How to address wedding invites? It’s a question many couples ask and as with many wedding planning questions, there really is no right or wrong answer. Don’t panic though, I’ve put together some handy guidelines to help you!
Whose name goes first when you address the invite?
When you start to think about how to address wedding invites, you’ll probably be wondering which name to put first. Generally speaking, if you know both partners then traditionally the man’s name would go first. If you’re not worried about tradition go with whichever! Where you know one half of a couple better than the other, put their name first. This would apply for same sex couples too. The key here is don’t overthink it – most couples are just naturally one way around or the other aren’t they? Dec & Ant?…. I’m saying no more.
How to address wedding invites traditionally
For a married couple with children the traditional and correct form of address, (according to the social etiquette ‘bible’ Debretts*) would be;
Mr & Mrs Barrie Thomas, Ellis & Huw
This is perfect if your wedding invitations are traditional and formally worded, with the parents of the bride hosting i.e.
Mr & Mrs John Jones
request the pleasure of the company of
Mr & Mrs Barrie Thomas, Ellis & Huw
at the marriage of their daughter . . . .
How to address wedding invites when they are informal
If your wedding invitations are a little more informal or you don’t want to go down the traditional route you could use something like this;
Together with their families
Joanne Jones & Richard Smith
are delighted to invite
Barrie & Emma Thomas, Ellis & Huw
Do you have to use surnames?
Whether you use surnames for your guests or not is up to you, and will depend on your wedding invitation wording. Generally speaking, if the invitation is formal and the host’s surnames are being used then include surnames for the guests too.
If you have a couple or a family with children where there are different surnames, use all of them (you can leave the surnames of the children off if you want to;
Mr Barrie Thomas, Miss Emma Pearce, Ellis & Huw
Barrie Thomas, Emma Pearce, Ellis & Huw
For more informal wedding invitation wording you can use first names only for both adults and children.
Barrie, Emma, Ellis & Huw
How to address wedding invites with children, can we just say ‘and family’?
When you address a wedding invite to a family it’s best to use specific names (including children), if possible, to be clear exactly who is invited. This will help to avoid confusion over whether children are invited or not, and also where households may include members of extended family.
Not inviting the children?
Traditional etiquette says that if children are not named then they are excluded from the invitation (they are not invited). If you think your guests may need further clarification on this you might want to include a little or note in your guest information.
What about Aunty Sue & Uncle Bob?
Confused about how to address wedding invites to those family members? Should you use their first name or Mam, Dad, Aunty, Uncle etc? The rule of thumb is to think about who the invitation is coming from and how would the person doing the inviting address the guest in question.
If the invitations are coming from you as a couple and you feel comfortable using ‘Aunty Sue & Uncle Bob’ then do! If the invites are from the parents of the bride then using Aunty or Uncle then becomes irrelevant.
How to address wedding invites with a plus one
When you are inviting partners I think it’s best to avoid ‘plus one’, wherever possible try to establish the name. If you really can’t find out then I always think ‘and guest’ is good alternative.
There’s no ‘one rule fits all’
You might find that you don’t want to use the same form of address for all of your guests. Perhaps the more senior family members would prefer to see their invitation complete with courtesy titles (Mr, Mrs etc) whilst younger friends and colleagues would find this stuffy and over formal. I think it’s always best to take each line on the guest list and go with whatever seems right for that addressee, remember that your guests are very unlikely to be comparing their invitations!
So there you go, my quick guide on how to address wedding invites for all your guests and each of their unique family circumstances, I hope it’s been helpful. Do remember that these are guidelines only, there are no hard and fast rules when you address your wedding invites. It’s your wedding, do it your way and as always, if you need help, just get in touch.
Some bonus tips from Jo
Now you’ve addressed your wedding invitations, you’re probably wondering how much it’s going to be to post them all out. Well, surprise surprise there’s no definitive answer to that either. Do go and have a read of my blog post “What stamps will I need for my wedding invitations” though that will give you lots of hand tips to consider before buying your stamps and heading off to the post box.
When you’re collating your guest list for those invites, keep a record of them all and start to think about what names you’re going to use on your table plan and place cards. If you plan to use surnames throughout then it’s a good idea to start finding them out early on (if you don’t already know them). Have a read of my blog “What names do I use on my table plan and place cards” for more advice.
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*Advice on traditional etiquette can be found on Debretts website