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Addressing and Sending Invitations
Opening a wedding invitation is unlike opening any other piece of mail. Much care goes into addressing both the inner and outer envelopes. Several enclosures usually accompany the invitation itself, and there is a thoughtful order to how they are placed inside the outer envelope, and even a few things to think about when you stamp and mail them.
Before You Begin
The inner envelope bears the title and last names of the specific people invited. This allows the host to be very clear about who is invited, and by omission, who is not invited.
If children are invited but are not receiving a separate invitation, their names may be written on a line below their parents’ names on the inner envelope. If no inner envelope is used, children’s names are written on the outer envelope below the names of their parents.
For example, the inner envelope for Mr. and Mrs. James Darling and the two Darling children, Sarah and Jonathan, would be written:
Mr. and Mrs. Darling
It’s also fine to write familiar names for close family: Aunt Martha and Uncle Bill.
The outer envelope
The outer envelope is addressed conventionally using titles, first, (middle), and last names.
Mr. and Mrs. James Arthur Darling
Forms of Addresses
Following is list of the most common forms of address.
To a married couple
Invitations are always addressed to both members of a married couple, even though the bride may know only one or knows that only one will attend.
To an unmarried couple living together
Invitations to an established couple who are unmarried but live at the same address are addressed to “Ms. Nancy Fellows and Mr. Scott Dunn,” on one line.
To a married woman doctor or two married doctors
If the woman uses her husband’s name socially, the address is “Dr. Barbara and Mr. James Werner.” If she uses her maiden name both professionally and socially, it is “Dr. Barbara Hanson and Mr. James Werner.” If the husband is also a doctor, the address is either “The Drs. Werner” or “Drs. Barbara and Robert Werner.”
How to add “and Guest”
Since it’s awkward and impersonal to address the outer envelope as “Mr. James Smith and Guest,” the two-envelope system works well. Address the outer envelope to “Mr. James Smith” and the inner envelope to “Mr. James Smith and Guest.” If you’re only using one envelope, include a short note with your invitation: “Dear James, You’re welcome to bring a guest to the wedding. Please let me know. Best, Laura.” If there’s time and James supplies the information, you can send his guest an invitation, too.
How to Stuff the Envelopes
Before you buy stamps, take an assembled invitation to the post office and have it weighed. It’s likely that the inserts, or even an unusually shaped envelope, will call for extra postage. The post office usually has wedding-themed stamps that will cover the cost of most invitations with enclosures. Some post offices may be out of stock, however, so leave time to find them at another branch or to order them online.
Remember that maps and other inserts sent to out-of-town guests will make those invitations heavier than ones sent to local guests and may require a postage adjustment. In that case, be sure to assemble two sets and have both weighed.
Lastly, ask at your post office if it is possible to have your envelopes hand-stamped. This produces a different postmark (often considered more attractive) than if your invitations were run through an automatic sorter.
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