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How to set up your guest list and address your wedding invitations

ENVELOPES: single or double?

One of the questions we get asked the most from our clients is “should I use 2 envelopes or is 1 enough?”. For those who are not familiar with the process, traditionally the wedding invitation is placed inside one envelope, which is then placed inside a second, sligtly larger envelope.

But what’s the point in doing this?

Although often not necessary, there are a indeed a few benefits that come from using a double envelope; first and foremost it is an extra layer of protection for your invites, which was also one of the main reason why it was so commonly used in past. Secondly it helps defining exactly who is invited to the event.

For modern, more relaxed and casual weddings, one envelope does suffice, however to achieve a more traditional and classy feel, using an inner and outer envlope does add that extra factor.

Determining the appropriate way to address your wedding invitation envelopes can be a tricky process. As a rule of thumb, the outer envelope of your wedding invitation should be more formal, with titles and full names, while the inner envelope is more informal, leaving out first names or titles and last names (if you’re very close to the guest). Find even more ways to address your wedding invitation envelopes below.

Unmarried female  Miss (or Ms. Smith (and Guest)  Miss (or Ms. Helena Smith
Divorced female, uses married name  Mrs. Laurie (and guest) Mrs. Hazel Laurie
Divorced female, uses maiden name  Miss (or Mrs) Laurie (and guest)   Miss (or Mrs) Selena Laurie
 Unmarried Male Mr. Smith (and guest)   Mr. John Smith

Your wedding guest list will be filled with many different people in many different living and family situations. The guide above is designed to give you examples of various scenarios you will come across when addressing your wedding envelopes. We’ve included a column with examples for addressing both inner envelopes and outer envelopes since most traditional wedding invitations still come with both.

If your wedding invitation did not come with an inner envelope, you will follow the outer envelope examples but you will want to clearly state who is invited to the wedding. For example, if you’re inviting a family of five, write the parents’ names as shown above and then write all three of the children’s first names like mentioned in the inner envelope column (or write “and family” for a more informal approach). If you are encouraging single friends and family members to bring a guest, be sure to write “and guest” on the outer envelope.

Here are some other helpful tips for addressing your outer envelopes:

  • Do not abbreviate except for Mr., Mrs. or Ms.
  • Do not use symbols.
  • Spell out the word “and.”
  • Do not use initials.
  • Use figures only when writing house numbers and zip codes.
  • Write out the words “Street,” “Boulevard,” “Avenue,” etc.
  • Do not abbreviate state names.


There are just a few things to remember when it comes to writing your return address on the wedding invitation envelopes.

  • The return address can be placed on the front of the envelope in the upper left corner or it can be centered on the back flap. Invitations by Dawn will professionally print your envelopes return address for an additional charge in the location you request.
  • Proper etiquette states that envelopes should be completely hand addressed. However, we feel it’s perfectly fine to use address labels or custom address stamps. We highly recommend placing address labels or stamps on the back flap rather than on the front so as not to interfere with the aesthetic of the guest’s handwritten address.
  • Proper etiquette states that the bride should not use her new last name on any stationery until after the official ceremony. This means the bride would not use her new last name anywhere on the save the dates, wedding invitations, ceremony programs, etc. She can use her new last name on reception stationery and thank you cards. However, we believe this rule is a little outdated and that if a couple lives together and is handling their own RSVPs, it’s fine to use address labels or custom address stamps for the sake of practicality. In the end, it comes down to what the couple is most comfortable with.
  • These same rules apply to the response card envelopes. Click here to Learn How to Word Your RSVP Cards.
  • You don’t have to lick every envelope! Get an envelope moistener and make the assembly process so much easier.


Tip 1. Everyone invited should receive an invitation. Don’t overlook people you know will be attending (parents, bridal party, ushers, etc.)

Tip 2. Clearly print the names of all invited on the inner envelope. This is your chance to state each person by name (this includes children).

Tip 3. Only one invitation per married couple.

Tip 4. Indicate a plus one is welcome by writing “and guest” after the recipient’s name on the inner envelope.

Tip 5. Invitations to unmarried couples should be sent to the closest friend but each person’s name (first and last) should appear on the inner envelope.

Tip 6. Children under the age of 18 are included in their parents’ invitation.

Tip 7. Children older than 18 should receive their own invitations, even if living at home.

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