Outer Envelope Addressing Considerations

Everyone has a title. Use Mr., Mrs., Ms. accordingly. In the case of judges, the clergy, political figures, and those in the military, use their title instead. (Abbreviations should be avoided.)

Use a comma before Sr. or Jr. as Mr. John Doe, Jr.

Abbreviate Sen. John Doe, Gov. John Doe, Prof. John Doe, and Brig. Gen. John Doe if you wish but full spellings are preferred if your event is truly formal. Preferred is General and Mrs. John Doe.

Always spell out Reverend and Honorable when preceded by The as The Reverend John Doe.

Never use a comma before II, III. The name should be Mr. John Doe III.

When both husband and wife are identically degreed, use Doctors John and Jane Doe (Drs. John and Jane Doe). When only the wife is degreed use Mr. John Doe and Doctor Jane Doe (Mr. John Doe and Dr. Jane Doe). A separate line for each may be preferable.

When inviting a husband and wife and the wife prefers to use her maiden name or uses a title, use "Mr. John Doe" on the first line and "Ms. Janet Smith" or "Doctor Janet Doe" on the next line.

In a dual title, use Reverend Doctor John Doe (Reverend Dr. John Doe or Rev. Dr. John Doe or Rev. Dr. Doe).

Widows use Mrs. John Doe.

Divorced women use Mrs. Mary Doe as in Mrs. maiden name plus married name unless she has changed her name or has informed you of a different preference.

In complex name cases where both names with titles are very long, you can place their names on separate lines with the husbands name on the first line.

When inviting single persons who are living together, use "Mr. John Doe" (on one line) and "Ms. Janet Smith" (on the next line).

When inviting a single person who is known to be dating a particular person, EACH person receives a separate invitation.

When inviting a single person who may or may not be dating and you wish to indicate that he or she may bring a date, address the envelope with "Mr. John Doe" and include a personal note within the invitation such as "Please bring an escort" or "Please bring an escort if you wish". In a little less formal case, you can address the envelope with "Mr. John Doe and Guest".

Invitation Inner Envelopes

Your Invitation is normally enclosed in an "inner" envelope so that the wording faces the flap side of the envelope. Inner envelopes can often be ordered with a liner. Liners range from simple colors, to foils, or even nice prints. The inner envelope normally does not have a gummed flap for sealing. You may either tuck the flap inside or place a "seal" on the flap.

You should write the guest name in the center of the face side of the inner envelope. If you do, it may be written as "Mr. and Mrs. Jones" or "Mr. and Mrs. Jones, Jack and Jill" (unlike the outer or mailing envelope which would be "Mr. and Mrs. Jack Jones"). It is perfectly correct to use first names only, "Jack and Jill". It is also correct, when dealing with relatives to use "Aunt Mary" or "Grandpa Joe".

Do not include the address on the inner envelope. If you are inviting children, their names should also appear on the inner envelope in the order of their ages, the oldest first. If your guests have children and their names are not on the inner envelope, they are not invited.

If your guests have children eighteen or older and you wish to invite them, they receive separately addressed invitations.

The way you write the guest's name on the inner envelope generally indicates your preference for the number of people in that guest's party. If you want to invite the children, put their names on the inner envelope.

The inner envelope with its invitation is then placed in the mailing or "outer" envelope (which does have a gummed flap). The outer envelope is normally addressed by hand centered neatly with the guest name and address on the front. Your return address would be printed on the flap side at the top in the center.

If you are not using an inner envelope, the way you write the guest's name on the outer envelope generally indicates your preference for the number of people in that guest's party. For example, "Mr. and Mrs. Jack Jones" means husband and wife but no children. Do not address the outer envelope as "Mr. and Mrs. Jack Jones and Family" if you are using an inner envelope (which will include the individual names). The preferred inner envelope name convention is "Mr. and Mrs. Jones". If the childred are invited, a second line "Frederick and Janet" (the childred in chronological order).

When your outer envelopes are commercially printed, they are printed with your return address ONLY. If you are printing your own envelopes, you should do the same. If however, you are printing your entire ensemble, you MAY print both your return address and the addressee IF you are using the SAME font throughout your entire ensemble. When in doubt, HAND WRITE the addressee on the outer and appropriate names on the inner. Note that hand calligraphy is a very nice touch for inner and outer envelopes.

If your invitations include additional cards, consider putting a complete assembly together and weigh it to determine proper postage. And do not forget to include a stamp on the Respond Card envelope before sealing the outer envelope. You would definitely be upset if the Post Office returns all your invitations with an "Improper Postage" stamped in red on each one.

Assembling Your Paper Ensemble

Your ensemble may consist of the Invitation, optional tissue, separate Reception Card, Respond Card and Envelope, Inner Envelope, and Outer Envelope. They are assembled in that order as follows:

  • Invitation Face Up
  • Tissue
  • Reception Card Face Up
  • Respond Envelope with Card inserted under flap face up

Place this assembly into the Inner Envelope such that the printed sides are visible (towards the flap side of the Inner Envelope).

Place the Inner Envelope assembly into the Outer Envelope such that the Inner Envelope face side (guest name showing) faces the flap side of the Outer Envelope. Thus, when the Guest opens the Outer Envelope, he or she "sees" the face side of the Inner Envelope (not the flap side).

Respond Card Envelopes

The Respond Card envelope is printed with the name and address of the person or persons issuing the invitation. The printing will be centered horizontally and. The addressee name should be printed near the vertical center. PRE-STAMP each Respond envelope.

Thank You Note Envelopes

These envelopes, normally supplied with the Notes, can be printed with your return address on the flap side. Your name is omitted. Note that the address may be your new, after marriage, address.

Personal Note Envelopes

Same as Thank You Note Envelopes.

At Home Card Envelopes

Same as Thank You Note Envelopes.

Announcement Envelopes

Announcements normally do not include an inner envelope. Address the outer envelope as you would for the Invitation.