Lei's Wedding Blog
Addressing and Stuffing Envelopes
Traditionally wedding invitations have required two envelopes - an inner envelope that contains the actual invitations and inserts and an outer envelope to hold the inner envelope. While many brides continue to follow this rule, it is perfectly acceptable to omit the inner envelope.
The inner envelope only bears the names of the guests. No address is necessary. The inner envelopes should be addressed as follows:
Mr. & Mrs. John Smith
Unmarried Woman and Guest
Miss Elizabeth Smith and Guest
Unmarried Gentleman and Guest
Mr. John Smith, Jr. and Guest
Miss Elizabeth Smith and Mr. John Doe
Unmarried Couple who lives together
Ms. Elizabeth Smith and Mr. John Doe
Several Young Children
Elizabeth, John and Suzy
Parents and a Young Child
Mr. & Mrs. John Smith
Miss Elizabeth Smith
Aunt Elizabeth and Uncle John
No abbreviations are made on outer envelopes. Words naming roads such as Street and the names of states must be written out.
Wedding invitations are always addressed to both members of a married couple. Invitations to an unmarried couple should be addressed to Mr. John Doe and Ms. Elizabeth Smith.
Any child over the age of 13 should receive a separate invitation according to Emily Post. I'm not sure how practical that is. I think that any child over the age of 18 should receive a separate invitation and anyone younger can be included on the parents' invitation.
If you are allowing single guests to bring dates, the proper thing to do is to simply write your friend's name on the outer invitation and add the ...and Guest part to the inner envelope.
With so many unmarried couples living together nowadays, you may be confused as to how you should address the envelope. The proper thing to do is to address it to both of them even if you are really only friends with on of them.
You need to include a return address on your wedding invitation. For one thing it allows the guest to know where to send the wedding gift. In addition, it lets the postal service know where to return it if it is undeliverable for some reason.
The return address is usually printed on the back flap of the envelope.
Stuffing the Envelopes
The invitation and additional inserts should be placed in the inner envelope with the invitation facing the back of the inner envelope so that it is the first thing the guest sees when opening the inner envelope. The front of the inner envelope should face the back of the outer envelope so that the guest will see their names on the front of the inner envelope when opening the outer envelope.
Post, Elizabeth L. Emily Post's Complete Book of Wedding Etiquette (Revised Edition). New York: Harper Collins Publisher, 1991.
|23 Comments||Submit Comments...|
DEE from Key West says...
How to write 4:45 pm on wedding invite?
Wedding Date: 2/26
Posted: 11/15/2010 9:36:28 AM
Donna from Atlanta, Ga says...
is it inapproproaite to omit the tissue paper? My inviations did not come with them. I have searched Michaels, Taget and Hallmark. I am out of time to order any! It is a casual wedding and outdoors.
Wedding Date: 9/28/08
Posted: 8/5/2008 2:09:40 PM
Danielle from Woodbridge, VA says...
Hello....I plan to put my wedding invitations in the mail on Monday. However, I realized that I was unsure where to put the tissue paper in the envelope. Do I need to put the tissue paper on top of the actual invite as well as on top of each additional insert? Or, is it okay if there is just tissue paper on top of the rsvp card?
Wedding Date: September 27, 2008
Posted: 8/2/2008 7:31:14 PM
mandy from Birmingham, AL says...
I am not using an inner envelope and I understand how to actually put the invitation in the envelope so the guest sees the invitation first, etc. The only things I am including in my envelope are the invitation, reply card and self addressed stampen envelope for the reply card. So, do I actually go ahead and put the reply card IN the self addressed stampend envelope, or put the reply card first then the self addressed stampend envelope after the reply card????? Thanks for your help.
Wedding Date: 06/23/07
Posted: 5/8/2007 12:21:17 PM
Haley from Northport, AL says...
I was wondering what the proper etiquette is on addressing invitations. I thought that you should hand address them, but a co-worker who is getting married is using clear printed labels. Please give me some feedback. Thanks.
Wedding Date: Sept. 23, 2006
Posted: 5/4/2006 1:35:26 PM
PK from Atlanta, GA says...
How does one assemble invitations and accompaniments if you're not using an inner envelope? Should the invitation then be faced up so that it is the 1st thing people see when they open the single envelope? Thanks.
Posted: 7/27/2005 4:37:39 PM
Lei Lydle, Editor from says...
Dear SAB from Indianapolis,
That isn't a stupid question at all - actually it is pretty common these days.
Most people don't realize this but wedding guests are NOT required to bring a gift. Social etiquette dictates that if you are invited to a wedding and you attend the wedding you SHOULD bring a gift but you are not required to. Because of that, it is not considered proper etiquette to make any reference to gifts, including gift registries, with your invitation.
In general, word of mouth has been the traditional way to spread this information. However, in today's technlogically advanced society, a great way to get "around" this is to have a personal wedding Web site that includes all of the important information, such as where you are registered, directions, hotels, etc. You can include an insert with your invitation to visit your Web site for all wedding details, but again, don't mention the gift registry.
Good luck! ~Lei
Posted: 7/12/2005 10:17:10 AM
sab from indianapolis, in says...
This may be a stupid question but I have had several different responses. Am I supposed to include an insert in my wedding invitation of where we are registered at?
Wedding Date: 9/10/05
Posted: 7/11/2005 9:45:38 PM
Jayne Taylor from Dickson, Tennessee says...
I am not using an inner envelope. How do I address the outer envelope for single guest and widows that may want to bring a date?
Wedding Date: August 6
Posted: 5/6/2005 12:11:59 PM
cathy from ny says...
Thank you = it was a huge help.
Wedding Date: july 05
Posted: 4/23/2005 6:31:35 AM
Michele from Saint Michael, MN says...
This is actually a question about graduation announcements. I have the announcement, inner envelope, outter envelope, tissue, and golden embossed seals. If I understand correctly, I am to place the announcements inside the inner envelope facing the back of the inner envelope (sealable side) and put the inner envelopes inside the outers with the name facing the back (sealable side) of the outers. My question is where to put the darn tissue? Also, the golden seals belong on the inner envelope, correct? Thank you for your help with this. Warmest regards, Michele at email@example.com
Wedding Date: May 15th, 2005
Posted: 4/1/2005 5:01:44 PM
KK from Chicago, IL says...
My family wants to have a "Display Bridal Shower" where the gifts are unwrapped and displayed for everyone to see. I have seen a poem that fits this type of shower, yet can't seem to locate it. Does anyone know where I can find that poem? Thanks, KK
Wedding Date: 09/17/05
Posted: 3/11/2005 4:45:28 PM
laura from baltimore,md says...
should all single guests be invited "and guest"?
Wedding Date: june
Posted: 12/5/2004 1:57:08 PM
maddie from long island, ny says...
The small tissue paper is placed on top of your envelope wording. The reception card on top of the tissue, text up. Stack response card and the rest of the enclosures (map, etc) on top of the reception card by size, placing the smallest enclosure on the top of the stack.
Wedding Date: december 19 ,2004
Posted: 9/14/2004 4:58:01 PM
sandy from oxford, pa says...
Hi I just wanted to ask a question. When we recieved our invitations there were small rectangular pieces of tissue paper. I have seen them in invitations but never paid attention to where they were. Can you tell me what to do with them. Thank you Sandy
Posted: 8/27/2004 9:21:00 PM
Lei Lydle, Editor from says...
Dear Sandra and Connie,
If you must omit the inner envelope, I would basically follow the rules outlined above but I would not include "and Guest" on any outer envelope -- possibly if you are having a VERY casual wedding --but I would stay away from it. If your single guest is engaged or living with someone, write both names on the envelope (female first). If you don't know who your single guest will bring, skip the "and Guest" and just verbally tell them they can bring a guest and to indicate it on the response card. Or, you could write in a personal note and include it on the response card just for that guest. In the case of inviting children when you don't have an inner envelope, I would write the parents' names on the first line and the childrens' names on the second line. Hope this helps! ~ Lei
Posted: 8/15/2004 6:32:26 PM
Connie MOB from Knoxville, TN says...
I tried to find the response to the question about invitations with no inner envelope. How do I add "Guest" or include it on outer envelope? Or on response card?
Wedding Date: 10-30-2004
Posted: 8/15/2004 6:14:50 PM
Sandra from Commerce, GA says...
If not using inner envelopes, what is the correct way to address the outer envelope to singles who are allowed to bring a guest? Would we somehow indicate this on the response card or simply put the single person's name on the envelope and verbally let them know they can bring a guest? Thanks.
Wedding Date: 6/12/05
Posted: 8/11/2004 11:04:52 AM
Lei Lydle, Editor from says...
After I submitted my last answer something occured to me... maybe Mary is a child not the wife. In this case, you still address the outer envelope to the parents and include the child's name on the inner envelope as described in my article above.
Hope this helps! ~ Lei
Posted: 8/11/2004 10:41:12 AM
Lei Lydle, Editor from says...
Are you working on both the inner and outer envelopes? If you are, then maybe the bride included the first names for the inner envelope - just a thought. I would clarify with the customer but that is not a standard format. If the couple is married it should be "Mr. and Mrs. John Brown".
Good luck! ~ Lei
Posted: 8/11/2004 10:36:36 AM
Ann Mulligan from Tampa, Florida says...
I am a calligrapher. I am presently addressing invitations for a wedding in Nov. The client has given me a list in which she uses the the following terminolgy Mr. & Mrs. John and Mary Brown Is this socially correct? I have never seen this form for addressing. Always used Mr. & Mrs. John Brown on the outer envelope.
Wedding Date: 11/6/04
Posted: 8/11/2004 10:17:17 AM
N. Koviak from Canton, MI says...
I had a formal dinner party and invited my husband's friend and fiance. I addressed the envelope Mr. John Doe and Guest. We were barely invited to their wedding over this and my husband's friend's wife continues to snub her nose at me. Mind you, I had only met her one time before my dinner party. Was this warranted?
Wedding Date: past
Lei Lydle from this Site says...
Dear Ms. Koviak,
When addressing an invitation for a wedding or formal event to an engaged couple, you are indeed supposed to include both names on the invitation and the female should be listed first - as described above in the Engaged Couples section.
Neglecting to include your friend's fiance on the invitation was seen as a slight by her - as if you intentionally left her name off...a subtle hint that you don't like her, didn't want her to come to the party, didn't think the engagement would last, etc. I gather from your inquiry that this was not the case - you assumed your friend would bring his fiance and all was well.
It does seem silly really but this woman wants to be included, to be acknowledged as your friend's one and only. If you know for a fact that this is the reason she is upset, try talking to her. Just tell her first that you are sorry followed by the explanation that you thought you were addressing the invitation properly and that you did not mean to slight her in the least. If she continues to hold a grudge after your apology then just let it go as her problem. All you can do is apologize!