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Addressing Your Envelopes

Truth be told, there’s a lot to think about when it comes to wedding invites. Once you’ve actually selected a design, you still have to go through the process of addressing your invites, mailing them and then tracking RSVPs.

Lucky for you, addressing envelopes is one invitation element that has some hard-and-fast guidelines. If you address your envelopes according to the following etiquette, you’ll be well on your way to beautiful – and proper – stationery styling.

Genevieve Nisly Photography Genevieve Nisly Photography

OUTER ENVELOPE

This is where you write the recipients' full names, official titles and address. While this might seem pretty straight forward, remember: There should be no cutting corners with abbreviations like Dr., NY, or St. (Mrs., Mr., Ms. and Jr. are the only acceptable shorthands). Here's a complete set of rules:

• Titles such as Doctor, Reverend, etc. are not abbreviated.
• Mister and Misses should be abbreviated – should read Mr. and Mrs.
• Do not use initials or nicknames; use full names only
• If an unmarried couple is living in the same house their names should be on separate lines; list alphabetically by last name
• Invites to a gay or lesbian couple should be addressed the same as you would address it to any other unmarried or married couple.
• Do not add “and family”; children's names will be listed on the inner envelope
• Write out the word “and”; do not use symbols
• Suffixes are all properly proceeded by a comma, including Roman numerals
• Junior and senior can be spelled out (junior or senior - not capitalized) or abbreviated (Jr. or Sr. - capitalized); use whichever style you prefer
• When addressing the outer envelope write out Street, Avenue or Boulevard
• Completely spell out the state name
• North and South is written in full if it proceeds the street name (123 South Main Street) a comma is added after the street name and an abbreviation is used if it comes after the address (123 Cherry Street, N.W.)

INNER ENVELOPE

Formal invitations are slipped into an unsealed inner envelope to be placed inside the outer envelope. They are addressed in a more informal fashion – typically only title abbreviations and last name – and list the names of all invitees at the address, including children. Here are some guidelines:

• Exclude the first names of the recipients
• Write the first names of children to be invited below the parents’ names in order of age, oldest first
• Children over the age of 18 should receive their own invitation
• Omit children's names if they are not on the guest list
• If an invitation to a single guest extends to an unknown escort, address the inner envelope with your friend's name followed by “and guest” (guest should not be capitalized, it is not a proper noun)

Now that you’re an invitation pro, there’s just one final rule to remember: When addressing your invitation envelopes, be sure to use your most elegant penmanship – or try hiring a professional calligrapher to pen the names of your invited guests. In the end, you’ll be left with a beautiful invitation suite to show for it.

We’re confident you’ve got this, but if you’d like to see full examples, click here. (takes them to planner PDF link)

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