More wedding invitation questions?

by DIY wedding planner on March 11, 2014

I don’t have inner envelopes. I have one of those kits that just have the invite cards, rsvp cards, return envelopes, and big envelopes. So how does that work? Do I just put the names in the address that I would normally put on the inner envelope?

What do you do with children’s’ names? Obviously if there’s only one child I can put “Ms. Jane Doe, Mr. John Doe, and Miss Katherine Doe.” Right?

What’s the protocol for babies? Do I put their names too? Say “John Doe Jr.” is an infant, how would you address him?

Only one more question, I promise ;) What do you do when there are 3 children (16 and under)? Should you put all 5 names on the envelope or can you just addresss it to the “Smith family”?

Anyone know of a website or book that addresses all of these issues and more so I can quit bugging you guys?

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathryn L March 11, 2014 at 1:38 pm

you could also put, mr and mrs. john smith and family if you just wanted something different.. but smith family would be fine.
also its ok to write on the outside envelopes if thats all you have.


ariymama March 11, 2014 at 2:31 pm

For every family that has children I would put the household name: The Smith Family. For those married without child I would put Mr. and Mrs. Smith. For those not married I would put Ms. Smith and Mr. Doe. Finally a household with mixed family I would put: The Smith and Doe Families.


JennyH March 11, 2014 at 2:38 pm

To the first question, the inner envelope you will put your address or whoever’s address you want the RSVP to go to and a stamp. Usually you only address the adults for the wedding. The ones I have been to are adult reception. If you allow the children to be there you can put Mr and Mrs John Doe and Family. If it is a single parent with one child, put Mrs. Jane Doe, Johnny, and guest.Then they can RSVP how many people from the family are coming. Usually adults prefer to leave their children at home with a sitter.


kill_yr_television March 11, 2014 at 3:06 pm

First the Technical Etiqette, and then a few modern compromises. Technically, every person gets his/her own invitation, including very small children. The exception is married, engaged, or otherwise very commited couples who can be invited in join invitation. So if the Smith household consists of Mr & Mrs, Sonny, Buffy, and Auntie, you’d technically send five invitations. The names on the big envelopes would be the same as the names on the invitations inside. You’d then put all five envelopes into a very large plain white envelope and mail the whole shebang to Smith Residence.

Today it is more usual to invite a couple and their young children with just one invitation, with something like “John and Jane Doe, Katherine, and John Junior” written in the “fill in names” space. The envelope can then be addressed to either John and Jane or to Smith Residence.
If a grown child or some other adult lives at the same address, then send each such person his/her own invitation with name only on the envelope. You then send all the envelopes together, as described above, to save postage costs.

PLEASE do not allow yourself to fall into the trap of sending “& Guest” or “& Family” invitations to ANYONE. You’d think this would be a no-brainer where free champagne suppers are involved, but The Wedding Industry WILL insist that guests must be allowed to bring guests of their own to treat to YOUR champagne at YOUR expense. This is absolutely incorrect. As every, The Wedding Industry is more interested in driving up the amount you spend than in telling you what is actually correct.


aspasia March 11, 2014 at 3:26 pm

First of all, since you have a kit, you can customize your own wordings entirely. So, take all those smaller cards and envelopes that you are thinking of as “rsvp cards” and set them aside. You can use them to write your thank-you notes when the presents start coming in. It would be rude to send stationery to your guests as if you thought they didn’t have any of their own (and, for those of your guests who do NOT have their own social stationery, it would be rude to suggest that there is anything wrong with their preferred standard for social communication, whether that is telephone, email or text). Just make sure you include your return address on the envelope, and your phone number or email under the “R.s.v.p.” line.

Then, create your invitation wording with a write-in line so that the guests names can be written on the invitation itself. This is the traditional form, still used in the highest of society. You can see the examples calligraphed by the Lord Chamberlain for royal weddings. The wording is:

“Mr and Mrs Host
“request the honour of the presence of
“(space to write in names)
“at the wedding of
“Miss Firstname Lastname
“Mr Kenny Groom
“at Venue
“on Saturday the date of month
“at time o’clock”

You must have a separate invitation for each separate social unit — that is, for each husband-and-wife, each unmarried individual, and each family with nursery-children.

When you write in the names you use only the proper formal names. That means “Mr Lastname” or “Mr and Mrs Lastname” and so on. First names are used only by minor children (not including the eldest daughter), by sons and their wives even when they are of age if their father or elder brother is still living, and by younger daughters even when they are of age.

For example:

Mr and Mrs Phipps (my parents)

Miss Phipps (me: I am the eldest)

Mr and Mrs Alexander Phipps (my brother, to distinguish him from my father)

Miss Hypatia (my younger sister)

Mr and Mrs Pericles Phipps
Master Lysander, Miss Cassandra, Miss Medea
(Use two lines — the married couple get the line to themselves with the “and”, the children are listed on the second line. Lysander is a younger cousin, so he gets “Master”; Cassandra is the elder sister but she is not “Miss Phipps” because her elderly cousin still holds that title)

Mr Aloysius Phipps and Mrs Margaret Jones
(They’re married, but Margaret kept her own name. She prefers the title “Mrs” so you use what she prefers: if you have to guess at a lady’s title the Secretary of State recommends that you guess “Ms”, since it’s correct for any lady regardless of marital status.)

Put only the official mailing addressee on the envelope: in the egalitarian United States that would be the couple (Mr and Mrs Firstname Lastname); in Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand that would be the lady of the house only (Mrs Firstname Lastname). That is the person who will open the envelope, take out the nice formal invitation, and show it to all the invitees.

Technically, the only correct way to create an invitation is to hand-write it, or to have it engraved. Hand-writing is still the highest standard. However, if you are using a printer programme and templates to match your kit anyway, and if you are technically savvy enough to make it work. there’s no reason not to use a mail-merge programme to write in the names of your guests on the invitation along with the rest of the text.


iloveweddings March 11, 2014 at 4:01 pm


You do not need to specifically address each individual in the household…..father, mother, child(ren). You do not want an endless string on names on the envelope.

Just go with:
Mr. and Mrs. John Smith and Family
(you can use this if they have 1, 2, 3, or more children!)

If a single person and you want them to brng a date:
Mr. John Smith and Guest

If a doctor:
Dr. and Mrs. John Smith and Family

Hope this helps!


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