11/11 Broke-Ass Advice: Addressing the Address Etiquette

calligraphy envelope and Epson LabelWorks printed ribbonWhether you’re hand-writing on the envelope or using a convenient print-out label, addressing your wedding invites comes with a few *rules* that etiquette specialists still advise you follow. We don’t want you to be left searching, so here’s what you need to know before sending out that stationery.

Before you get started, make sure to check and double-check that spelling! Your partner’s cousin Ashleigh is probably used to it, but she won’t be thrilled to be addressed as Ashley. If you’re going at it by hand, scrub ’em down before you get to writing. That smudge of dirt will transfer right onto that pristine white paper! Even pressing labels can leave little streaks if your paws aren’t squeaky clean.

Let’s start with the easy ones. Formal invitations usually include a title and a full name. Married couples are addressed together as in, “Mr. and Mrs. Homer Simpson.” If the kids are invited as well, a simple “and family” on the end will do. Leaving off “and family” might not be enough to signal that this is an adults-only affair, so it’s wise to further clarify, whether politely stated on an enclosure card or by word of mouth. If the envelope is to be addressed to a single person, include the title and full name — “Miss Marjorie Bouvier.”

If the wife doesn’t go by her husband’s name, simply list both names on the same line:

Mr. Homer Simpson and Mrs. Marjorie Bouvier

Same-sex couples should also be addressed on the same line and alphabetized by first name if they share a last name or last name if they don’t.

“Mr. and Mr. Brad and George Takei” or “Mrs. Ellen DeGeneres and Mrs. Portia de Rossi”

If a couple lives together but isn’t married, simply split the names into two lines. You can also use this for roommates if you don’t want to use separate envelopes. List the man first or use the alphabetizing by last name if they are the same sex.

If one member of a couple has a title like Doctor, Judge or Reverend, list the titled name first (yep, even if it puts the lady first!) like, “Dr. Martin King and Mrs. Coretta King.” If both members of the couple share the title, list it as plural, followed by full names. The same general rules of “which name first?” apply here, too.

“Drs. Derek and Meredith Sheppard,” “Drs. Arizona Robbins and Callie Torres,” etc.

If you use inner envelopes, this is your opportunity to spell out who is specifically invited by listing children’s names or including “and guest” if you’re inviting plus ones. This time just use a simple title and name, followed by the first names of children if applicable.

Mr. and Mrs. Simpson, Bart, Lisa and Maggie

Once you’re finished addressing, make sure you have the correct postage. The size, shape and weight of your stuffed envelope might require more than a basic stamp. Now you’re ready to send those babies out and get ready to party!