• Cristina Mantua

Wedding Etiquette - Chapter 1 ( Part 3 - Wedding Invitations)

This is the part 3 of our series Wedding Invitations Etiquette. You can check out part 1 and part 2 to learn more. In our previous posts, we covered topics like who and how to invite your guests to your wedding, and the etiquette for wording the invitation regardless the style you decide to go with. Here, we are going to cover what goes in the inner and outer envelope as well as the proper way to let your guests know some important details about your wedding, like if children are invited or not, wedding registry, etc. The invitations are a great way to incorporate your wedding color palette and give your guests a glimpse of what is about to come.

What goes inside the envelope

The envelope holds what is commonly known as the invitation suite. It is composed of:

Wedding Invitation

This is a requirement. It includes the host, bride and groom's names, wedding date and time, location and the city and state. We talked about the structure and invitation wording in our previous post. Additional information should be included in a detail card or other separate cards.


The RSVP card is used for guests to formally accept or decline the invitation and lists the number of parties for that invitation. You should include an RSVP card providing the reply by date, space for their name, the response option, the number of people attending, a line to list dietary restrictions. You may also include meal options if you need to. The response cards are sent already pre-stamped and self-addressed to the host or to the designated person that would be keeping track of them. If you are having your guests RSVP online, it should include all the necessary information needed for your guests to do so. This could include the website and step by step process. Either way you should include the reply by date insert.

Detail Cards

These are used to provide additional information to your guests that may be relevant for them to know, such as room blocks, receptions details, wedding website and transportation. It is recommended to separate the cards by topic like:

Accommodations: for hotel information and room blocks.

Reception cards: Used to share relevant information like if the ceremony and receptions are in separate venues, or if there is a significant time bridge between ceremony and reception.

Detail card: If there is not too much information to share, then having one detail card is acceptable.

What to write in the envelope

There are 2 envelopes: the inner envelope, which carries the wedding invitation suit, and the outer envelope, which is the protective envelope that holds everything inside and prevents the invitations from getting damaged while being transported to its destination.

In your envelope addressing, you can let your guests know you are hosting an adults-only wedding by addressing it to the parents only. If you do not include the children's name, you are implying that they are not invited. Do not address the invitation as "The Morris' Family" either. Also, don't be surprised if some guests still mistakenly assume children are welome. If you are still concerned you could include it somewhere on your wedding stationary, like the wedding details card and you can also write it in your website. NEVER add this to your wedding invitation wording, it can come across as rude and might offend some guests.

Other options to spread the word among guests is to ask immediate family and the bridal party to help you by letting your guests know the wedding will be adults-only. There will be some guests that, regardless of all of your the efforts, won't get the message. In this case, you may have to reach out to them directly to explain the situation in a soft manner.

Note: Keep in mind that if your are hosting an adults-only wedding, this means no children involved in the wedding ceremony like flower girls or ring bearers. This is to avoid offending anyone that has children and were told not to being them to the wedding..

That said, let's dive into the details of how to properly address the envelopes.

If you are inviting a:

Single guest

Write on the outer envelope:

Ms. Jennifer Murray

Write on the inner envelope:

Ms. Murray



Married couple

Write on the outer envelope:

Mr. David and Mrs. Amanda Scott


Mr. and Mrs. David Scott

Write on the inner envelope:

Mr. and Mrs. Scott


David and Amanda

Married couple with different last names

Start by listing the person you are closest with first on the outer and inner envelopes. If you are equally close with both, list them in alphabetical order

Write on the outer envelope:

Mr. David Scott and Mrs. Amanda Manino

Write on the inner envelope:

Mr. Scott and Mrs. Manino


David and Amanda

Same-Sex Couple

Use the same rules as for any other married or unmarried couple. You can also list them in alphabetical order

Write on the outer envelope:

Ms. Diana White and Ms. Melanie Davis


Diana White and Melanie Davis

Write on the inner envelope:

Ms. White and Ms. Davis


Diana and Melanie

Unmarried couple living together

Both names should be included in the envelope, with the exception that each name guest will have its own line.

Write on the outer envelope:

Mr. Brendan Jones

Ms. Patricia Walker

Write on the inner envelope:

Mr. Jones

Ms. Walker

Titles matter when addressing envelopes, if you are inviting a:

Married Woman Doctor or Two Married Doctors

If the person you are inviting is a woman that uses her maiden name professionally and socially, the envelopes should be written as:

Write on the outer envelope:

Dr. Viviana Walker and Mr. Brian Ruffin

If she uses her husband's name socially:

Dr. Viviana and Mr. Brian Ruffin

If both parties are doctors, you can write on the outer envelope:

Doctors Viviana and Brian Ruffin

On the inner envelope:

Dr. Walker and Dr. Ruffin

Note: For those with other distinguished titles. The same rules you use for doctors apply for military personnel, judges, reverends and so on. If both titles don't fit on one line, indent the second line.

Children and Families

You can include younger guests by their names in the inner envelope of their parents' invitation. You should not write their names in the outer envelope.

To address children properly, use "Miss" for girls under 18. Boys don't need a title until they are 18, then use "Mr."

Write in the inner envelope:

Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Jones

Miss Madeleine, Calvin and Miss Kelly

For children older than 18 years old, they should receive their own invitation unless they are living in the same house as their parents. In that case, you should address the envelopes as:

Ms. Madeleine Jones


Mr. Calvin Jones

To finish the wedding invitations etiquette series, here are some of my favorite stationary vendors:
Betty Lu Paperie

Emily Baird Design

Oh Eleven Studio

August + White


Laura Hooper Calligraphy

Plume Calligraphy

Ivory and Twine

Olive Saint Lily

One and Only Paper

Sable and Gray

Chatham and Caron

Paper Vine

Gatherie Creative

Need some guidance during the planning process? Contact us to learn how we could team up and create something amazing.

Have a sweet day,

Cristina Mantua – Owner and Lead Designer at HWE

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