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Addressing envelopes for your guests

This can be tricky if you are having a formal wedding and want the invites to convey the sense of occasion. Getting this right is important as it sets the scene for the day itself. Here is a quick ‘how to’ for every type of circumstance.

Same sex couples:

The general practice is to put the names in alphabetical order by the last name

Outer envelope (Men):

  • Either, Mr. Derek Jones and Mr. Anthony Smith, or on separate lines:
  • Mr. Derek Jones
  • Mr. Anthony Smith

Outer envelope (Women):

  • Either, Ms. Jane Roberts and Ms. Felicity Collins, or on separate lines:
  • Ms. Jane Roberts
  • Ms. Felicity Collins

Inner envelope (Men):

  • Mr. Jones and Mr. Smith, or on separate lines:
  • Mr. Jones
  • Mr. Smith

Inner envelope (Women):

  • Ms. Roberts and Ms. Collins, or on separate lines:
  • Ms. Roberts
  • Ms. Collins


Outer envelope (Single):

  • Doctor John Stoddard

Outer envelope (Married):

  • Doctor and Mrs. John Stoddard

Inner envelope (Single):

  • Doctor Stoddard

Inner envelope (Married):

  • Doctor and Mrs. Stoddard

Outer envelope (Married couples, both doctors):

  • Doctors John and Haley Stoddard

Inner envelope (Married couples, both doctors):

  • The Doctors Stoddard

Unmarried families:

Unmarried families living together should be addressed alphabetically by the last name. Names of children under 18 should not be written on the envelope, but on the card, after the couples’ name, starting with the oldest child. Children 18 and over who are invited should be sent separate invitations.

Outer envelope:

  • Mr. Derek Jones and Ms. Carol Patterson, or on separate lines:
  • Mr. Derek Jones
  • Ms. Carol Patterson

Inner envelope:

  • Mr. Jones and Ms. Patterson, or on separate lines:
  • Mr. Jones
  • Ms. Patterson

Guests without dates:

If possible, find out the name of the guest and write it on the envelope after the name of the invitee, but if you do not know the name of the guest, only write the name of the invitee on the envelope, and on the card itself, write ‘and guest’ next to the name of the invitee.

Guests with dates:

If inviting a guest who is known to be dating someone, each person should be sent a separate invitation.

Inviting Children

Inviting children (or not) can be a tricky subject to cross and is usually conveyed in the invitation. You may find that this can often result on some guests not coming (if adult only) because they cannot find a babysitter. But do not be dismayed, if this is your choice, guests will understand.

If you wish to invite children, include their names on the parents’ invitation card (not the envelope), starting with the name of the eldest child. If children’s names are not included, parents should assume that they have not been invited. Children 18 or older should receive their separate invitations.

If you do not wish to invite children, it may be a good idea to include a short note with the card, stating that due to constraints such as space or cost, you are sorry not to be able to accommodate children. If children have been invited, let parents know if there are special arrangements for them, e.g. childcare.

Specifying the dress code (casual, black tie, etc.)

According to Debretts, wedding etiquette requires that a dress code should be included on a wedding invitation only when guests are required to adhere to an uncustomary dress code such as black tie.  Any unusual dress code should be explained in the extra information accompanying the invitation. However, with weddings becoming ever more diverse in their style and degree of formality, we are seeing an increase in invitations which include dress codes. Some of these codes include smart casual, lounge suit, cocktail, morning suit, black tie, and white tie. If you want, you can make the dress code voluntary by writing ‘black tie optional’ or simply by using the words ‘formal’, ‘semi-formal,’ or ‘informal,’ which will give your guests a broader choice when selecting their outfits.

How to dis-invite a guest

There is no rule of etiquette for dis-inviting a wedding guest. Once an invitation has been accepted by the guest, there is no polite way to dis-invite them. If an RSVP arrives after the due date, you may technically have the right to dis-invite the guest; however, the cause of the delay may have been with the mail delivery service. Even if the RSVP was sent late, taking the step of dis-inviting the guest may cause upset and put the relationship in jeopardy.

Using email or a wedding website for RSVPs and extra details versus enclosure cards

There are no hard and fast rules regarding either emails or a website for RSVPs versus enclosed cards. It is a matter of personal preference; however, there are several pros and cons to consider.

Pros of emails and website:

  • Easy to organize and input information in spreadsheets, etc.
  • Quicker than mail
  • Easy to set up a reminder email before the RSVP due date


  • Setting up a website for the RSVP and additional information may time consuming
  • Older or technologically challenged guests may make mistakes in sending an email, so you may not receive their email
  • Your email could end up in their junk folder
  • Not all guests may have an email address

Pros of enclosed cards:

  • Look classy and add a personal touch
  • Uniformity of look and theme of the wedding invitation


  • Added cost of postage
  • Risk of delayed or lost mail
  • People may forget to post the cards
  • Some people choose to have a website for RSVPs and additional information and also give the guests the choice of doing RSVP by phone if they wish


About the Author, Vaishali Shah at Ananya: ‘International culture’ is the narrative that runs through everything Ananya does. Whether their designs depict the domed windows of the Taj Mahal, the calligraphy in the Alhambra’s walls, a Bollywood narrative or a Swarovski-laced New York skyline, Ananya is inspired by the melting pot of cultures and the fusion of rich cosmopolitan experiences and an international flavour.

Here are some unique designs from Ananya, including their new ombre invitations!

Gatsby Glamour_wedding invitations1_from -ú4_ananyacards.com

Gatsby Glamour_wedding invitations2_from -ú4_ananyacards.com

Mint Modern_1_ananyacards (1).com_from -ú4 (1)

Mint Modern_9_ananyacards.com_from -ú4 (1)

Mint Modern_10_ananyacards.com_from -ú4 (1)

ombre_wedding invitation8_from -ú4_ananyacards.com


For further information, please contact Vaishali Shah at Ananya
+44 (0)20 7242 1877


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