Well, our grand plans of having a bi-weekly Q+A blog post took a back seat to our fall weddings lately! We’re back, though, with a question about proper address etiquette for wedding invitations.
Question: After much effort, we have compiled our guest list and gathered up all of the addresses for the invitations. I have come across some and I’m stumped on how to properly address them. For example, my parents’ friends are married and the wife is a doctor – husband is not. And I have some friends who are married and both are doctors. Last, we have a couple where the wife is a judge and her husband is a doctor. I am OK with the traditional Mr. & Mrs. but I want to make sure I don’t offend anyone by addressing the invitation incorrectly!
Answer: Your invitations set the stage for your wedding and give your guests a glimpse of what you have in store for them, so addressing them properly is a great way to say, “Welcome, we are glad to have you celebrate with us!” and it shows that you took the time to personally invite them. Wether you or a calligrapher addresses your invitations, a handwritten piece of mail is the most personal form of communication – I can’t tell you how many times I get excited when I see even just a simple handwritten thank you note in the mailbox!
When addressing anything to a couple where one of the two holds a title, the person with the title is always listed first – they probably spent some extra time in school to acquire that title, so it is only appropriate to give them the recognition they deserve. Similarly, all professional titles (those for doctors, judges, members of the clergy, military, etc.) should be spelled out and not abbreviated like Mr. or Mrs. For your couple with the wife holding the title, the invitation should read like this:
Doctor Jane Smith and Mr. John Smith
(the “and” between the names implies the couple is married and applies to all situations; it is appropriate to write the names on separate lines for spacing purposes but always include the “and” for married couples)
If both the husband and wife hold the same title, such as Doctor, you have a few options:
The Doctors Smith
Doctors Jane and John Smith
Doctor Jane Smith and Doctor John Smith
When both the husband and wife hold titles which are not the same, apply the “Ladies First” rule:
The Honorable Jane Smith and Doctor John Smith
(inner envelope reads Judge Smith and Doctor Smith)
For more detailed information on proper stationery etiquette, visit our sister site Lowcountry Calligraphy and download a copy of the Stationery Etiquette Guide on the FAQ page. If you don’t see your specific scenario listed, just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and they will be happy to assist!
Wedding Wednesday Q + A is here and we have a question that comes up quite a bit for us, especially since we work with a lot of destination weddings here in Savannah.
Question: We have finally settled on our wedding guest list, but now we have to create one for the rehearsal dinner. We don’t have a clue who needs to be invited outside of the wedding party and our parents. We heard out of town guests should be included but all of our guests are coming to Savannah from out of town. We certainly don’t want to offend anyone but do we really have to throw another reception sized event?!? Please help!
Answer: Fear not, dear bride! These days, there are no hard and fast rules about the rehearsal dinner guest list. You are correct about inviting the wedding party and your parents – they have all graciously agreed to wear exactly what you want, and they will be standing up with you as a witness to your new life as a couple. This is a chance for you to say thank you and sneak in some quality conversation before the next day’s celebration.
Traditionally, for weddings held in the home town of the bride and/or groom, a rehearsal dinner invite is extended to the wedding party and their spouse/fiancé/live-in partner/date, parents/step-parents of the bride and groom, grandparents/step-grandparents of the bride and groom, officiant and spouse, any siblings who are not also in the wedding, parents of the flower girls/ring bearers, and any out of town guests. At a home town wedding, the majority of the guests most likely live nearby and do not require an overnight stay at a hotel, so the rehearsal dinner may remain somewhat intimate. These few out of town guests are spending the extra money to stay at a hotel for the wedding, so it is a nice gesture to extend an invite to the rehearsal dinner.
In your specific situation, everyone could be considered an “out of town” guest because you are hosting a destination wedding. Fortunately for you and the host of the rehearsal dinner, you are not expected to invite the entire guest list to the rehearsal dinner. Stick to the wedding party, officiant, and family rule for sure, but the rest is really up to you so stick to a guest count that is most comfortable for the host.
If you’re just dying at the thought of not seeing all of your guests the night before your destination wedding, we recommend extending an invite for guests to meet you for an after dinner cocktail at a nearby bar or lounge. Here in Savannah, there are many great spots like the rooftop terrace at Churchill’s, Perch above Local Eleven Ten, Rocks on the Roof at The Bohemian, or the hotel bar where your guests are staying – just keep in mind you don’t want to upset the hotel staff the night before the big day. This way, you have an opportunity to see everyone but you are not expected to take care of your guests’ bar tab two nights in a row, unless of course you want to.
We love sharing our knowledge and experience with our audience! Please submit your wedding related questions to email@example.com and we’ll feature your question on our weekly Wedding Wednesday Q + A blog.