Addressing your wedding envelopes may not appear to be a problem of etiquette, but if you read many of the wedding blogs the rules surrounding addressing envelopes look like a mine field.
Fortunately many weddings are now much more informal and some of these rules are now viewed as out-dated and have become etiquette myths.
Myth 1: You should have an inner and outer envelope, both of which should be addressed differently. I am quite sure that this is not the norm – it is a waste of time, money and paper and I have never received an invitation with two envelopes. Apparently this bit of etiquette arose when invites were hand-delivered and the footman would open the outer envelope and deliver the inner one to the recipients. Now we might all love Downton Abbey but there are some things we do not want to re-live, so unless your guests have footmen you only need 1 envelope.
Myth 2: You should include middle names of guests Why? Unless the guests are your immediate family you are unlikely to know them anyway.
Myth 3: Do not use abbreviations in the address. Again, why? Is it really a problem to shorten a title from Doctor to Dr. or Road to Rd? Do you really need to write out the street number as ten, instead of 10?
Myth 4: All the envelopes should be hand written. This one is maybe not quite such a myth – handwritten addresses gives a really good first impression of your wedding and shows you have made the time and effort to care for your guests. However, if your handwriting is scruffy or you are short of time, there are alternatives. You can hire a professional calligrapher or you can have the envelopes printed directly or use a printed address label. It still looks good and will make it easier for the mail to deliver. Just make sure you provide the printer with all the correct details before it goes to print.
Myth 5: Unless she is part of a married couple, adult female guests should be referred to as Ms. This is an example of “know your guest” – when I was single I hated being referred to as Ms and I’m sure many other women will do too. Personally I only use Ms if I don’t know whether the recipient is married or not – usually for business purposes. You may well have some relatives who prefer Ms, but probably many others who don’t.
There are, of course, some instances when you may not be sure of the correct protocol for addressing the envelope: divorced female guests, titled guests, same sex couples and children and we will provide you with some examples of wording in the next blog on the subject.