Although there are about a million super fun ways to address your envelopes for your wedding invites, there are some rules of etiquette that simply cannot be broken. Not so very long ago, Mr. Handsome Hubby Man and I were mere weeks away from our wedding and had been engaged (and living together) for quite some time when we received an invitation to another wedding in the mail addressed to (gasp!) just Tony! I was both horrified and deeply offended. Now, I'm not going to point any elbows at the offender (you know who you are!) but I am going to lay down some rules for anyone who might be questioning how to address their own invitations before you go and make any huge mistakes.
Married with the same last name:
Outer envelope: Mr. and (always spell out AND) Mrs. Jason Spencer OR Mr. Jason and Mrs. Carrie Spencer
Inner envelope: Mr. and Mrs. Spencer OR Jason and Carrie
Married with different last names:
Outer envelope: The person you know best is always listed first, so if you're better friends with the wife it would be written as Mrs. Julie Hunter and Mr. Kyle Harrison. However if it's a family member the husband's name would go first.
Inner envelope: Mrs. Hunter and Mr. Harrison OR Julie and Kyle
To a family where the children are invited:
Outer envelope: The Jones Family OR Mr. and Mrs. Kevin Jones and Family
Inner envelope: This is where you list out every family member invited. Kevin, Beth, Kevin Jr., and Elizabeth
Unmarried couple living together:
Again, the person you know best or your family member is listed first.
Outer envelope: Mr. Andrew Washington and Miss or Ms. Alissa Santos.
Inner envelope: Andrew and Alissa OR Mr. Washington and Miss/Ms. Santos
Same sex couple:
The same rules apply to same sex couples as they do for any other couple. If married, both women would be listed as Mrs. with the person you know best or your family member's name being first. If unmarried, both would still be Ms.
Outer envelope: Mrs. Courtney and Mrs. Erin Hayes-Johnson (if they've hyphenated their last names) OR Mrs. Courtney Hayes and Mrs. Erin Johnson (if they've kept their own names).
Inner envelope: Courtney and Erin OR Mrs. and Mrs. Hayes-Johnson OR Mrs. Hayes and Mrs. Johnson
Couples with a doctor:
The doctor always gets named first.
Outer envelope: Dr. Megan and Mr. Matthew Underwood OR if both are doctors, Doctors Megan and Matthew Underwood.
Inner envelope: Megan and Matthew OR Dr. and Mr. Underwood Or The Doctors Underwood
Other distinguished titles:
The same rules stand for military, judges and professors as they do for doctors. The person with the title is named first followed by their spouse.
Outer envelope: The Honorable Catherine Moore and Lieutenant Carl Moore, US Navy OR Professor Steven and Mrs. Valerie Rush
Inner envelope: Judge and Lt. Moore OR Catherine and Carl, Prof. and Mrs. Rush OR Steven and Valerie
Jen Furda-Larsen, the brilliant designer behind Adori Designs often suggests adding the inner envelope when invitations are oddly shaped or if a client is concerned about them being damaged in the mail. She also frequently suggests having envelopes professionally printed or hiring a calligrapher if budget isn't an issue as a beautifully addressed envelope sets the tone for a lovely event and just looks soooooo much nicer than a hideous sticker from a home computer. Even consider asking a friend with pretty handwriting to address them for you with a nice colored gel pen. Nowadays there are so many lovely font options available online that it wouldn't be hard to address and print the envelopes yourself!
Have fun with this but don't break the rules of etiquette!
Notes: If adult children are still present in the household (21 years old+) a separate invitation should be sent to them. Lastly, unless the invitation has specified "And Guest" you are not welcome to just show up with a date. You can call or email to ask if dates are welcome but you can't just RSVP more than the number of people on the invitation.