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Wedding Invitation Etiquette

How To Address Your Invitations

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Mature man at desk checking wedding invitations, close up of hands and desk
Lauren Krohn/The Image Bank/Getty Images

The wedding invitation is often the first sample your guests will have of your upcoming celebration. With that in mind it is very important that your invites represent the type of wedding you are planning as well as the mood you hope to set. For instance, if you are having a very formal (white tie) evening ceremony you would not want to mail out copied invites on bright card stock paper with a smiley face on the envelope. Instead, your mailing would be on fine stationer's paper, with engraved or thermo-engraved print. You may even want to finish them off with satin ribbons or some other classic embellishment to set it apart from the rest.

Remember that you are going for an overall impression beginning with your announcements and finishing with your thank you's. The wording on the invite should be carefully thought out and you should be sure to use proper etiquette during the mailing. Decide with your parents (if they are sending the invitations) how they would like to be acknowledged. Some parents who have divorced may want their names omitted from the invites. This is a sensitive issue and definitely the subject for another article. Suffice it to say that this issue should be given careful thought. This would include making sure your titles are correct and that you have arranged the family names in order.

Here are some points to keep in mind when you are addressing your wedding invitations.

  • Begin with a complete list. Your list should contain all of the names of your invited guests. This should include the children, if they are invited, and any other family members living within the same household.
  • Separate the invites by family.If there is more than one family living in a household, each should receive their own personal invitation. For instance, there should be one addressed to 'Mr. and Mrs. Roderick Frazelton' and another to 'Miss Sharon Dempsey.'
  • Practice your handwriting. Invitations can be very costly and most people do not buy many extras. For this reason, it is wise to practice your handwriting on a sheet of paper before you begin the activity of addressing your envelopes.
  • Use proper addressing. The inside envelope should list the individual names of the invitees, while the outside envelope should be addressed to the head of the household and family. The return address should be listed either in the upper left hand corner of the envelope or on the flap of the sealed envelope. An example might read something like this. On the outer envelope you would write: Mr. and Mrs. Matthew P. Hamilton, 1234 Rosenblum Circle, Fairfax, Virginia 21045. The inner envelope then would read: Matthew, Mary, Melvin and Martha Hamilton. Here is another example. To a single invited guest you would write: Miss Judith R. Hanks, 1234 Arlington Boulevard, Indianapolis, Indiana 46205. Her inner envelope could then read: Judith and Guest.
  • Stamp your RSVP cards. If you are requesting a response to the invitation by mail then you should include the response card, along with a stamped and addressed envelope. This will make receiving your responses convenient while at the same time show courtesy on your part.
  • Just the facts. Your invitations should not include such things as registration information or gift suggestions. If a guest needs to know this information they should be able to call the you or a family member. This should not be a part of the invitation.

This is just some basic information to get you well on your way to getting a proper invitation in the mail. Make sure you use black ink and take care to hand stamp the invitations. This is a great activity for you, your mother and your maid of honor to conquer together on a lazy Saturday afternoon.

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