You sent save the date cards as soon as you chose your date and location. You found the perfect invitations and navigated the minefield of invitation wording and enclosures. Now you are wondering about addressing your wedding invitations and assembling and mailing them too. Regardless of how formal or informal your style, the little things do matter. Writing out the address in the correct way (and using the correct courtesy titles and honorifics – if you choose to use them), shows that you have put careful thought your destination wedding invitations.
Putting together your invitations for a destination wedding is no different from putting together a traditional invitation. It starts with the guest list. You will need to create your guest list complete with full addresses and courtesy titles such as Mr. or Doctor (if you choose to use them). Consider calling parents or friends to acquire or confirm addresses and spellings. Don’t wait until the last minute to get started, this can take a surprising amount of time and destination wedding invitations should be sent at least three months before the event.
This guide will walk you through addressing wedding invitations in the most traditional manner, however, destination weddings tend to be more intimate events, so these “rules” need not necessarily apply.
Addressing Your Wedding Invitations
The Inner and Outer Envelope:
Wedding invitations are traditionally mailed inside two envelopes. This ensures that each guest will receive a pristine envelope, even if the outer envelope has been soiled in the mail. While this is not necessary, I think it is a great touch that adds that extra something special to even the most modern invitations. If your invitations do not come with two envelopes, you can order envelopes in white or a complimentary color from Paper Source.
Names and Titles:
For your destination wedding, you can use any naming convention you desire. I love the idea of keeping the outer envelopes formal and using first names only on the inner envelopes and using honorifics for family, such as “Aunt” and “Uncle.” However, should you choose to use traditional convention, here is what you need to know:
The outer envelope should include the full names and postal information for the head of household and spouse/domestic partner only (since this envelope is for the postal service). Nicknames are not used and middle names are written out or omitted (no initials). Only last names are traditionally used on the inner envelope (as there should be no confusion who Mr. and Mrs. Smith are at this point).
The inner envelope should include the names of all of the invited guests in the household including children or dates if they are invited (since the inner envelope specifies exactly who within the household is invited). Children over 16 years of age should receive their own invitation.
When inviting an unmarried couple who lives together, or an engaged couple, list each name on a separate line on both envelopes, alphabetically by last name. If you are inviting a single guest – who does not live with their date – include the guest’s name only on the outer envelope and include the line “and Guest” on the inner envelope. If you know whom he or she will be bringing, it’s more personal to include that person’s name, on a separate line on the inner envelope.
All titles other than “Mr.,” “Mrs.,” “Ms.,” should be spelled out. For a single woman, either “Ms.” or “Miss” is appropriate; many people find the former preferable. A boy under the age of 13 is “Master,” not “Mr.” Girls and young women under age 18 are called “Miss.”
|Married Couples||Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Georges|
|Husband has a suffix||Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Abraham Smith Junior|
|Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Smith IV|
|Husband has a professional title but wife does not||Doctor and Mrs. Cameron Rubino|
|Wife has a professional title but husband does not||Doctor Cynthia Rubino and Mr. Cameron Rubino|
|Both are doctors||The Doctors Rubino|
|Both have professional titles||Doctor Mary Alison Gray and Lieutenant Michael Steven Gray, US Navy|
|Wife has a different last name||Mrs. Kristen Jane Reid and Mr. Anthony Meecham|
|Couple is not married (separate on different lines and without “and”)||Mr. Michael BakerMs. Michelle Thomas|
|Single Guests||Miss / Ms. Patricia Jones or Mr. Frank Kirwin|
The address on a wedding invitation should be hand written. Printed labels (like the Avery brand one used by many offices) are not appropriate. However, it is acceptable to use decorative or fancy labels if they match your invitation style. I prefer to still hand write the address on the label. If your invitations are formal, you may want to consider having your envelopes inscribed by a professional calligrapher. Make sure you get your envelopes and guest list to your calligrapher at least two to three weeks before you need them.
Be sure spell out all words in the address such as “Post Office Box”, Street and even State names. House numbers smaller than 20 should be spelled out.
The Return Address
Write out all the words here too on the envelope’s back flap. This however can be printed on the envelope.
Assembling Your Wedding Invitations
All enclosures should be printed on coordinating papers. Enclosures should be stacked smallest to largest (with the invitation on the bottom). When using a folded invitation, insert the inclosures into the invitation. Insert everything into the inner envelope, print side up (facing the flap – so that when guests open the inner envelope, they see the text). Then slip the unsealed inner envelope into the outer envelope with the names facing the back flap.
Mailing Your Wedding Invitations
Bring your completed invitations to the post office (or bring a sample in advance to check the weight) so that you are sure to purchase the correct postage. If the post office does not have the design you want, you can order stamps from USPS.com or even create your own postage at zazzle.com. If possible, I recommend that you can request that your invitations be hand-canceled – which will prevent the damage that machines can cause, and have a pretty stamp instead of printed bar code.