Etiquette… nice and simple!
Reference: Amy Vanderbilt’s Complete Book of Etiquette

Ms. – refers to a woman over 21 but not yet married OR a woman that has kept her maiden name. Also, any of the following: a form of address for a woman that does not depend on her marital status or when the marital status of a woman is unknown or irrelevant.
Example: Ms. Susan Smith

Miss – refers to a young woman under 21 years of age.
Example: Miss Susan Smith

Mr. – is used for all men over 18 years of age. Young men from 8-18 typically do not get a formal title. But… (50% of my clients use Mr.)
Example: Mr. John Doe

Master – is for boys 8 and under.
Example: Master John Doe

Messrs. – is for brothers (more than one) being invited on the same envelope.
Example: Messrs. John and Joe Doe

Misses – is for sisters (more than one) being invited on the same envelope.
Example: Misses Susan and Sandra Smith

Divorced woman – with their married name are still considered Mrs. If they go back to their maiden name they are Ms.
Example: Mrs. Lisa Sprites OR Ms. Lisa Sprites

Widowed woman – should go by Mrs. (husband’s name) last name. If they have been widowed a long time, find out what they would like to go by their name or their late husband’s name.
Example: Mrs. John Doe

Guest – if someone is inviting a guest, the proper thing to do is find out the guest name…if that is not possible it is acceptable to put and guest. If you are using one envelope, the guest gets invited on the outer envelope if you are using two envelopes (inner and outer found in the most wedding invitations), the guest gets invited on the inner envelopes.
Example: Ms. Lisa Sprites and Guest (if only outer envelope)
OR Ms. Lisa Sprites (outer) and Ms. Sprites and Guest (inner)

Dating (unmarried) Couples – if a couple is dating they should be addressed as follows:
Mr. John Doe
Ms. Sue Smith
In alphabetical order with no AND in between.

Married couples – with different last names should be addressed as follows:
Example: Mr. John Doe and Ms. Sue Smith
AND (the word) signifies Marriage

Doctors – If the man is a Dr. and is married it should be as follows:
Example: Dr. and Mrs. John Doe

Dr. John Doe
Ms. Sue Smith (Dating Couples)

Doctors that are Women – If the woman is a doctor it should be as follows:
Example: Dr. Sue Smith and Mr. John Doe (Married)

Dr. Sue Smith
Mr. John Doe (Dating Couples)

If both people are Doctors, list as follows:
Married with different last names:
Example: Dr. John Doe and Dr. Jane Deer

Married with the same last name:
Example: Drs. John and Jane Doe

Not married couples that are Doctors:
Dr. John Doe
Dr. Jane Deer

When you want to mail a formal invitation it should look as follows:
(Outer Envelope Example)
Mr. and Mrs. John Doe
123 First Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21703

(Inner Envelope)
Mr. and Mrs. Doe

Using “and Family”
Old style etiquette states don’t use and family…but 50% of my clients do. It is up to your discretion.

Example One Child:

Mr. and Mrs. John Doe
Jonathan Doe
(or use Mr. Jonathan Doe)

Example: More than one child
Mr. and Mrs. John Doe
Jonathan Doe
Miss Susie Doe
Mr. and Mrs. John Doe
Jonathan and Susie Doe

Street Addresses – If you have a street address under the number ten, it should be spelled out.
Mr. and Mrs. John Doe
One First Avenue
(note that the number 1 and 1st are spelled out)
Brooklyn, New York 11111

Apartments – should be listed under the street number and before the city, state and zip code.
Mr. and Mrs. John Doe
23 West Second Avenue
Apartment 102
Baltimore, Maryland 21777

Titles – Doctor, Judge, Clergy, Military – The person with the special title (whether married or unmarried) is listed first.

Foreign Addresses – Use the proper addressing for that country. Special postage will be needed for your invitation envelope and response envelope.

Find Zip Codes – – Use only 5 digits – This is a great source to check street address spellings, etc.

The Bottom Line: Etiquette is all about showing consideration and respect for others. You know your guests and family better than anyone else, use your best judgement. With that being said, there is really no right or wrong way.


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