Thought you were clear of etiquette quagmires after you figured out the wording of your invite? Not quite …
You have your invitations and your guest list. Now: the task of addressing them.
Michelle Lawrence, wedding coordinator for Short North stationery shop On Paper, understands that formal etiquette can be daunting. “I never would have thought that there were so many little scenarios and ways of doing things, but there are,” she says.
With 10 years of experience as On Paper's wedding coordinator, Lawrence has the answers to help clients navigate the etiquette of addressing wedding invitations. If you want to stick to the formalities—which you should consider doing, as your wedding day is a pretty big deal—read on for her tips and guidelines.
Anytime a woman is addressed individually, her name goes first. The only exception is when a married couple is being identified by the husband's title; in that case, his title precedes hers.
For married couples, the key components are that the names are written on the same line and joined by the word “and.” Non-married couples who live together should be addressed on separate lines, with the woman's name first, followed by the man's underneath. And for non-married couples who don't cohabitate? Send them each an individual invite.
When inviting families with children, you can either address them as “The Smith Family” or, if you want to address the children separately, address the parents together on one line and the children on the line below.
A few other things to remember: The title “doctor,” Lawrence clarifies, only applies to medical doctors. Always use full names (“William” instead of “Bill”), and include sequential designations like Jr. or III where appropriate. Finally, if any of your guests are gender non-binary, Lawrence suggests simply omitting gender-based titles.
One hot topic Lawrence has noticed with her clients is wanting to buck tradition and include the woman's name when addressing invitations to married couples. If it's important to you and your partner that women be included by name, Lawrence suggests not being afraid to bend the rules to best fit you as a couple or your wedding.
“Etiquette,” says Lawrence, “is truly meant to not offend anyone.”