this post helps clear the air!

When addressing to a married couple with one doctor, the spouse with the professional title should be listed first. 

For example:

Doctor and Mrs. Robert Smith

Doctor Elizabeth and Mr. Robert Smith

If both spouses are doctors and they have the same last name, the addressing would be as follows:

The Doctors Elizabeth and Robert Smith

or, The Doctors Smith

What do you do if the couple doesn’t have the same last name? If a woman uses her maiden name both professionally and socially, and her husband is not a doctor, you would address the invitation as follows:

Doctor Elizabeth Brown and Mr. Robert Smith.

If a woman uses her maiden name both professionally and socially and her husband is also a doctor, addressing would be as follows:

Doctor Elizabeth Brown and Doctor Robert Smith.

The same rules apply for those with other distinguished titles that you use for doctors! If you are addressing to a couple with two different titles (e.g. a doctor and a judge) traditional etiquette says to list the person with the higher rank first. However, it is difficult to distinguish which title ranks higher than the other, so we suggest sticking with the “ladies first” rule here!

It is important to keep in mind that some doctors have a professional name and a social name. Elizabeth Smith may prefer to be called Doctor Elizabeth Smith in a professional setting and Mrs. Elizabeth Smith in social settings. As we have said in our other etiquette tips, it is important to know your audience and make sure you do what you think your guest will prefer!

If you are inviting a medical doctor, traditional etiquette says that you should spell out the word “doctor”. However, if you are inviting someone with a Ph.D., you use the abbreviation Dr.