If you have a wedding coming up, you are going to need to send out invitations. However, sending out invitations can be a sticky business. Here are some modern twists on classic wedding etiquette rules that are both proper, acceptable and will suit your modern sensibilities.
Addressing A Married Couple Who Shares The Same Last Name
Your grandmother or even your mother might advise you to address invitations to a married couple to "Mr. & Mrs. John Wallace."
However, unlike your grandmother, most of your younger friends may cringe at being addressed by both their husband's first and last name; the lady in question does still have a first name. Addressing a married couple as "Mr. & Mrs. John Wallace" has fallen out of favor.
Feel free to address your invitation to "Mr. & Mrs. Wallace." If you really want to use first names, use both of their first names. Address the invitation to "Mr. John Wallace & Mrs. Katherine Wallace." The man's name doesn't even need to be listed first. You can put the woman's name first if you want to.
Addressing A Married Couple With Different Last Names
If the wife did not take her husband's last name, respect that wish on your invitation. Just address the invitation to "Ms. Katherine Black & Mr. John Wallace."
Notice that the invitation is addressed as Ms. and not Mrs. Technically, if she did not take her husband's last name, the invitee is still considered a Ms.
If the wife has a hyphenated last name, address the invitation to "Mr. John Wallace & Mrs. Katherine Black-Wallace." In this case it is appropriate to address the wife as Mrs.
Inviting a non-married couple is very similar to inviting a married couple whom have different last names. Address the invitation to both parties, using their proper titles, and place an "&" symbol between their names.
If you want your single friends to come on their own, make sure you just address the invitation to them. However, if you want them to bring a guest, then address the invitation to "Ms. Kathy Lane & Guest."
That way, your single friends will not have to wonder if it is okay if they bring a guest. By addressing the envelope this way, you take away the guessing and minimize the risk of having an awkward conversation where your friend has to ask if they can bring their boyfriend along to your wedding.
If you are inviting adults and children to your wedding, there are a few ways to handle this on the invitations. You can address the invitation to "The Wallace Family." Try to stay away from addressing the invitation to the "The John Wallace Family"; it's not only passé, it sounds awkward.
Or, you can address the invitation to "Mrs. & Mr. Wallace & Family" or "Mrs. & Mr. Wallace & Children."
However, if their kids no longer live at home, splurge on an extra wedding invitation and send their children their own invite.
As a rule of thumb, address people with the formal title they use in their day-to-day lives. Don't feel like you have to list the man's name first; in today's day and age it is perfectly acceptable to list the woman first on the invitation. This makes more sense as well if it is the woman whom you are close with. Finally, make sure your invitations are specific. Let your guests know based on how the invitation is addressed if they can bring a guest or their children. That way, you don't have to include a "no-guest" clause or "no-children" clause with your wedding invitations.
To learn more about wedding etiquette, contact a service like Chapel of the Bells.