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Stationery Etiquette Guide

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The date is set, you've picked out the venue and you're starting to put together your guest list...and that's when you decide the laundry is more important…

But, fear not! This etiquette guide will help you choose the perfect invitation verbiage and put together your guest list without pulling out your hair.

Sample Invitation Wording

The following samples are the most common types of wording for wedding invitations. You can certainly get as creative as you'd like, though, so please use these as a guide for your own invitation design.
 

FORMAL | one set of parents hosting

Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan Lawrence Smith
request the honor of your presence* 
at the marriage of their daughter

Heather Marie
to
Michael Francis Jacobson

Saturday, the eighteenth of May
two thousand nineteen
at seven o'clock in the evening

Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist
Savannah, Georgia

and afterwards at the reception

*Second line reads "request the pleasure of your company" if the ceremony is not held in a house of worship.
 

FORMAL | couple hosting

The pleasure of your company*
is requested at the marriage of

Heather Marie Smith
to
Michael Francis Jacobson

Saturday, the eighteenth of May
two thousand nineteen
at half past six o'clock in the evening

Forsyth Park
Savannah, Georgia

and afterwards at the reception

*First line reads "The honor of your presence" if the ceremony is held in a house of worship.
 

FORMAL | everyone hosting

Ms. Samantha Christine Jones
and
Ms. Emma Julianna Parker

together with their parents
Mr. and Mrs. Mark Franklin Jones and
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Allen Parker

request the pleasure of your company at their wedding*

Saturday, the eighteenth of May
two thousand nineteen
at six o'clock in the evening

Historic Rice Mill
Charleston, South Carolina

and afterwards at the reception

*line reads "request the honor of your presence at their wedding" if the ceremony is held in a house of worship.
 

INFORMAL | both sets of parents hosting

Eliza and John Smith and Sally and Mark Jacobson
invite you to share their joy at the marriage of

Heather Marie
to
Michael Francis

Saturday, May 18, 2019 at 5:30 in the afternoon

Montage Palmetto Bluff
Bluffton, South Carolina

Dinner and dancing to follow
 

INFORMAL | couple hosting

Together with some good vibes
and the love and support of family and friends

Zoe Parker
&
Laura Thomas

invite you to join them as they tie the knot
Sunday, August twenty-fifth, two thousand nineteen
at four o'clock in the afternoon

Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi
Santa Fe, New Mexico

Feasting and festivities to follow
 

INFORMAL | everyone hosting

Together with their families

Heather Marie Smith
and
Michael Francis Jacobson

joyfully invite you to share in their celebration
of love and commitment
Saturday, May 18, 2019 at 4:30pm

Pulaski Square
Savannah, Georgia

Dinner, dancing, and merriment to follow at Soho South Cafe

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Etiquette Tips

The days of rigid etiquette rules have passed; however, we don't recommend throwing all of them by the wayside. Using appropriate titles and making sure names and addresses are spelled correctly shows your guests that you have put thought into inviting them to your celebration.

These little things matter when it comes to weddings and other special events. Plus, you'll earn bonus points with Great Aunt Susan!


  1. Double...no, triple...check the spelling of all names, addresses, and streets. Don't forget about those zip codes either! The US Post Office reads addresses from bottom to top, so if the zip code is invalid or does not coincide with the city, it will bereturned.

  2. Do not include middle initials - use the guest's full middle name or leave it out altogether. If a guest does not use his / her given first name, it is appropriate to leave it off completely or include an initial, such as D. Jones Smith.

  3. Unmarried women over the age of 18 are commonly addressed as Ms., and Miss is reserved for women under the age of 18.

  4. "Master" is used for male children under the age of 13, not Mr.

  5. Children and a guest's "plus one" are only included on the inner envelope when using double envelopes.

  6. When using a single outer envelope, be sure to include any children or your guest's "plus one" so they know they're also invited.

  7. Include the name of your guest's "plus one" when it is available to you rather than using "and Guest." It 's much more personal and your guest will appreciate the gesture.

  8. Using "and" to link two names traditionally implies marriage BUT may be used for addressing envelopes to unmarried couples living together. If the names are too long to sit on a single line, it is appropriate to write the names on two separate lines.

  9. Adults living together who are not romantically involved each receive a separate invitation.

  10. Children over the age of 18, living at home, each receive a separate invitation.

  11. Consistently use "&" or "and" between Mr. and Mrs. or between couples' names.
     

  12. Courtesy titles, such as Mr. and Mrs., may be abbreviated, but professional titles such as Doctor, Reverend, or Second Lieutenant must be spelled out completely.
     

  13. A comma is included before suffixes like Sr. and Jr., but not before roman numerals such as Ill, IV, etc.
     

  14. When spelling out the suffix "senior" or "junior," the word is all lowercase. Use title case when using abbreviations, such as "Sr." or "Jr.
     

  15. Do not use abbreviations for Street / Drive / Avenue / etc., Apartment, Post Office Box, cities, or states for formal events such as a wedding.
     

  16. Abbreviations may be used for less formal events...but we still think it 's nice to spell everything out anyway. 
     

  17. Spell out all street numbers 1 - 10 (i.e., "Seven Park Avenue").

 

Common ADDRESS SITUATIONS

MARRIED COUPLE

Mr. and Mrs. Mark Stroud (formal)
OR
Meredith and Mark Stroud* (informal)
OR
Mark and Meredith Stroud (informal)

*Traditionally, the husband's first and surnames are not to be split up; however, this is one of those etiquette rules we feel may be broken.

MARRIED COUPLE | wife "outranks" husband

Doctor Meredith Stroud and Mr. Mark Stroud
OR
The Honorable Meredith Stroud and Mr. Mark Stroud
OR
Captain Meredith Stroud and Mr. Mark Stroud

Never address correspondence to "Dr. and Mr. Mark Stroud " when the husband does not hold the title.

MARRIED COUPLE | both are doctors with the same last name

Doctor Meredith Stroud and Doctor Mark Stroud
OR
Doctors Meredith and Mark Stroud
OR
The Doctors Stroud

SAME SEX COUPLES | married and unmarried

Mr. David Burtka and Mr. Neil Patrick Harris (formal)
OR
David Burtka and Neil Patrick Harris (informal)
OR
Ms. Ellen DeGeneres and Ms. Portia de Rossi (formal)
OR
Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi (informal)

The order of the names does not matter, so you can list whomever first that you want. We recommend sticking with alphabetical order, though.

WIDOW

Mrs. Elvis Presley (super traditional + formal)
OR
Mrs. Priscilla Presley (formal)
OR
Priscilla Presley (informal)

We recommend checking with your widowed guests to get their preference for how they like to be addressed as all options showed above are appropriate.