Letterlyn by Evelyn Cunningham
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Letterlyn Blog

6 Tips for Addressing Wedding Envelopes

ONE: DON'T OFFEND ANYONE.

"Surprise, you think I am inconsiderate now!" It's not worth keeping the surprise of the invitation if you are just going to offend someone with the way you address it to them. A divorced woman might prefer her maiden name or her ex-husband's name. And what if she is separated but not divorced yet? You might not know a person’s preference until you ask.

Another thing to avoid: assuming people's gender pronouns. Just ask. And, keep note so that you remember forever and stop calling your friend or relative by the wrong pronoun. Yikes!

TWO: YOU CAN LET TRADITION GUIDE YOU

I would prefer Mr. Dakota and Mrs. Evelyn Cunningham. to Mr. and Mrs. Dakota Cunningham. I am not going to get up in arms about this, but it might be something to ask as. Also, that way of addressing is perfect for ALL types of married couples with the same last name:

Mr. John and Mr. Robert Fullerton

Mrs. Rosa and Mrs. Clarice Garcia

Some etiquette guides tell you to use Ms. and Ms. for female same-sex marriages. Some want names on separate lines. To me, this seems to delegitimize their matrimony. But, I would love to hear some other opinions. Maybe just use Ms. for every woman since she is not defined by her marital status? What do you think?

Bottom line: ask before you send. There is no harm in asking someone how they would prefer the address.

THREE: REMEMBER THE TITLE

Are you inviting a doctor, military service member, reverend, judge, or mayor to your wedding? There are a lot of different titles for different officials and jobs, we call them honorifics. Omitting someone's  honorific can be perceived as rude. The list is long, especially when you start to get into military honorifics and clergy members. So, I won't go into them here. But, keep in mind that these people worked hard to earn these titles. They might want them on that envelope.

FOUR: IGNORE THE RULES

You can go casual, if you are having a more casual, intimate wedding. First names only, for example, might add an air of casual cool. Just make sure that it matches the feel of your wedding so your guests know what to expect.

FIVE: YOU DO NOT NEED AN OUTER AND INNER ENVELOPE

I do not care what everyone else says, you do not need an inner and outer envelope. Sure, they are helpful. But, they’re not necessary. If you consider your event “black tie,” you should probably have them. Otherwise, it is personal preference.

How it Helps:

Inner envelopes help clarify exactly who is invited.

Outer Envelope:
Mr. Jason Fordham
Inner Envelope:
Mr. Fordham and Guest

Outer Envelope:
Mr. Jason Fordham and Mrs. Leigh Fordham
Inner Envelope:
Mr. and Mrs. Fordham
Lisa, Trent and Beck

The Alternative

Just include that information on the regular envelope:

Outer Envelope
Mr. Jason Fordham and Mrs. Leigh Fordham
Lisa, Trent and Beck

It gives a little opportunity for some personality, too.

Outer Envelope:
Mr. Christopher and Mrs. Julianne York
Inner Envelope:
Uncle Chris and Aunt Julie

SIX: IT HAS TO GET THERE

So, the envelope might look beautiful. It might fit the wonderful aesthetic of your event. But, if the postal worker can’t read it, it is just getting returned. If they can’t read the return address, it is just getting thrown away. If there isn’t enough postage, it’s not getting to the destination.

My most important tip is to make sure your envelope is going to get there:

The writing for the address must be legible enough.

Make sure there is high enough contrast between the ink color and the color of the invitation.

Put enough postage on it, each additional ounce is +21 cents here in the USA.

And, make sure you have the right address. Again, it’s not worth keeping the surprise.

More questions?

Reach out to me in the comments, or on the contact page if you have more questions. I would be so happy to help!

Thanks for reading!
Evelyn Cunningham, Owner and artist of Letterlyn