Weddings are beautiful occasions in which we celebrate two people coming together to celebrate their love and commitment to one another. As a guest, it’s common courtesy to bring a card to a wedding with you – even if you have already sent a gift to the couple. Also, if you cannot attend the wedding, it’s also very polite to send a wedding card.
Sometimes, however, it can be pretty hard to know how to address a wedding card, especially if you’re unaware of how the couple will refer to themselves once they’ve tied the knot. If you’re unsure about surnames, it’s best to ask people close to the couple, or ask one of them how both of them will be addressed.
Traditionally with heterosexual couples, the wife will usually take their husband’s name. In that case you should use Mr. and Mrs. followed by the husband’s first and last name.
- Traditional: Mr & Mrs Wood or Mr & Mrs Christopher Wood
- Contemporary: Christopher & Hannah
When writing inside the card, refer to both the bride and groom as their first names
When the Bride is Keeping her Maiden Name?
When addressing a card to a couple where the bride/wife is planning on keeping her maiden name, refer to the wife first.
- Traditional: Mrs K Harris & Mr J Brown
- Contemporary: Katherine Harris & Jack Brown
- Same-sex Couples
It’s up to you which name you put on the envelope first, however, it’s better to list them alphabetically according to surname.
- Traditional: Mr M Bell & Mr S Harris
- Contemporary: Mark Bell & Simon Harris
Where One Person Has a Title
Traditional: Dr Lucas Hall & Mrs Maria Hall
If the bride/wife is a doctor, make sure you list her first; Dr Nina Smith & Harry Smith
If both members of the couple are doctors, you can address them both by using The Doctors Wilkinson of Drs Peter & Alice McGowan.
Where One Person is a Judge
- Traditional: The Honourable & Mrs James Watts
If the woman is a judge, list her first; The Honorable Sarah Watts & Mr James Watts
Wedding Card Writing Tips
Sometimes it can be hard to conjure the happiness and excitement you feel for someone you know getting married into a card. But don’t let that stress you out! Here are some tips for writing wedding wishes:
Mention Both Names
When writing wedding wishes, it’s important to make the card out to both members of the couple, regardless of who you know better. For example, if you know the bride, don’t address the card to only her – you are celebrating the marriage of two people. The contents of a wedding card should be relevant to both of the newlyweds.
Don’t be Generic
It’s always best to include a note beyond the pre-written message printed inside the card. Cards are supposed to be personal, so don’t just sign your name. If you’re unsure of what to say, you can emphasise the printed message by writing something along the lines of “I saw this card, and these words perfectly sum up how I feel.”
Watch your Humour
It can be hard to pick up the tone of written words, especially when it comes to sarcasm. It’s best to avoid topics that will be sensitive for the couple, such as the length of their relationship or money. It might be obvious, but avoid divorce jokes at all costs!
The closer you are to the couple (or one of the couple) the more personal you can get with your card. If you have some, write about a memory with the couple you’re fond of.
Wedding Card Etiquette
As mentioned earlier, it’s important to bring a wedding card to the ceremony with you. But there are a few more common rules…
Hand the Card to the Right Person
If you can’t see a gift table or card box, seek out the wedding planner or venue manager. They will take your card to a designated space, ready for the couple to collect at the end of the event. If there isn’t a professional on hand, give the card to a member of the wedding party, such as a father of one of the couples, or the best man. Mothers of the Bride(s) and/or Groom(s) and Maids of Honor may not have a bag or pocket to put the card away for safekeeping.
Address the Card Properly
Read the previous tips on how to address the card. If you’re unsure of how the couple will be handling their last names, address the envelope with “To the Newlyweds.” Alternatively, you can write “To the Mr. and Mrs.,” “To the Mr. and Mr.,” or “To the Mrs. and Mrs.”
Go with a Check over Cash
If you want to include a monetary gift instead of a physical gift, it’s better to go with a check.
Send a Card if You Can’t Attend
If you’re unable to attend the wedding, mail a card. People typically send cards anytime between when the invitations are sent and the day of the wedding.
How to Address Wedding Invitations
There are lots of stressful parts about planning your wedding, and knowing how to address your wedding invitations can add to that pressure. Here’s a handy guide on how to address invitations to different people.
If the person is over 18, use Mr. If not, use name only.
- Traditional: Mr Langford, or Mr Thomas Langford
- Contemporary: Thomas Langford
Traditionally ‘Ms’ is used by women regardless of their marital status. ‘Miss’ is often used by unmarried women or girls under 18.
- Traditional: Ms Rachel Jones
- Contemporary: Rachel Jones
Single Person with a Plus One
The envelope should only be addressed to the person you know. The invitation should include the name of their plus one, or ‘and guest’.
For tips on how to address invitations to married people, same-sex couples and couples with titles, follow the same format and tips noted above (how to address wedding cards).
Quite often, divorced women will keep their ex-husband’s last name, however, some will revert back to their maiden names. Unless you know for sure, it’s best to ask her or someone close to her which name she prefers before sending out the invitation.
If you’re not already sure, it’s best to check with someone close to her what is most appropriate. When addressing an invitation to a widow, it’s traditional to use her deceased husband’s first name.
- Traditional: Mrs Martin Hayward
You can also use her first name, if that’s more comfortable; Mrs Jennifer Hayward.
Wedding Invitation Address Etiquette
It’s always better to address your wedding envelopes in a formal manner, even if your invitations are less formal.
It’s also acceptable to hand-write the names and addresses on the envelopes – especially if your handwriting is neat. You can also choose to get your envelopes printed in a font that matches your invitations. Alternatively, you can hire a calligrapher to write the addresses on your envelopes too for a truly professional look.