To make addressing your envelopes easier, try to have an organized guest list with full names, addresses and zip codes. Once this list is created you can use it to send Save-the-Date notices, your invitations, announcements and thank you notes. (HELPFUL HINT: Number your guest list at the beginning and print the corresponding number in ink, on the back of their response card. --One number per outgoing invitation.-- If your guests forget to write their name on the line, you will know who is responding.)

Your invitation envelopes can be addressed by a calligrapher-computer calligraphy or hand calligraphy. Return addresses printed on envelopes are usually printed in “raised ink” to match your invitation. If you are addressing envelopes using your home printer, please note that some home printers can generate heat and melt the raised ink and potentially damage your printer. Please be careful!

When addressing an invitation always spell out the full name and address without using abbreviations. The only acceptable abbreviations are Mr., Mrs., Ms., and Jr. . Junior is always preceded by a comma.

When addressing an invitation with a single envelope, write the complete formal name and address of your invited guests on the outside of the single envelope. Children’s names should be listed below parents’ names on the envelope.

When two envelopes are used for invitations or announcements, the inner envelope, which may be plain or lined in a color to coordinate your ensemble, is without glue and remains unsealed. The outer envelope has a glued flap and is used for the complete mailing address. The guest’s full name is always used on the outer envelope with the street address:

Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Sutton
908 South Main Street
Hingham, Massachusetts 02043

Nicknames or abbreviations should be avoided when possible except for Mr., Mrs., Dr., Jr., etc. and for military rank. You may use an initial if you do not know the full name or if the person never uses their given name. Cities, states and numbered streets are written out in full. Remember to include zip codes. The US Post Office website: is easy to use in order to look up zip codes and even confirm street addresses.

The inner envelopes always carries the last names only with no address:

Mr. and Mrs. Sutton

The phrase “and family” should be avoided. If you wish to include younger children, they should be mentioned by first name, according to age, on the line following that of their parents:

Mr. and Mrs. Sutton
Mark, Cynthia, Thomas

These names should appear on the inner envelope only. The outer envelope would simply be addressed to the parents.

If you are inviting a single person with a guest and you do not know the name of the guest, you may address the invitation to:

Mr. Robert Williamson and Guest
Ms. Roberta Trent and Escort

Two unmarried people who reside at the same address may be sent a single invitation. Their names would appear on separate lines.

Ms. Roberta Trent
Mr. Robert Williamson

The same format may be used when inviting a married couple, if the wife has kept her maiden name or uses a professional title.

In addressing clergy, military officers, and medical doctors, always use their titles in full:

The Reverend William Prentice
Colonel and Mrs. Quinlan Roberts
Doctor (Dr.) and Mrs. Martin Swift
The Doctors Swift

Your return address should be printed, written or embossed on the flap of your outer envelope. This ensures that any invitation can be returned to you with an address that is incorrect or for any other reason.