Envelope Etiquette 101

Are you wondering what to do when addressing an invite to someone who kept their maiden name? Or if a couple is living together but unmarried? Addressing envelopes is probably one of the questions that I answer over and over again.

Married couple with the same last name

Outer: The husband’s full name (no nicknames), preceded by “Mr. and Mrs.”
Inner: Don’t use first names; in this case, it would read Mr. and Mrs. Harbin

Mr. and Mrs. William Harbin
9319 Oak Bluff
Columbus, Ohio 43215

Married couple with children under 18 living at home

Outer: Children’s names are left off the outer envelope
Inner: “Mr. and Mrs. Burleson” on the first line; children’s first names on a line below


    Mr. and Mrs. Bradley Burleson
    125 Magnolia Circle
    Birmingham, Alabama 35213

    Married couple in which the woman has kept her maiden name

    Outer: The wife’s name appears first, on its own line; “and” indicated marital status
    Inner: Place “Ms. Olsen” on the top line; “and Mr. Hayes” is written below


      Ms. Olivia Olsen
      and Mr. Ethan Hayes
      62 Waterfront Road
      Seattle, Washington 98118

      Married couple in which the woman is a doctor

      Outer: The woman’s name is placed first, if the husband is also a doctor, the address is either “The Drs. Werner” or “Drs. Barbara and Robert Werner.”
      Inner: “Dr. Werner” is written first; “and Mr. Werner” appears second

        Dr. Barbara and Mr. Robert Werner
        3747 Valley View
        San Francisco, California 94107

        Unmarried couple living together

        Outer: The guests’ names (ladies first) are written on two lines, without “and”
        Inner: Write “Miss Stein” on the first line, with “Mr. Richmond” below


          Miss Christine Stein
          Mr. Joshua Richmond
          43 East 92nd Street
          Apartment 6D
          New York, New York 10128

          Single person with a date

          Outer: Address this envelope to only the guest you know personally
          Inner: The words “and guest” are added. For example, “Mr. Paris and guest”. And never capitalize Guest.


            Mr. Matthew Paris
            1686 Stanhope
            Dallas, Texas 75225

            Final Tips and Tricks:

            • Never use first names on the inner envelope, except for children’s
            • Spell out state names, plus words and terms such as “Street,” “Road,” “West,” “Place,” “Post Office Box” and “Apartment”
            • Whenever a woman’s name appears independently – no matter the reason – it always goes on the first line
            • Include titles such as “Doctor” or “Judge” only if guests use them both socially and professionally

            Do you play by the rules?

            In my latest issue of In Style, the reader poll was called, “Do you play by the rules?”

            77% of readers responded that they would never wear white to a wedding. Really?! 23% of you think that it is acceptable to WEAR WHITE TO A WEDDING? It isn’t. I’ve said it before, I will say it again: 110% wrong.

            Répondez, s’il vous plaît

            What does RSVP mean? Well, the title of my posts is the actual French translation. But the request means so much more. It means that the hostess is requesting a response for an event that she is planning.

            Many times, the first time a person hosts an event requesting a RSVP is for a wedding or a wedding related event. It is extremely frustrating when guests don’t RSVP. I’ve had some RSVP slackers (as I like to call the guests that don’t bother responding) for past events (showers, weddings, etc.). I’m always baffled by their behavior.

            How did this come back to my attention? I felt prompted to actually post about this problem after reading this great New York Times Op-Ed.
            Last year, I hosted a surprise party for my husband’s birthday. Since I was paying for a number of items transportation, dessert, etc., I needed a head count. I was shocked that people opted not to respond to my request or those that cancelled on that day. And don’t think you can blame it on just the gentleman. I’m hosting a First Day of Spring Brunch this weekend and have yet to hear from two invited guests.

            Be a gracious guest and please RSVP!

            If you have questions about RSVPing, click here.

            White Wedding

            Before getting married, I posted my thoughts of a guest wearing white at a wedding. And then, of course, I had a guest show up wearing white. I DID notice but didn’t say anything.

            What would you do?

            More importantly, would you ever wear white to a wedding?

            My New Favorite Blog

            As you already know, etiquette is one of my favorite topics.  Regardless of everything else that defines you (where you live, your profession, or your income) everyone should strive to have good manners and be a gracious host.  

            I find Emily Post to my my personal inspiration.  Then you can only imagine my excitment when The Emily Post Institute started a blog!  It’s a wonderful daily read for all of those questions that you have about etiquette.  

            Ask the Bee: Should I Invite Her?

            I have a quick question about etiquette…it’s probably a dumb question, but…I sent a Save the Date card to a friend of mine, with whom I’ve rarely spoken.  Because I sent her a Save the Date card, should I still invite her to the wedding, even though we no longer have a friendship?

            In a word, yes. 

            Sending a save the date is a type of invitation. It’s an invitation to Save the Date for an invitation that will be forth coming. The It’s an invitation to save the date for an invitation that will be forth coming. It is just as rude as dis-inviting someone from a party.  

            If you have a wedding related question, Ask the Bee!!


            Event Review: Anna Post at White Chicago

            Last year, I met Peggy Post at White Chicago with my engaged friend, Nicole. The event was lovely and I was secretly pleased to have my book on etiquette autographed by her. This year, I was even more excited to attend the event as I am now engaged! I brought along my copy of Wedding Etiquette (a birthday gift) to be autographed by Anna Post, the great-granddaughter of Emily Post.

            Anna gave a wonderful talk about the importance and place of etiquette. I was especially pleased because she talked about the difference between etiquette and tradition. There is a difference! There’s no reason to feel that you are “going against” etiquette by breaking with tradition. She stressed that etiquette is not to confine someone into doing something that they don’t want to be doing. Etiquette is founded on these 3 concepts:

            1. Consideration
            2. Respect
            3. Honesty

            Anna recently published her first book, Wedding Parties. Anna also has a blog if you are interested!

            Anna also talked about her great-grandmother, Emily. Emily was something of a rule breaker herself. Part of New York society, she divorced her husband and raised her two children on her own! A distinguished writer, Fungelwagnel approached her to update the etiquette book.

            If you ever have questions about etiquette, feel free to contact the Emily Post Institute. Their website is terrible. However, they do encourage people to write in to ask questions. If you want something answered quickly, feel free to email me!

            You are wearing WHAT?!

            Etiquette is a touchy subject on the knot; well at least on my local board. I’m pretty much a devotee of Emily Post & frequently look for advice in her books.

            Even if you aren’t as unyielding as me, most women wouldn’t even think twice about it. In fact, Greer from Faye & Greer completed discounted this dress because it only came in white.

            The Editor of Martha Stewart’s Wedding, Darcy Miller, recently started a blog. One of her latest entries talked about her decision to wear white to a wedding! You can imagine my horror. I’m glad to see that I wasn’t the only one outraged. Check out the comments!

            What would you do if a guest showed up wearing white to your wedding?