Frequently Asked Questions

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Army Colonel + Retired Army Captain Wife
Q How would you address a wedding invitation to a couple where the husband is a Colonel and the wife is a retired Captain in the Army-Thank you for your help in taking the time to answer this question!

A All officers of the US Army who are retired retain their title. Socially, the envelope would be made out to:

Colonel John (middle name or initial) Adams and
Captain Elizabeth (maiden name) Adams
(Their address)

For a formal wedding, you would spell out all middle names.

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Attorney and Wife
Q How do you address an envelope to an attorney and his wife for a wedding?

A Socially, for an attorney, you wouldn't use a title or suffix. Just address them as Mr. and Mrs. John Quincy Adams. Do remember that for a formal invitation, you would spell out the middle name.

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Attorney Socially
Q When addressing a wedding invite, how do you address an attorney?

A Socially, you would address an envelope to an attorney, using either title, to: Mr. or Mrs. or Ms, first name, middle name, and then last name. On a wedding invitation, try to include the full middle name:

Mr. James Elliot Ross

Ms. Amanda Jane Wilson

If you are using an inside envelope, you would address that envelope to:

Mr. Ross

Ms. Wilson

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Bridesmaids' Luncheon: Mother + Sister of the Groom: Sister Is a Bridesmaid
Q How do I address the envelope to the bridesmaids' luncheon to the groom's mother and to his 16-year-old sister who is one of the bridesmaids?

A You would address the envelope to the groom's mother as such:

Mrs. George H. Wilson
Her address

Because the sixteen-year-old sister of the groom is a bridesmaid, you would address her envelope like this:

Miss Elizabeth H. Wilson
Her address

If you are short on invitations and because the sister is under eighteen, you can address one envelope to:

Mrs. George H. Wilson
Miss Elizabeth H. Wilson
Their address

Usually, women eighteen and over receive their own invitation, but because it is a bridesmaids' luncheon and the sister is a bridesmaid, it would be sweet to send her a separate invitation.

We like hearing from you.
Didi Lorillard

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Chief Judge + His Wife
Q Hello Didi

Please tell me the correct way to format an inner wedding envelope for The Honorable Chief Judge and Mrs. John Doe.

Thank you so very much!

Deborah Delaney

A Socially, as for a wedding, the inner envelope would read:

Judge and Mrs. Doe

Socially, also for a wedding, the outer envelope would read:

The Honorable John Doe and Mrs. Doe

For a formal wedding you would spell out the judge's middle name. Officially, as opposed to socially, you would use: The Honorable Chief Judge John Doe, followed by the name of the court (and Mrs. Doe wouldn't be included).

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Chief Justice of a State + His Wife
Q On a formal wedding invitation, how do we address a state superior court judge and his wife? I have read that The Honorable should only be used when addressing federal judges.

Thank you.

A Addressing a formal wedding invitation to a Chief Justice of a State and his wife, would go like this: The Honorable Charles Harris Whitman and Mrs. Whitman. Remember that you spell out the middle name when addressing an envelope for a formal wedding invitation.

According to the protocol bible, "Protocol: The Complete Handbook of Diplomatic, Official and Social Usage," a Chief Justice of a state is socially addressed as The Honorable. A Federal Judge would be addressed socially as, The Chief Justice and Mrs. Brown.

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Congratulations Card: Lt. Commander
Q How do I address the congratulations envelope to the bride and groom when the groom is a Lieutenant Commander in the United States Navy?

A Abbreviate Lieutenant to Lt. and you would not need to mention the United States Navy, because this is a social envelope. For the bride you would add, "and Mrs. Brown, unless she is not changing her name. In that case, on a second line add and Ms. Elizabeth Jane Strauss. Possibly, she uses Mrs. with her maiden name, but not necessarily, so find out.

We like hearing from you.

Didi Lorillard

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Congressman + Wife with Suffix
Q Dear Didi,

Will you please advise me in the proper way to address a formal wedding invitition, inside envelope and place card for a congressman and his wife. Also, if he is "John A. Doe, III" but his father and grandfather are not invited, do I still put the III on the place card?

Thank you!

A Socially, you would address the congressman and his wife on the outside envelope as: The Honorable John Adams Doe and Mrs. Doe. On the inside envelope, it would be: Mr. and Mrs. Doe. For the table cards and place cards, his would read Mr. Doe and hers would be Mrs. Doe.

Don't forget, for a formal wedding you would spell out all middle names. You wouldn't use the suffix III or 3rd for an elected official.

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Couple Before the Wedding
Q What is the proper way to address greeting card to my cousin who is getting married? Her name is Marie and her husband to be is Charles Squires. Should I address the card to Mr. and Mrs. Squires or to Marie and Charles or ??

A Until they are wed legally, she is still Ms. Maiden Name.

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Couples:
Q Addressing envelope to married couple where wife took husband's name. I don't want to use Mr. and Mrs. So, how do I formally address:

Is it Ms. Nancy Cohen and Mr. Michael Cohen?
or is it Nancy and Michael Cohen? But the latter doesn't retain the formality.

Also, are zip codes written on their own line or are they written on same line as city and state?

A If this is a formal wedding invitation, you would address the envelope to:

Mr. and Mrs. Michael James Cohen
(Their address)

For an informal wedding, you would address them as:

Nancy and Michael Cohen
(Their address)

There isn't an in between, you choose your style - one style or the other - and stick to it. Otherwise the style of your wedding is all over the place and it starts looking sloppy.

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Couples: Judges
Q On formal wedding invitations, how do I address a District Attorney (former judge) and his wife (a current judge)? Also what about 2 former judges? One is in public service, one private practice.

A Socially, for a wedding, assuming the former and current Judge use the same last name, on the outside envelope you would address them as:

Judge Wilson and
The Honorable John Jay Wilson
(Their Address)

The inside envelope:
Judge Wilson and Mr. Wilson

The former judges would each be The Honorable because they retain their honorific for their lifetime:

Outside and inside envelope would be the same:

The Honorables Mittendorf

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Couples: Table Card + Place Card
Q How do you address escort/seating cards for guests at a wedding to direct them to the correct table if it is a judge and his wife, a city councilman and his wife, and a doctor (not MD-but a doctorate from college) and his wife?

A To do it correctly, each guest would have his and her own table card as well as their own place card.

The Judge would be: Judge Wilson
His wife's, the city councilwoman, would be: The Honorable Alison Wilson (often Honorable is abbreviated to Hon.)

The doctor would be: Dr. Brown
the wife's would be: Mrs. Brown

When there are two Mrs. Browns, then one would be Mrs. Donald Brown and the other would be Mrs. George Brown.

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Doctor and a Retired Army Captain
Q I am trying to address my wedding invitations, but I have a problem. For one of my married couples, she is a doctor and he is a retired Army Captain. I keep finding different information on whether retired officers below the rank of Colonel are addressed using the Rank (ret) convention. And, since he is retired, even if I use his rank in the address, does she still take precedence because she is a currently practicing doctor? How should I handle this?

A Socially, when addressing a retired officer in the Army (or Air Force), you would not use "Retired" or "Ret.," nor would you include the branch of service, and the doctor's name would appear first. If she uses her husband's last name, you can write it this way:

Dr. Anna Freud and Captain John Freud

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Doctor and Her Husband
Q What is the proper way to address a formal invitation to a married couple where the woman is a doctor and man is not?

A For a formal invitation, you would address a doctor and her husband as Dr. Alice Adams and Mr. John Adams.

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Doctor and Husband
Q How do you address wedding invitations outer and inner envelopes if the husband is a Mr. and the wife is a Doctor and I have only been given his first, middle and last names? Is it Mr. and Dr. Brad Pitt?
Thanks so much for your time, great site. JBatten

A In a situation such as this, the hostess picks up the phone and asks the person for the names the couple wants used. Don't worry, people would rather that you call up and ask then have their name wrong on the table cards and place cards. So find out the wife's first name and whether or not she uses her maiden name or married name. As she has the highest title, her name would come first whether she uses her maiden name or married name:

Outer envelope:
Dr. Sarah Smith and Mr. James Stewart
Inner envelope:
Dr. Smith and Mr. Stewart

Again, I am assuming this is not a formal wedding, because if it is, you would spell out the middle names.

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Doctor and Judge
Q I am a doctor (bride) marrying a judge (groom; after the ceremony how does the officiant announce us to the attendees?

A If you are taking the groom's last name and his name is William Harding and your first name is Olivia, then the officiate would say: the married couple (or may I present the married couple), Judge (or The Honorable) William Harding and Dr. Olivia Harding.

It's tricky because if he is a high court judge, his name would be mentioned first; otherwise the doctor's name would be mentioned first.

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Dr. + Mr.
Q I'm addressing a wedding invitation to a married couple - the wife is a doctor, the husband is not - how should I address theirs (Mr. and Dr. Michael Lastname sounds funny...) Please help! Thanks very much!

A Since the woman has the higher degree, her name comes first. You might address the envelope as follows:

Dr. Susan Lastname and
Mr. Michael Lastname

If you can fit both names on one line, all the better; however, it is not necessary.

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Dr. + Mr.
Q Formal invite is this proper?

Dr. & Mr. Jared Pollack ?

Dr. Dana Pollack & Mr. Jared Pollack

A For a formal invitation, such as a wedding invitation, you would spell out all middle names, the woman's name would be on top when both names don't fit on the same line. In my opinion, on a formal invitation, you wouldn't use an ampersand (&) because you would spell out the word and:

Dr. Dana Wilson Pollack and
Mr. Jared Smith Pollack
(their address)

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Dr. + Wife and Reverend Dr. + Wife
Q Proper addressing of wedding invitations for Doctorate in Optometry and his wife - Dr. and Mrs. John Mason?

Proper addressing of wedding invitation for
Reverend Dr. Keith A. Haemmelmann and his wife?

Thank you

A Dr. and Mrs. James Sherman Mason

The Reverend Keith Anderson and Mrs. Haemmelmann

Remember for formal wedding invitations you would spell out the middle name. Some people even spell out Doctor. Socially, you wouldn't use both titles for the reverend.

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Dr. and Her Coast Guard Lieutenant Husband
Q How do you address a wedding invitation envelope to a married female doctor whose husband is a lieutenant in the Coast Guard? The woman took the husband's last name. Which titled person comes first?

A Coast Guard officers are addressed as "Mr." up to the rank of lieutenant commander, so he is "Mr." and she is "Dr." Since "Dr." outranks "Mr.," you would address the wedding invitation envelope this way:

Dr. Alice Shakespeare and Mr. William Shakespeare

If both names do not fit nicely on the same line, it would be:

Dr. Alice Shakespeare and
Mr. William Shakespeare

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Elected Officials
Q I have a large wedding list for a casual, outdoor wedding, and several of my invited guests will be the following and I'm not sure how to address the envelopes.

1. A retired US Representative and Senator
2. A current State Senator and State Representative
3. Several city Mayor's and one District Attorney
4. Several City Council members and a County Commissioner

Thank you for your assistance and I love this website!

A 1. The Honorable Charles Adams
2. State Senator Charles Dickens and Mrs. Dickens
3. Mayor (and Mrs.) William Shakespeare

If the County Commissioner is an elected, not appointed, official, you can address him as The Honorable. Why not call his office to find out how to address his envelope? "The Honorable" is always safe to use for a person who holds or who once held an elected office.

Thank you for your kind words. I apologize for taking so long to answer your questions, but I've been away.

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Escort, Place + Table Cards
Q I am addressing wedding invitations. Outside envelope is Mr. and Mrs. John Smith, inside envelope is Mr. and Mrs. Smith. How do I address the table cards, not place cards, table cards? Also, I have both male doctors, female doctors, male judges and female judges. How do I address the table cards? They are associates, not friends. Do I address table cards for friends and relatives in a more informal way than associates?? This is a white tie affair. Thanks. Jane

A For a formal event, only the surname is on the escort, table, or place card. You would address them the same. Although, nowadays, more and more, the first and the last name are used on these cards to help people learn their dinner partner's first name. You might do a combination of titles and surnames and first names with last names, when the person is a great friend. So: you would use Mr. and Mrs. Smith, if there is just one Smith family attending, otherwise you would use Mr. and Mrs. John Smith. Or if they are doctors, The Drs. Smith, or Dr. John Smith and Dr. Jane Smith. If they are judges, Judge John Smith and Judge Jane Smith. If only one is a judge, Judge Smith and Mr. Smith. If only one of the couple is a doctor, Dr. Jane Smith and Mr. Smith.

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Ex-Governors + Judges
Q How do I address a wedding invitation to a former governor and his wife? He is in business now and has been out of office for 10 years. Also, how do I address a retired judge and is the type of judge significant to the title addressed? Thank you

A A former governor and his wife would be addressed on the outside envelope of a wedding invitation (sometimes there is an inside envelope, too.) as: The Honorable Nelson A. Rockefeller and Mrs. Rockefeller. Governors carry the title "The Honorable" throughout their lives, as do all judges of the courts no matter if they are The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court or an associate justice.

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Father of the Groom When Groom Is Jr.
Q I am getting married soon to "Mr. John Smith, Jr.". His father is known as "Mr. John Smith" and does not have Senior attached to his name. How do I address the invitation envelope and the place card? Thanks. Rose

A When the father and son have exactly the same first name, middle name, and last name, you would address the envelope to Mr. John Smith without the suffix Senior; however, on the table card and on the place card, you would use a comma after Smith and add Sr. to designate that this is the father and not the son. As the invitation is going to the father's address and he is number one, it would appear pretentious to use the suffix Senior. However, if he lives in the South, using the suffix Sr. wouldn't be considered incorrect, and perhaps might even be proper.

Mr. John Smith
(his address)

Table card and place card:
Mr. John Smith, Sr.

By the way, don't forget that you would use middle names whenever possible when addressing envelopes for a formal wedding.

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Former Judge + Former Senator
Q Good Morning!

I'm sending out my save the dates and need to know how to properly address a family of the following.

Husband is a state supreme court judge but not the chief.
Wife is a former state senator.
They have 6 kids.

Please advise as I do not want to offend any guests.

Thanks so much!

A Socially, you would address them both separately with the honorific, The Honorable. Elected officials retain their title of The Honorable for life.

The Honorable Elizabeth (maiden name) Wilson and
The Honorable William Adams Wilson)
(their address)

For a formal wedding you would spell out all middle names.

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Former Mayor
Q Hi Didi!
I'm struggling to find the proper etiquette for addressing a former Mayor. I'm having a formal wedding and am inviting several current and former elected officials. I know that the outside envelope is addressed to "The Honorable First Name Last Name," but don't know what to do for the inside envelope, since this person is not a current elected.

A Elected officials retain the honorific for their lifetime. The inside envelope would have just the "The Honorable" and "Last Name Only". So the inside envelope might read: The Honorable David Gordon.

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Former Senator + His Wife
Q How do I address outside and inside of a formal wedding and save the date invitation for an ex senator and wife?

A An elected official retains the honorific of The Honorable throughout his/her life. Remember that for a formal wedding invitation you would spell out all middle names, so it would be:

Outside envelope:
The Honorable William Foster Grant and Mrs. Grant
(Their address)
Inside envelope + table card:
Senator and Mrs. Grant
Save-the-Date Card:
The Honorable William Foster Grant and Mrs. Grant
(Their address)

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Former Senator: Father of the Groom
Q My daughter's fiance's father is a former NC State Senator. How do I address him in the engagement/wedding announcements and also in the wedding invitation? (Wedding is formal.) How do I address him on the outside/inside envelopes? How do I address personal correspondence? (We have only met his parents once.)

A Anyone who is or was an elected official has the right to use the title "The Honorable" during their lifetime. It would be best if you asked him, his wife, the fiancé, or his office how he wishes to be addressed formally: Senator John Cabot Lodge or The Honorable John Cabot Lodge. Both are perfectly correct.

People can be very particular on the issue of titles, which is obviously why you're asking, so you want to get it straight as to how he wishes to be called. On a formal invitation you would spell out his middle name. Same for the invitation envelope. Although on the inside envelope write Senator and Mrs. Lodge. If he is married, you would add "and Mrs. Lodge." On personal correspondence and in conversation call him Senator, unless he asks you to call him John, which he will at some point, if he hasn't already.

We like hearing from you.

Didi Lorillard

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Governor + His Wife
Q What is the proper way to address a wedding invitation to a Governor and his wife?

A Socially, you would address the outside envelope to:

The Honorable The Governor of Rhode Island
and Mrs. Chafee
(Their address)

The inside envelope and table card would read:

The Governor of Rhode Island and Mrs. Chafee

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Inner Envelopes for Parents
Q How do we address the envelopes for the wedding invitations that are being sent to our parents? Mr. and Mrs. Formal Name on the outer envelope but what about the inner envelope? Mr. and Mrs.?? OR Mom and Dad?? OR ???

A The inner envelope would just say Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Inside + Outside Envelopes
Q Dear Didi:

My daughter is getting married and the envelopes were done
by a professional. Unfortunately, they are not what I wanted done. Mrs. and Mrs. John Smith; inside to read Uncle John and Aunt Joan. It was not done that way and done Mr. and Mrs. John Smith on both out and inside envelopes. Can they be done the way I wanted it done?

A It is simply not done as Uncle John and Aunt Joan. At least not on the outside envelope; however, if you really want to have Aunt Joan and Uncle John written on the inside envelope, go ahead because nobody will see it but them. The inside envelope should read Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Inside Envelope
Q What are the rules for addressing wedding invitations? Where can I find the proper format for inside envelopes? Should they be the same formal name as on the outside envelope or can they be first names, Aunt______and Uncle_____, etc?

A The outside envelope has the full name and address of the recipient(s). The inside envelope drops the given name and the address, as in: Mr. and Mrs. Doe. If Mr. and Mrs. John Doe's children, who are under the age of eighteen, are also being invited, then their first names only would be written underneath the parents' on the inside envelope only:

Mr. and Mrs. Doe
George, Robert and Amanda

Any children eighteen or older would have their own invitation and the outside envelope would read: "Mr. George Doe" and his full address. The inside envelope would just say, "Mr. Doe." If you wish to invite Mr. Doe to bring a guest, then on the inside envelope you would drop the given name and address and write, "Mr. Doe and Guest."

There is nothing wrong with addressing the inside envelope "Aunt Betty and Uncle Tom." Formal invitations usually have inside envelopes that are addressed formally; informal invitations usually do not have inside envelopes. Using "Aunt Betty and Uncle Tom" might seem a bit informal on an inside envelope, but it is your choice. There is no etiquette police or rules written in stone; however, you might want to stay with being consistent to one style or the other.

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Inside Envelope
Q On the inside envelopes of wedding invitations can we address it to Aunt Joan and Uncle Lewis instead of Mr. and Mrs. Smith?

A If you are following style, you might want to be consistent. If you are following formal style with a second envelope, the second envelope would indeed say Mr. and Mrs. Smith, whereas the outside card had the full name Mr. and Mrs. James Dickens Smith.

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Inside Envelope
Q Here is our question......(background info provided)
Formal evening wedding
Many young professionals invited between the ages of 24 and 29

We have addressed the outer envelopes to either--- Mr.Benjamin Rutherford Smith - male guest
Miss Julia Elizabeth Edwards - female guest

When Benjamin and Julia have "significant others" who we are including, how shall we address the inner envelopes??

I am thinking that if the couple is actually living together and receiving mail at the same address we should address the inner envelope to....

Mr. Smith (who is the invited person on the wedding list)
Miss Russell

or if Miss Edwards is the friend then

Miss Edwards
Mr. Boynton

And then perhaps....if the couple is not living together, but very seriously dating for quite awhile, we might address the inner envelope as...

Mr. Smith and Miss Russell (rather than Mr. Smith and guest)
Miss Edwards and Mr. Boynton (rather than Miss Edwards and escort)

Does one differentiate between the two?? Thanks for your input.

A You would address the inner envelope just to Miss Edwards and to Mr. Smith.

For a formal invitation you would always find out the correct spelling of the name of the significant other. Never, ever write "and Guest." You need to have a real name on his or her place card. The exception would be if you were hosting a very informal wedding with no place cards or formal seating, then you could get away with it. Still it is nice to have a record of the name of the guest's guest for whom you are paying. Surely either the bride or the groom must know the the name of the SO. If they don't, then have one of them email or phone the primary person and say, "We want to be sure to have everyone's name spelled properly on the table cards and the place cards, would you spell your girlfriend's name for me. Thanks."

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Invitation to All Adults in Household
Q Grandparents, uncle,and 2 aunts all live together. Can ONE wedding invitation be sent to all or must it be individually? If one invitation, what is correct order on envelopes? Thank you

A The grandparents would receive one envelope addressed to them as Mr. and Mrs. John Doe. If either of the aunts is married to the uncle, then they would have their own invitation to Mr. and Mrs. John Doe, II, and the second aunt would have her envelope addressed just to her. There is no correct order because they are all separate envelopes. Anyone over the age of eighteen receives their own wedding invitations. The only exception is when two people are married, then and only then are envelopes addressed to two adults.

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Invitations Informally
Q If I don't want to address my wedding invitations formally, i.e. Mr. and Mrs. John Doe, what are my other options?

A Alternatively, you might address your wedding invitations informally like this:

On the outer envelope or on a single envelope:

John and Jane Doe
John Doe and Jane Brown

On the inside envelope:

John and Jane
Jane and John

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Judge + Her Husband
Q How to address a wedding invitation to the husband who is an attorney and the wife is a Judge.

Thank you

A You would address a judge and her lawyer husband as:

The Honorable Charlotte Hill Wilson and
Mr. Stephen Jay Wilson
(Their address)

For a formal wedding you would spell out all middle names.

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Judge + Her Husband
Q I am a calligrapher and lettering an invitation for a family.......husband is a justice on the supreme court..
Should the invitation read:
Judge and Mrs. John Paul Smith? or
Justice and Mrs. John Paul Smith?

A The correct wording would be either of these three:

Justice Smith and Mrs. Smith
request the pleasure ....

The Honourable John Paul Smith and Mrs. Smith
request the pleasure ....

Justice John Paul Smith and Mrs. Smith
request the pleasure ....

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Judge + His Doctor Wife
Q Hello,
I need to address a Save the Date envelope and a formal wedding invitation for a married couple. The husband is a Judge and the wife is a doctor.
Thank you

A Assuming that the judge's wife is a medical doctor and uses her married name, in addressing the married couple socially it would be:

The Honorable Edward and Dr. Olivia Wilson

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Judge and Her Guest
Q How do I address a wedding invitation to a judge and her guest?

A As you would never address an invitation to a person "and Guest," you will have to telephone the judge or her assistant to ask if Judge so-and-so has an escort she would like to have invited? Then you would send a separate invitation to the escort. The address on the outside envelope to the judge would be: Judge Alice Adams. On the inside envelope, if you are using one, would be: Judge Adams.

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Lesbian Couple
Q If you are inviting a lesbian couple who live together, how do you address the invitation?

A If the women live together in a committed relationship, you would link their names with the word "and." You would address the names alphabetically. If there is not enough space on the envelope to write both names on one line, you would put the first on the top line with the word "and" after it and list the second name on the second line, such as this:

Ms. Amanda J. Anderson and
Ms. Elizabeth R. Cartright

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Lieutenant Commander + His Wife a Lieutenant in the USN
Q How do I address a Lieutenant Commander and Lieutenant in the USN and wife on a formal wedding invitation envelope?

A Are there three people in this marriage? Or is the "wife" a Lieutenant? If you're asking about a USN Lieutenant Commander and his wife, then address them socially like this:

Lieutenant Commander ad Mrs. John W. Adams
Their address

If the wife is a Lieutenant, then:

Lieutenant Commander John Wilson Adams and
Mrs. Jane Smith Adams
(Their address)

Remember that for a formal wedding, you spell out all middle and maiden names.

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Lt. Commander Dr. + His Wife
Q When addressing a wedding invitation and the husband is Lt Commander and a doctor, which title does one use? Thank you!

A Lieutenant Commander is a ranking in the Navy or Coast Guard. Dr. is a prefix such as Mr., Mrs., Ms.; therefore you would address the couple (socially) on a wedding invitation envelope like this:

Lieutenant Commander John Jay Wilson and Mrs. Wilson
(Their address)

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Married Couple With Different Names + Same Title
Q My daughter is getting married and my ex-wife has an educatiojnal doctorate. The colleagues she is inviting all have doctorates. How should the outer and inner envelope read, when the wife has the doctorate and not the husband or both have doctorates? My daughter does not know most of these people. If both husband and wife have doctorates, whose name is first?

A Outer envelope:

Wife's title (Dr.), first name, middle name, and last name.
(Then the word "and.")
Husband's title (Mr.), first name, middle name, and last name.
(Their address)

Inner envelope:
Dr. Smith (last name only) and Mr. Smith

Outer envelope:
The Doctors Smith (last name only)
(Their address)

Inner envelope:
The Doctors Smith (last name only)

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Married Doctor + Lawyer
Q How would I address a wedding invitation to a couple where she is a doctor and he is a lawyer? I know socially you don't use Esq for a lawyer but it seems odd to use her title and not his. Is it..

Dr. Sally Lastname and Mr. Sam Lastname, Esq

Or just drop the Esq, as if he were not a lawyer?

A Drop the Esq. because it is a suffix, Dr. is a title. It would look like this:

Dr. Sally Lastname and Mr. Sam Lastname
(their address)

Remember, if this is a formal wedding, you would spell out middle names whenever possible. You would also spell out Samuel.

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Married Reverends
Q How should a formal wedding invitation be addressed to a married couple when BOTH are Reverend?

A Some reverends often have a doctorate and it's important to recognize that. If one is a doctor, her name would appear first. If they both have the same level of degrees, socially and formally, they would be addressed as The Reverends Maxwell. If the woman has kept her maiden name, then you would list them individually with both full names and the woman's name would appear first. Remember to use their middle names. Additionally, either one of them could have the title: The Rev. Canton. Out of respect, you would either ask them or call their respective offices to ask their assistant how they wished to be addressed.

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Military Couple
Q I actually have two questions.

How should the addressing for a wedding invitation and/or save the date be for a woman who is divorced, but then a widow? Should it be Mrs. Anna Smith or Mrs. John Smith?

Second question again regarding wedding invitation addressing. My son is getting married in September and of the invitees are married and both active military. Should the rank be included in the address; i.e., Lieutenant Colonel John Smith or Mr. John Smith. and Major Ann Smith or Mr. & Mrs. John Smith? Also, should the rank be written out or is it proper to abbreviate the ranking? Thank you so much.

A Since she was divorced before her ex-husband died, socially, she isn't a widow. A widow can be called Mrs. John Smith until she remarries. A woman who is divorced is Mrs. Anna Smith. Alternatively, Mrs. Anna Smith can use her maiden name as a first name, for instance, Mrs. Ryan Smith, if her maiden name is Ryan. Mrs. Anna Smith and Mrs. Ryan Smith can also use the title Ms. It might depend upon her generation. An older woman would most probably be called Mrs. Ryan Smith; a slightly younger woman, Mrs, Anna Smith, and a still younger woman might be Ms. Anna Smith. It depends upon the woman's political views, as in whether she is a feminist, post-feminist, or present generation.

In answer to your second question: Socially, you would use the titles and the spouse with the higher ranking title would be listed first, but the armed forces to which the spouses are affiliated would not be listed. Since a Lieutenant Colonel is one step above a Major, the envelope would be addressed to:

Lieutenant Colonel John Smith and Major Ann Smith

Since both titled full names probably won't fit nicely on the envelope, you can put Major Ann Smith on the second line:

Lieutenant Colonel John Smith
and Major Ann Smith

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Mother and Daughters at the Same Address
Q I am addressing bridal shower invitations; how do I correctly address an invitation to a mother and daughters under the same address?

A Anyone eighteen years of age or older is sent his or her own invitation. So if the daughter is under eighteen the invitation would be addressed to:

Mrs. John A. Wilson
and Miss Olivia Wilson
(their address)

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Multiple Family Members
Q Let me first say how much I appreciate your thoroughness in attending to the intricacies of addressing.

I am preparing to order my Save the Dates and I am wondering if they are addressed with the same formality as the invitation although they are not as formal in their form. I neither want to offend nor come off as being affected.

I am not inviting any children under the age of eighteen to the wedding, so in some cases of adult children living at home, I am sending multiple formal invitations to the same address. Does the same rule apply to the Save the Dates or may I list the names on a single card? And if so how is the order determined?

Mr. and Mrs. John Doe
Miss Susan Doe (indented)
Mr. Robert Doe (indented)

A The drill is thus: anyone over the age of 18 receives his or her own invitation and sends a wedding present in appreciation.

On your wedding invite document, whether you use an excel spread sheet or not, you list the full name and address of everyone to whom you send anything. Starting with the STD.

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Newly Elected District Attorney
Q How would one address a wedding invitation to a newly elected district attorney? The wedding is in December and he officially takes office in January. Then if it is different, how would we address the envelope after he takes office? Thank you!

A As this address is for a social invitation, then the elected District Attorney is addressed as Ms., Mrs., or Mr. So-and-So. Just remember that when addressing a wedding invitation, you spell out the middle name when possible. Because this is a social invitation, the title won't change for the table card or place card. After the District Attorney takes office, when addressing a thank-you note, you would address the note to The Honorable So-and-So. All elected officials are addressed as The Honorable until their death. It is a title that once bestowed is kept for the duration of their life.

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Newlyweds: Dr. + Her Husband
Q My Dr. recently got married and I bought a gift for her and her new husband but how do I address the card if I don't know the new husband's name?

A Call the doctor's office and find out the name of your doctor's new husband. You would address the package to both of them:

Dr. Hillary Wilson and Mr. George Brown
(their address)

You can also Google wedding announcements in newspapers in your area for the same information.

We like hearing from you.
Didi Lorillard

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Nun
Q How do I address an envelope to a nun for a wedding invitation? I know about the outside envelope, but do I include "and guest", or "companion", or what? or just leave it blank on the inside envelope?

A If you are using Jane Brown, R.S.C.J., on the outside envelope, then on the inside envelope it might be "Sister Brown and Guest." If you are using Sister Margaret Annunciata on the outside envelope, the inside envelope might read, "Sister Margaret Annunciata and Guest." Just because you are inviting her to bring a guest does not mean that she will bring a guest, it means you are giving her the option.

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Parents with Different Names + Their Children
Q How do you address an invitation when the wife keeps a hyphenated last name --- Mr. John Smith, Mrs. Amy Kern-Smith, and children?

A How you address the invitation depends upon whether you have an inside envelope as well as an outer envelope. If there is one envelope for the invitation, you would write the wife's name first like this:

Mrs. Amy Kern-Smith and
Mr. John L. Smith

If you are also inviting their children, you would list the children's first names on the inside envelope under their parents like this:

Mrs. Kern-Smith and Mr. Smith
Miss Anna, Master Jack and Ms. Miranda

Girls under the age of eighteen are addressed as Miss, over they are addressed as Ms. Boys ten years and younger are addressed as Master. If there is no inside envelope, then on the upper left-hand corner of the invitation you would hand-write just the first names of the invitees:

Amy, John, Anna, Jack, and Miranda

By specifically listing the first names of the children you are inviting, you can eliminate younger children whom you cannot accommodate, say, baby Ted, who is two years old. This way you are making it crystal-clear that children under six years of age who require special food, seating, or supervision are not being invited to the reception.

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Place Cards
Q How do you address place cards on a wedding reception table?

A At a formal wedding, the place cards would have the individual's name on his or her place card; therefore "Mrs. Doe" and "Mr. Doe" would have two separate place cards. You would only use "Mrs. John Doe" or "Mr. John Doe," if there was another couple attending the wedding reception with the same last name. If the current and the former Mrs. Doe were both in attendance, then their first names would be used, as in "Mrs. Jane Doe" and "Mrs. Caroline Doe." Mrs. Doe's daughter would be "Miss Doe," if she is under eighteen, or "Ms. Doe" if she is older. Mrs. Doe's son if he is under eighteen, is "Master Doe." If he is over eighteen, he is "Mr. Doe." If his father is not expected and he is over eighteen he is "Mr. Doe." He is "Mr. George Doe," if his father is expected.

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Place Cards
Q Hello Didi ,

What a helpful website! It's the most comprehensive so far and most practical.

I went through the FAQs but would like to learn more about etiquette applicable to place cards for a wedding.
Would this be treated as you would addressing the envelopes?

For example, I have a cabinet member (secretary of national defense) who is married to a congresswoman - do I write: "The Honorable John D. Smith" and "The Honorable Nikki M. Smith"?

Also I have retired and active military men on the presidential table - Do I write "Colonel John D. Smith" and "Mrs. John D. Smith" for his wife on the place cards? Or should I use the woman's first name so the people around her would know her name?

Please do advise.

Thank you

Best regards

A Not quite like addressing the envelopes. For instance, the outside envelope would be:

The Secretary of National Defense and
The Honorable Nikki Munson Smith
Their address
(Spell out the middle name and indent the second line.)

The inside envelope would be:

The Secretary of National Defense and
The Honorable Ms. Smith (Again indent the second line.)

There is some debate as to whether an elected official has a higher ranking than an appointed official. Personally, I would put the congresswoman's name first because I am more interested in promoting the modern trend. Both would be correct. Putting the man's name first would be more conservative.

Another point I want you to consider and be sure of is this: you say that Nikki Smith is a congresswoman, if she is a Senator, she is addressed socially as, Senator Nikki Smith and her place card would be Senator Smith. If she is in the House of Representatives, she is addressed socially as The Honorable Nikki Smith and her place card would say, Ms. Smith.

The table number card would be the same as the inside envelope.

The two place cards would read:

The Secretary of National Defense
Ms. Smith

Remember that you have chosen a classic style which you'll want to stay anchored to, therefore you would not use the wives' first names on the place cards. If this were an informal country club dinner dance, you would use the first and last names on the place cards, but not the titles. You want to be consistent with your style throughout.

The table card for the retired Colonel and his wife would read:

Colonel and Mrs. John Smith
(You would only use the middle name, if there were two John Smiths at the wedding)

The two place cards would read:

Colonel Smith
Mrs. Smith

To answer your last question, it is up to the Colonel's wife to introduce herself to her dinner partners as Susan Smith.

One last point to remember, for a formal wedding you would either spell out the middle name or not use the initial.

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Recent Widow
Q Unless I missed it, I didn't see this one. A woman is very recently widowed (two weeks). I am sending her a wedding invite this week. Does the address remain as "Mr. & Mrs. Doe"? Or, because she is a widow, do I just have "Mrs. Doe"? I would not want to offend her or dishonor her late husband. So I need your guidance on this. Thank you!

A The widow continues to be addressed as Mrs. John Doe until she remarries or by choice drops the John and calls herself Mrs. Jane Doe. You would not be offending her or dishonoring her late husband by not inviting him, too. In fact, it would be a faux pas if you invited him knowing that he died.

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Retired Air Force Colonel
Q How do you address a wedding invitation when the male is a retired Colonel in the USAF?

A The Colonel would be be addressed socially as: Colonel William J. Wilson. All retired Air Force officers retain their title, unless they are reserve officers.

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Retired Judge and Former Senator
Q Wedding invitation: He's a retired judge, spouse is a former senator. How is the envelope addressed?

Thank you
Barry Patterson

A If they share the same last name, you would address the envelope to:

The Honorable Pattersons
Their address

If they have different names, use the title of honorable for both with the names they use. You may need two separate lines; the woman goes on top and the word "and" follows her last name. An elected official retains the title of The Honorable for his/her lifetime. You can never go wrong in using: The Honorable/s.

We like hearing from you.

Didi Lorillard

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Reverend + Her Wife
Q We have legally married lesbian friends, how should an invitation be addressed in this situation? To make things more tricky, one is a Rev.

A The person with the title always goes first and it does not matter whether the two women have hyphenated their last name or use one common last name. So: the envelope might be addressed to:

The Reverend Jane Doe and Ms. Charlotte Doe.

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Save-the-Date + Wedding Envelope
Q I am sending out my save-the-dates and I want them to be pretty formal but they do not have to spell out everything because the envelope is small and it will not fit (I will spell out everything and make it 100% formal on the invitations) I have a few tricky ones: A) I have a lesbian couple married with the same last name but I do not want to go so far as saying the madams. Can I address it to Mrs. Heather and Katherine Stanton? B) The husband is a Commander and the wife is a Dr. Can I do CDR and Dr. John Smith or do I need to do CDR John Smith and Dr. Kim Smith? C) The husband is a Major and the wife is a 2nd Lieutenant. Can I do Mjr. and Lt. John Smith or does it need to be Mjr. John Smith and 2Lt Kim Smith?

Is it ok to abv. on the save-the-dates or should I just avoid it and do John and Kim Smith and worry about title s on the formal invitation? Thank you so much for your help!

A A.) Address them formally as: The Ms. Stantons.
Informally as: Heather and Katherine Stanton.

B.) You can use two lines with the second slightly indented:

Commander John Smith and
Dr. Kimberly Smith
Their address

Remember that the names on the formal wedding envelope would spell out the nicknames and the middle names.

C.) Spell out the military rank and nicknames and slightly indent the wife's name on the second line:

Major John Smith and
Second Lieutenant Kimberly Smith
Their address

The save-the-date should be simple and fun. When addressing them, you can use nicknames such as Kim and you can omit the military ranks. If you have a wedding Web site to keep your guests in the loop, include that Web address on the STD. The info would include hotel information, transportation, dress codes, and contact info, as well as any photos. Also, that way people who are otherwise committed for that date due to previous plans, can email you to regret early. It will help you keep track of the numbers early on.

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Secretary of State and Wife
Q How would I invite a Secretary of State and his wife to my wedding?

A Socially, they would be addressed as:

Secretary of State and Mrs. James Dodge Ross
(their address)

For formal weddings you would spell out all middle names.

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Senior
Q Do I address a formal wedding invitation to Mr. James Allen Wood, senior, when the junior son is grown and lives in another town and is not invited to the wedding? Do I write, senior lowercase as you would junior?

A You would not use "senior" or "junior." Only when the father and son live in the same town would you use "Sr." after the father's last name. It would be Mr. James Allen Wood, Sr., if residing in the same community.

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Senior
Q We are finalizing the proof for our wedding invitation and my fiance's father is a Senior. What is the proper way to address his name? (Senior, Sr. "Sr.") We are having a formal wedding.

A You would spell out the suffix "senior," and the letter "s" would be in lower case: Mr. Charles Dodge Wilson, senior.

However, if this is as you say a "formal" wedding, then the groom's parents' names do not appear on a formal wedding invitation. On a formal Christian wedding invitation the bride's parents are giving their daughter away in marriage to Mr. Charles Dodge Wilson, junior.

Remember, also, that you spell out all middle names on a formal wedding invitation, as well as the suffixes.

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Specific Person's Attention
Q What is the correct way to address an envelope to a specific person's attention?

A The first line of the envelope would be: Attention: Ms. Sandra Smith, followed on the next line by the name of the company, the street address would be on the next line, and the city, state and zip code on the next like this:

Attention: Ms. Sandra Smith
The Inn at Castle HIll
266 Ocean Drive
Newport, RI 02840

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: State Senator + Her Dr. Husband
Q How do I address a wedding invitation for a State Senator wife and Doctor husband? Also how would their name cards be written?

A The wedding invitation envelope would be:

The Honorable Linda Chapman and Dr. Robert Chapman
(Their address)
If you need to break up the name on to two line, do so.

The place cards would be:

Mrs. Chapman
Dr. Chapman

I am assuming the State Senator is using her husband's last name, although that might not necessarily be the case.

We like hearing from you.

Didi Lorillard

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: State Senator and Her Husband
Q How does one properly address a wedding invitation to a married couple if the woman is a state legislator?

A Socially, it would be:

State Senator Margaret Dickens and Mr. Charles Dickens

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Supreme Court Justice + Wife and Married Doctors
Q Hi Didi,
Two questions -
How do I address a Supreme Court Justice and his wife - this is a formal wedding invitation.

How do I address a couple who are both doctors - the female goes by her maiden name?

A Justice Henry James Robertson and Mrs. Robertson
(Their address)

Dr. Elizabeth James Ross
Dr. George Cabot Wilson
(Their address)

For a formal wedding invitation you would spell out the middle names when possible.

We like hearing from you.

Didi Lorillard

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Two Doctors
Q How do I address a wedding invitation to a married couple who are both doctors?

A If a married couple are both doctors, you have two choices as to how the envelope might be addressed: The Drs. Smith, or Dr. George Smith and Dr. Caroline Smith.

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Typing Invitations
Q Is it acceptable to type addresses on wedding invitation envelopes, or should they be hand written?

A The envelopes for invitations look beautiful when they are handwritten. Even if your handwriting is not perfect, not to worry, nothing is worse than an invitation with a type-printed label. Lots of people toss out anything with a type-printed label if they can't immediately identify the return type- printed label because they think it is junk mail.

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Unmarried Couple Who Goes First
Q When addressing a wedding invitation to a couple not married, whose name goes first, the woman's or the man's?

A I am a big fan of "Ladies First"; however, nowadays, the person addressing the envelope writes the name of the person that they know best first and the second person's name comes next.

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Wedding Card
Q What is the correct way to address a wedding card to the happy couple? I would like to use their first name also, not just his last name...John & Jane Doe or Jane and John Doe? I want to keep it familiar.

A On the envelope you would write Mrs. and Mrs. John Doe, but the salutation would be Dear Jane and John. You can be more familiar when you sign your name by saying, "Much love and happiness to you both, Nelly."

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Wedding Couple: Before the wedding
Q How do I address a card sent before the wedding? Do I put both names or just the one where I am sending it?

A If the wedding couple aren't yet wed, then send the card to both of them using their pre-wedding names.

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Widow
Q How do I address a wedding invitation to a widow? How do I address a wedding invitation when inviting the children as well ?

A If the widow has not remarried and is not using her married name, you would address the wedding invitation to Mrs. Charles Dickens, because she still has the same name as she had before her husband died.

When including children under the age of eighteen, you would only list their names on the second envelope. So, the envelope inside the stamped envelope would say: Mr. and Mrs. Dickens, and then under the that you would list Alice, Louis, and Winston.

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Wife Kept Maiden Name + Married a Doctor
Q I have a wedding invitation to a married couple...the woman uses her maiden name and the husband is a doctor. Who is first on the invitation?

A Traditionally, you would put the doctor husband first and the wife with her maiden name second.

Personally, I would put the woman's name first, especially if I knew the couple through the woman. Neither would be wrong, it just depends how traditional you wish to be with the formality of the wedding style.

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Women
Q I was taught when I was younger that when addressing women, the use of Miss was used for an unmarried woman, the use of Mrs. for a married woman, and Ms. for a divorced woman. Is this correct? I have several woman that may attend a wedding whom I am addressing invitations for and need to know, thanks.

A Actually, as "Ms." becomes more and more an acceptable form of address, "Miss" sounds more and more old-fashioned. "Miss" is used in addressing girls up to the age of eighteen, then they become "Ms." The exception might be a very formal wedding invitation that would be addressed to Miss Jane Doe, no matter her age, only because a formal invitation follows the most formal code of address. So: if your invitation is very formal reflecting the formality of the wedding, then how the envelopes are addressed inside and out, reflects that formality, too. So: women up to the age of eighteen would be addressed on the outside envelope as "Miss"; however, if the invitation is addressed to her parents, then just her given name, Jane, would appear on the inside envelope underneath Mr. and Mrs. Doe. A single woman of undetermined age would me addressed as Miss Jane Wilson Doe on the outside and Miss Doe on the inside envelope. A divorced woman would be addressed as Mrs. Jane Wilson Doe on the outside envelope and Mrs. Doe on the inside envelope. However, if you know that Mrs. Jane Wilson Doe prefers to be called Mrs. Wilson Stuart Doe or Ms. Jane Wilson Doe, then respect here preference and use what she calls herself.

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Women as Miss or Ms.
Q I am addressing envelopes for a wedding. I have some female friends above the age of 25 who are single. Should I use, "Miss" or "Ms." when writing the address? When does a lady become a "Ms."? Thank you for your help!

A When a women turns eighteen, she is no longer addressed as Miss, but as Ms. So, in fact, you would address all of your female friends who are eighteen years of age and older as Ms.

Wedding Etiquette: Addressing: Captain Who Has a Doctorate
Q I have a couple I am inviting to the wedding where the husband was a captain in the Coast Guard, and he also has his doctorate. How would I address the card to him, as Dr. or as Capt? Thanks!

A Call the couple and find out. If he is a medical doctor, then you would address him as Dr. Not a MD, he probably uses Captain.

We like hearing from you but there is a difference between a MD and someone who has a doctorate in another discipline.

Didi Lorillard