Wedding Invitation Etiquette Isn’t Scary

by Jennifer Welsing

I know it’s only January and June seems like a long time away but if you’re a Spring bride planning her wedding, June feels like tomorrow! With all the plans to be made and fittings to be done, there is a lot of work put into a wedding. Along with it all, a lot of etiquette to follow, especially when it comes to addressing the invitations properly. So how do you address your invitation to your widowed aunt? Or your cousin and his boyfriend? Or your uncle and his live-in girlfriend? There are a lot of guidelines and rules out there, but take a deep breath, it’s not as scary as you think. 

Etiquette dictates everything should be written out on the outer envelope. Everything. This means no abbreviations in the actual address and use full, proper names for everyone invited. Now, as far as the name, or names, you are sending the invitation to, that is where questions are abundant. The best advice I read on this is to “address people how they prefer to be addressed.” So, if your widowed aunt still goes by her husbands name, then that is how she should be addressed. The same is true with divorced women; address to the name she is using, whether she has kept the ex’s name or gone back to her maiden name. When it comes to live-in or long-term couples, same-sex or straight, address them together with the person you are closest to first (e.g., your cousins full name, then his boyfriends). Ladies names go first in general, this is good to know when addressing to those married women who do not take their husband’s last name. Young children, if invited, go below the parents names. The rules change slightly depending on how formal your invitations are and, in a way, how formal you are. For more information, or an expansion to these rules, go here for another really good guide.

But in the end, these are your friends and family and you know how they like to be addressed, so address them that way!

Photos via and

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