Invitation Etiquette Part 2 – Salutations…Addressing Your Envelopes

Ready to throw your own party? Addressing the invitations doesn’t have to give you a headache. Reference this quick and easy chart for perfect etiquette.

Forms of address…

Situation

Options/Notes

Addressing a Woman

Maiden name

Ms. Jane Johnson
Miss Jane Johnson*
   
*Usually for girls under 18

Married, keeping maiden name

Ms. Jane Johnson

Married, uses husband’s name socially

Mrs. John Kelly
Mrs. Jane Kelly*
   
*Today this is acceptable

Widowed

Mrs. John Kelly*
Mrs. Jane Kelly
Ms. Jane Kelly

     *If you don’t know the widow’s preference,   this is the traditional and preferred form

Addressing a Couple

Married, she uses her husband’s name socially

Mr. and Mrs. John Kelly

NOTE: Traditionally, a man’s name preceded a woman’s on an envelope address, and his first and surname were not separated (Jane and John Kelly). Nowadays, the order of the names—whether his name or hers comes first—does not matter and either way is acceptable. The exception is when one member of the couple ‘outranks’ the other—the one with the higher rank is always listed first. (see below)

Married, she prefers Ms.

Mr. John Kelly and Ms. Jane Kelly
Ms. Jane Kelly and Mr. John Kelly
   
*Do not link Ms. to the husband’s name:
      Mr. and Ms. John Kelly is incorrect

Married, informal address

Jane and John Kelly
John and Jane Kelly

Married, she uses maiden name

Mr. John Kelly and Ms. Jane Johnson
Ms. Jane Johnson and Mr. John Kelly

If you can’t fit the names on one line:
Mr. John Kelly
and Ms. Jane Johnson

   
*Note the indent, either name may be used first

 

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