Addressing Envelopes

January 29

Addressing Wedding Invitations with No Plus-Ones: Ask Etta

Brittany Asks…

To cut costs, I would like to have only the people listed on my wedding invitations attend my wedding. Is there a way to suggest that plus-ones are prohibited without seeming tacky?

Also, what is the most polite way to say “no children” or “adults only” and where do we state this?

purple bridal party

Etta Says…

Wedding etiquette regarding plus ones has changed in recent years and there are a few things to consider when preparing your guest list.

The most traditional way to tackle your question is to address only that person’s name on the inner envelope. When allowing people a “plus one” write “and guest” on the envelope. Since most people aren’t as familiar with that formality, you can limit it on the response card or include a small note—where you can ask your guest to list the name of their guest so you can properly address them on the seating chart and place cards.

If you do not wish to invite kiddos to your wedding, simply exclude their name from the invitation. You should never write “no children” or “adults only” on the invite, but if you want to be completely clear you can include “Adult Affair” on the RSVP card. You can also tell each guest how many are invited, using this format: “We have reserved ____ seats for you.” You could enter “1″ there for people who aren’t allowed to bring a date or you can use “___ of ___ will attend” if they’re allowed a guest.

Additional things to consider when inviting guests:

Proper etiquette states that you should invite guests who are living together—not only the married ones.

Also, you should always invite both members of a couple if they are married. Not knowing someone’s partner is no excuse for excluding them from the invitation.


Have an etiquette question for Etta? Email us at and she’ll post an answer for you.



January 15

Addressing Wedding Invitations for Widows: Ask Etta

Judy Asks…

What is the appropriate way to address an invitation to a widow?  Do you use the husband’s name?  One of my guests has been widowed several years and is now dating—the other is VERY recently widowed.


 Etta Says…

Thanks for writing in, as we know this can be a difficult topic to address. The most important thing to take into consideration is that this really comes down to your relationship with the widow. It is a difficult topic and you might feel worried about either offending or saddening the recipient, which is understandable.

Here’s what we recommend…

Addressing the Outer Envelope:

Proper etiquette holds that on formal correspondence, like wedding invitations, widows must be addressed with their deceased husband’s full name—regardless of the amount of time that has elapsed from his death. The name on the outer envelope should read, “Mrs. John Smith.” However, these days, many feel that addressing this way is dated. If you agree and feel more comfortable addressing it only to her, it’s appropriate etiquette to address the outer envelope with just the widow’s first name, “Mrs. Becky Smith.”

 Addressing the Inner Envelope:

When addressing the inner envelope, etiquette says to leave off first names. Therefore, it should read “Mrs. Smith.” If you are allowing her a guest to the ceremony and/or reception, you can address it as “Mrs. Smith and Guest.”

To recap, when addressing invites to a widow, take your relationship with her and the length of time she has been a widow into account. If you’re close with her and she’s recently widowed, it may be appropriate for you to use her husband’s name. If a lot of time has passed and she’s now dating again, it probably makes more sense to address it to her single name.


Have an etiquette question for Etta? Email us at and she’ll post an answer for you.


August 28

Ask Etta: Wedding Envelope Etiquette

While we dish about the hottest trends and latest designs, we also know how stressful prepping for the big day can be. Meet Etta, our expert in all things etiquette. She’s ready to delve into your every dilemma.

Justine Asks…

I love the look of your embossers for the return addresses on my wedding invitations and RSVP cards! But I’m wondering if the post office can actually read them? I would hate to get the invitations done and then none of them make it back to me.

Etta Says…

You can definitely use the embosser for your wedding invitations for your return address and the post office will absolutely be able to read it. In addition to the embosser you can also use one of our custom stamps for your return address on your wedding invitations. If you are still a little unsure and want to take all precautions you can check with your local post office because each one may have different rules.

For your RSVP cards we recommend using a calligrapher for your return address because with the mechanics of the embosser we feel it works nicely when the return address is on the back flap of the envelope. Allow at least 2-3 weeks for the calligrapher and make sure you allocate time for collecting everyone’s addresses too because this can take a lot of time and is often overlooked.

Another option for your RSVP card is using one of our custom stamps for the front of the envelope. It would look like the photo below but your return address would be in the middle of the envelope.  Remember to also include postage on the response cards for your guests and have the return address go to the person in charge of the responses. This is usually the person who is hosting the wedding but often times can be the bride.

Etiquette for Addressing Wedding Envelopes:

If you have decided to use inner envelopes, this is the place to mention exactly who is invited to the wedding. You can use familiar names on the inner envelopes such as “Uncle Charles and Aunt Beth” and any children that are invited.

The other envelope is the more formal of the two and should be addressed conventionally. Titles can be abbreviated but all other words should be completely spelled out (no St. or Dr. here). For state names you can write it in full or use the two-letter abbreviation.

If you are sending invitations to a married couple be sure to address both, even if you already know only one can attend.

If you are sending invitations to an unmarried couple living together you should address both on one line. Example:  “Ms. Shirley Adams and  Mr. Ben Smith”

The most frequently asked question: How to do I address a “guest?”

It is a little impersonal to address your outer envelope as “Mr. Alex Brady and Guest” so when you are using the two envelope system this works well. You can address the outer envelope to “Mr. Alex Brady” and the inner envelope can read “Mr. Alex Brady and Guest.”

If you are only using one envelope you would only include “Mr. Alex Brady” and that would signify only one guest is invited to the wedding.  If you would like to invite a guest and only have one envelope you could include a short note in the envelope stating they can bring a guest and to let you know as soon as they can with the RSVP.

Etiquette for Stuffing Wedding Invitation Envelopes:

  • If you are using two envelopes insert the invitation (the folded edge first if it is folded, the left edge for a single card invitation) so that when the envelope flap is opened you will see the printed side.
  • If you have enclosures (reply card and envelope, map, printed directions) they are placed on top of your invitation, printed sides up, in the size order with the smallest card on top. Again, make sure when the envelope is opened the printed side is visible. If the invitation is folded, the insertions are stacked in size order, with the smallest on top, but within the fold.
  • The inner envelope is then sealed and placed inside the outer envelope so when the outer flap is lifted, the names of the guests will be visible.

Checking Postage
Before you buy stamps you should definitely take an assembled invitation to the post office to have it weighed. If you have out-of-town guests and will be inserting directions or maps, make sure to bring this invitation as well and weigh both separately as it will be heavier. Keep in mind if you have an unusually shaped envelope there is usually extra postage required.

While you are at the post office you can also inquire about the different types of stamps they have or check a wider variety online.

Hand-Canceling: The Extra Care for Your Wedding Envelopes

If you are worried your wedding invitations might get damaged in the postage machines at the post office you can request hand-canceling. Instead of the machines printing bar codes on the envelopes, the stamps are marked by hand and will ensure nothing is bent or torn in the machine. This will keep your invitations looking neat and pristine. This isn’t required but if you want that extra touch this is an option for you!

We hope this answered all of your wedding invitation envelope questions and more! Good luck planning!


Have an etiquette question for Etta? Email us at and she’ll post an answer for you.


February 21

Ask Etta: A Guest in the Military

While we dish about the hottest trends and latest designs (aka the fun parts of wedding planning!) we also know how stressful prepping for the big day can be. So, we would like to formally introduce you to Etta, our new etiquette expert. She’s ready and happy to delve into your every etiquette dilemma.

Jamie Asks…

A friend of mine’s husband is deployed overseas. Should I address my invitation only to her or to the couple?

Etta Says…

Definitely the couple—just as if he were home. It might even be nice to include a personal note (handwritten, of course!) expressing how you wish they could both be there for your special day. Even if you know he won’t be able to make it, they’ll certainly appreciate the thought.

Have an etiquette question for Etta? Email us at and she’ll post an answer for you.


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.