August 22

Addressing Invitations: Today’s Diva Dish

Struggling to understand the finer points of wedding invitation etiquette? Today’s Diva Dish covers that all-important topic: how to address wedding invitations.

Hi Divas, Ladies first, right? (names on the invites, that is). From Angela

We’re glad you asked, Angela! The answer is: it depends on the situation. In general, it’s proper etiquette to list the person you’re closest with first on the invitation, whether they’re male or female. If you’re equally close with both guests, follow tradition and name the male first. Things get complicated from here; for plenty of tips on how to address wedding invitations for unmarried couples, families, or single ladies, read on!

Addressing Wedding Invitations to a Married Couple

The most traditional way to address an opposite-sex married couple is using the male’s first and last name. This traditional salutation reads:

Mr. and Mrs. Mark Rodriguez

For same-sex couples, list whomever you’re closet with first, and be sure to include first and last names. Another option is to bypass salutations and use a simple last name.

Mr. David Gonzalez and Mr. Jorge Gonzalez

465 Gardenia Lane
Los Angeles, CA 90041

For a couple with different or hyphenated last names, list whomever you’re closest to first and when in doubt, list the male first. Examples:

Mrs. Sarah Maddox and Mr. James Billings

Mr. Pete Hopkins and Mrs. Monique White

Mr. George Press and Mrs. Denise Thompson-Press

Mrs. Angela Bartley-Cox and Mr. William Cox

Mrs. Kylie Baxter and Mrs. Pam Baxter-Franklin

Addressing Wedding Invitations to an Unmarried Couple

When addressing unmarried couples, the same rule applies. List your loved one first and their guest second, unless you’re equally close to both, in which case it is proper etiquette to list the male first. For same-sex couples, list whomever you’re closest to or when in doubt, whomever comes first alphabetically.

Ms. Mary Garcia and Mr. Matthew Clemson

Mr. Bart Novak and Ms. Patricia Avery

Mr. Cameron Baker and Mr. Walter Scott

Addressing Wedding Invitations to a Single Female

Addressing to single females can be tricky, as it’s necessary to indicate and respect status. Young women, married women, divorced women and widows have entirely different salutations. See below for clarification!

Single Woman:

Ms. Elizabeth Montgomery

Miss Emily Parker (under 18)


Mrs. Jenny Forsyth or Mrs. James Forsyth (use her deceased husband’s name if appropriate. Use your best judgment depending on individual)


Ms. Marian Baumgartner

Ms. Marian Collins (use guest’s maiden name if she prefers)

Addressing Wedding Invitations to Families

Traditional etiquette suggests addressing wedding invitations for families to the parents on the outside envelope and including children’s names inside. You’ll never go wrong with this rule, however it’s also appropriate to address the family as a unit. Whatever you choose, it’s essential to indicate or include children’s names on the invitation, or most parents will assume kids are not invited.

Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Orlov

To Alex, Betty, Preston and Miss Katrina (use ‘Miss’ to address girls under 18 at your discretion)

The Orlov Family

To Alex, Betty, Preston and Katrina,

Need more detailed info on how to address wedding invitations? Visit our interactive page for more details.


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About Jessy

Hometown: St. Louis, MO Favorite Color: Pistachio Favorite Movie Wedding Moment: The airplane scene in The Wedding Singer Jessy is a Jr. Writer at Tiny Prints. When she was seven, she declared herself "Jessy" (from her given name, Jessica) because she wanted to be a little different. Which is exactly what led her to Tiny Prints-her love for all things unique, memorable and personal! Letterpress printing makes her swoon and she has an affinity for fresh designs with a hint of vintage. In addition to her passion for paper goods, Jessy loves dogs, llamas, autumn, farmers' markets, live music, skeleton keys, extra sprinkles, beating boys in sports, running, antique stores and a book that’s hard to put down.

6 thoughts on “Addressing Invitations: Today’s Diva Dish

  1. Danielle

    Disagree! The man’s first and last names are never supposed to be separated, AND it’s supposed to be ladies first. Alyssa & Patrick James. It’s like splitting the infinitive (i.e. to boldly go is bad grammar) And I have never heard of addressing it to whomever you’re closer too first.

    AND that’s wrong how you have the unmarried couples – the & and having them on the same line implies it’s a married couple where the wife hasn’t taken her husband’s name. It should be:

    Melinda Torres
    Javier Ramirez
    123 State Street
    Anytown CA 12345

  2. Melissa

    I have actually done some research on this too, having just had to address and mail my own wedding invitations. Here are what some of the top wedding etiquette resources say about addressing envelopes:


    For married couple: “The traditional address wording is “Mr. and Mrs. John Doe”, only using the husband’s first name. It’s completely appropriate to include the wife’s first name as well — it’s not tacky, it’s gracious. “John and Jane Doe” reads a bit more smoothly than “Mr. and Mrs. John and Jane Doe”, but it’s true that the titles make it more formal.”

    Emily Post:

    “The outer envelope is the one that is addressed and stamped, while the inner envelope bears only the names of those people. For example, a married couple’s inner envelope is addressed to ‘Mr. and Mrs. Anderson'”

    For unmarried couples, The

    “When you’re inviting a couple who lives together — or a married couple with different last names, or an engaged couple for that matter — list each name on a separate line on the outer envelope, alphabetically by last name, like so:
    Mr. Richard Buxton
    Ms. Ariel Dekovic

    Put the names on the same line on the inner envelope, sans first names:
    Mr. Buxton and Ms. Dekovic”

    Emily Post:

    “Invitations to an unmarried couple who reside at the same address should be addressed to ‘Ms. Nancy Fellows’ and ‘Mr. Scott Dunn’ with each name appearing on a separate line”

    Either resource mentions that the ladies’ name must come first, I think it’s based more upon what you feel more comfortable with when addressing your guests.

  3. Ebony Jackson

    If I upload my guests addresses in my website powered by Nearlyweds can Wedding Paper Divas use this info to mail the invitations out for me?

    1. Julie

      Hi Ebony, Unfortunately we do not offer a mailing service, as brides generally like to address their own invitations to add a personal touch.

  4. Betty Kerr

    I have a question. I have a few guests who the spouse has passed away. Do I address it to Jane Doe or Ms. Jane Doe. Another is a elderly grandmother who’s husband also passed away years ago. It would seem odd to write Ms. in front of her name. What is proper? Thank you


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