WEDDING INVITATION ENVELOPE ADDRESSING GUIDE

The wedding invitation envelope. Never has there been a more confusing yet simple topic as how to correctly address guests on your invitation envelopes! With a plethora of information and opinions out there it can be difficult to know where to start. Hopefully you find the information below helpful if you are at this juncture in the planning process!

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Before diving in, please note this guide is geared towards invitation suites that do not utilize both an inner and outer envelope. While an inner envelope serves a wonderful purpose and indicates a certain level of formality for a wedding, it is not always common practice for couples to use both. Therefore this post is only focused on the use of one envelope.  

GUESTS' NAMES

Addressing an individual without a plus-one: A guest's' name should be written out in full and include any appropriate titles.

Addressing an individual with a plus-one: Rather than addressing the envelope to "Ms. Jane Doe and Guest" I suggest making every effort to find their plus-one's full name and include them on the envelope. Write the primary invitee's name on the first line, followed by their plus-one's name on the second line without the word "and." Another option would be to find their date's address and send them their own separate invitation.

Addressing an unmarried couple that lives together: Names should be written with their appropriate titles on separate lines without the word "and." This applies to same-sex couples as well. Note that if a couple (same-sex or not) has been together for a long period of time but has chosen to remain unmarried for personal reasons, you may find it more fitting to write both names on the same line and separate them by "and."

Addressing a married couple: Traditionally you should use both of the couple's titles followed by the husband’s first and last name, for example, “Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan Smith.” If you'd prefer a more modern approach you can use the first and last names of both guests: “Mrs. Jennifer Smith and Mr. Jonathan Smith.” 

  • If a married woman has chosen to keep her maiden name, address the female guest first: "Ms. Caroline Kelty and Mr. Dean Murphy."

  • For same-sex couples write both names on the same line and separate them with an "and." This will work if they share the same last name or if they have kept their last names after marriage. 

  • Recognize a judge by using “The Honorable,” and list him or her first. When both the husband and wife have different professional titles, you should generally list the wife first.

  • When a guest is a doctor you should spell out "Doctor" on the envelope. If the husband is a doctor it will be: "Doctor and Mrs." If the wife is a doctor she will be listed first on the invitation. If both are doctors write, "The Doctors," followed by their last name.

Addressing a Family: It is simplest to address the envelope to the entire family, for example: "The Culp Family." Another option is to include the parent(s) names on the first line with each of the children's first names, from oldest to youngest, on the second line. 

GUESTS' ADDRESSES

Spell out all words in an address. Rather than "St.," "P.O. Box," and "Apt.," use "Street," "Post Office Box," and "Apartment." The same applies to "North," "South," "East," and "West." City and state names should be completely written out as well; instead of abbreviations, write "Scottsdale, Arizona" and "Washington, District of Columbia" etc. 

RETURN ADDRESS

The return address should go on the back flap of the envelope. Traditionally, whoever is hosting the wedding handles returned mail and response cards, but it is perfectly fine if you would rather do it yourself or delegate it to someone. Just decide who will be taking care of the response cards (parents, couple, etc.) and use their address as the return address on both the invitation envelope and RSVP envelope. 

RSVP ENVELOPES AND ADDRESS

Including a self-addressed, stamped envelope for your RSVP cards is standard practice and makes it as easy as possible for guests to respond in a timely manner. Whichever address you chose as your invitation return address should also be the address on your RSVP envelopes. 

GENERAL TIPS

  • There are many "rules" on the correct uses of Mrs. vs. Ms. in situations when women choose to keep their maiden, when they are widowed, divorced, etc. In my professional opinion rather than trying to follow all of these "rules" simply ask (or try to find out) that person's preferred greeting and address their envelope in that way. They will probably appreciate the gesture.

  • If you’re planning to use a calligrapher to address your invitation envelopes you will want to allot enough time to have that done and get your invitations in the mail on time. It is also wise to book a calligrapher early on rather than waiting and rushing the process.

  • Start collecting guest addresses as you build your guest list so you are not stressed for time to gather addresses later on.

  • Whatever platform you use to build your guest list (Google Docs, Excel, etc.) write out your guests’ names and addresses as they should appear on the invitation envelope. For example, write “Street” instead of “St.”, “East” instead of “E.”, add names with their correct titles, etc. This will save you time later on from having to go back through and reformat everything.

Hopefully you find the above information helpful as you work through the logistics of your wedding invitations and guest list. If you are currently in this stage of planning you might find this post on wedding websites or tips for your guest accommodations beneficial as well!

Cover photo by Melissa Jill Photography

AMY & JOSH'S DAIRY FARM WEDDING, ORIGINALLY FEATURED ON GREY LIKES WEDDINGS

For years I have driven by a particular home here in Phoenix and every time I’d pass by I would tell my husband how in love I was with the property. Everything from the tree-lined drive to the picturesque field out front to the beautiful home itself had my heart, so you can image how excited I was to receive an inquiry one day about planning a wedding for one of the daughters who grew up in that same house and wanted to get married there at home. What I didn’t expect was how much more I’d fall in love with this couple and their family over the course of six months of planning along side them.

In one of our initial meetings together, Amy and Josh told me they wanted their wedding to be beautiful yet simple and have elements that emphasized their shared love for the dairy industry. Not only was it extremely meaningful that they were getting married on the farm where Amy grew up, but the two of them originally met at the dairy co-op where they both work, so bringing in touches that played off of that were perfect ways to personalize their day.

The ceremony was specifically set to take place in front of the home, with cocktail hour and reception following the natural progression of the field. With such a beautiful setting as the foundation, we were able to carve out a unique space for the event and allow guests to truly experience the charm of celebrating on the farm. Amy, Josh, and their family were amazing to work with throughout the entire process, and their big day would not have been possible without their trust and the incredibly talented vendor team behind it all. Take a look through all of Melissa Jill Photography’s beautiful photos below and be sure to check out the original feature on Grey Likes Weddings.

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Venue: Family’s Private Home / Photography: Melissa Jill Photography / Videographer: Simply Cinema / Planning & Design: Wild One Events / Floral Design: Posies Floral / Tenting & Rentals: Event Rents / Furniture Rentals: Glamour & Woods and Prim Rentals / Linens: La Tavola Fine Linen / Stationery: Roots and Rain Creative / Hair & Makeup: Amanda Victoria Beauty / Bride's Dress: Enzoani from Uptown Bridal / Groom & Groomsmen Attire: Men's Wearhouse / Entertainment: Welter Entertainment / Photo Booth: Rendezbooth / Carriage:  Carriage: Walking M Farms / Catering: Robert's Catering 

MY EXPERIENCE AT THE LVL ACADEMY WEDDING PLANNER WORKSHOP

About a year ago I decided to purchase a ticket to LVL Academy and travel out to Southern California for this wonderful wedding planner workshop. Although I already had a handful of experience under my belt running Wild One Events, I have always been a big believer in continued education and maintaining a mindset that I am never done learning. So with an excited attitude and eager mind I headed out for three days of full immersion in all things wedding planning!

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DAY ONE

The first day covered the basics of wedding planning and managing the logistics behind an event. Everything from developing your packages, managing clients’ budgets and expectations, streamlining your workflow, all the way to running a rehearsal and properly cutting a wedding cake were covered!

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We also sat in on various panels and discussions led by industry professionals. To me, the ability to listen and ask questions during these discussions was an invaluable asset. It was a whirlwind of a day but a whirlwind that made my organization-loving heart happy.

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DAY TWO

Day two continued on covering more logistics behind wedding planning. Things like what to have stocked in your emergency kit (which, by the way, is my saving grace on wedding day!), menswear and boutinerres, expectations when working at luxury hotels, and the ins and outs of catering and service-related details were all discussed.

Day two also started transitioning into the design side of wedding planning which is a huge aspect of our jobs as planners, and my personal favorite part. We heard from industry professionals like Jessi Haack (someone who I’ve been inspired by even before I started my own business), and sat in on Janelle Wylie of Lavenders Flowers and Tono and Co. as she walked us through her design process.

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The day closed out with an intimate dinner where I was lucky enough to sit next to Nancy Teasley of Oak & the Owl and Ella Rose Farm and discuss all things floral design and flower farming with her. Needless to say my night was made right then and there, and the gorgeous centerpieces she provided for the dinner literally had my senses in awe the entire evening.

The beautiful design of the tables and delicious food from 24 Carrots Catering that we enjoyed were every bit of proof that your guest experience at a wedding (or any special event) is so, so important!

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DAY THREE

While the main focus of our last day was mainly design-related, we did take some time to discuss how to properly confirm services with vendors and craft a wedding day timeline. These two aspects of planning are crucial to having wedding day run as smoothly as possible and were great topics of conversation.

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Other key points from our last day were social media, website design, styling detail shots, conducting a floral mock-up, and what was probably the most exciting - getting hands-on drawing experience sketching a dessert table with The Sketchbook Series! This part was a serious treat (no pun intended) and showed me just how easy it can be to convey your design concepts to clients through the use of sketches. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried verbally explaining my ideas to clients through descriptions and a modge-podge of Pinterest photos, but now I feel confident in sketching them out instead in a beautiful and tangible way!

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After everything was said and done the workshop closed out with a farewell party and goodbyes. Although I wasn’t looking forward to the drive back to Arizona, there were so many ideas running through my mind that I was looking forward to was getting home and starting to implement them ASAP.

I left LVL Academy with a large amount of confidence in myself as a wedding planner and even more validation in the systems and processes I had already created for myself over the last couple of years. As someone who entered this industry based solely on passion and with no prior experience in the event world, that validation was extremely gratifying.

Cheers to the ladies behind LVL Events and LVL Academy for carving out such a thoughtful space for continued learning for wedding planners!

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JEN & JAKE'S EL CHORRO DESTINATION WEDDING

Jen and Jake traveled all the way from the Pacific Northwest to host their intimate destination wedding at El Chorro alongside their closest friends and family. The two of them were some of the friendliest, most laid-back, and all around fun-loving people I have ever had the pleasure of working with, and their chic outdoor wedding spoke to both their style and personality. Despite it being one of the hottest days of spring here in Phoenix, they handled the intense heat with ease, still managed to look absolutely flawless in every single one of their photos by Elyse Hall, and had a great time during the entire process. With the already beautiful space of El Chorro as their backdrop, we aimed to create a setting that was simple yet elegant with an abundance of greenery and candlelight. Working with Jen and Jake was a highlight from my spring wedding season and it was an absolutely pleasure helping them bring their wedding vision to life. Cheers to these two! xoxo

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Photography: Elyse Hall Photography / Coordination: Wild One Events / Floral Design: Wild One Events / Getting Ready Location: Mountain Shadows / Venue: El Chorro / Rentals: Bright Event Rentals / Linens: La Tavola Fine Linen / Stationery: Grey Snail Press / Hair: Drybar Scottsdale / Makeup: Stephanie Nault Makeup / Bride's Dress: Stella York / Groom & Groomsmen Attire: The Black Tux / Beer Burro: Haul N Ass Productions / Cake: Růže Cake House / Entertainment: JH Soundscapes

WHAT PAGES TO INCLUDE (AND NOT INCLUDE) ON YOUR WEDDING WEBSITE

I love wedding websites because they are a great tool for communicating to your guests prior to your big day. Not only is it a perfect platform to show off some of your favorite engagement photos, but when constructed correctly it should let guests know exactly what to expect for your wedding as well! 

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Before diving in to what pages I suggest you include (and don't include) on your wedding website, I want to give you some general tips to keep in mind before making your own:

Try to have your website created prior to sending out Save the Dates and include the URL on your Save the Dates.

I suggest paying the additional fee (typically $20.00) to have a custom URL that is much shorter than what websites automatically generate for you. It makes it shorter for print and easier for guests to remember. 

Keep it simple. There's nothing wrong with including extra information about your engagement story or introducing each wedding party member, but don't write a novel. Most guests will happily look through it but are mainly there to find important information.

Try to stick with your overall color palette/theme/look of your wedding so your website compliments everything else to come. This will also help reinforce the style and attire for guests.

If you have a hashtag you want guests to use at your wedding it can be fun to include that somewhere on your website.

IMPORTANT PAGES TO INCLUDE ON YOUR WEDDING WEBSITE

Home: This is the best place to include your favorite engagement photo(s), date & location, and maybe a quick paragraph about your story/engagement. 

Events or Schedule: A page dedicated to the events ALL guests are invited to, from welcome parties to day-after brunches (if certain guests are only invited to a specific event then don't have that event listed on your website). If your ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception are at different locations then notate that here.

Travel & Accommodations: Use this page to make it as easy as possible for your out-of-town guests. List your hotel room blocks, Airbnb options, nearby airports, etc. 

Details: Treat this page like an FAQ section. Give information on parking at the venue(s), indicate the transportation schedule if you are providing that for guests, emphasize the desired attire/dress code, reinforce an adult-only wedding, let them know of anything out of the ordinary they should be prepared for, etc. 

Registry: Include this on your website as guests will want to know where they can purchase you a gift, but do not include your registry information directly on your invitations.

OPTIONAL PAGES TO INCLUDE ON YOUR WEDDING WEBSITE

Photos: If you want to include an entire page for engagement photos I suggest picking your top 5-10 favorites to highlight. 

Wedding Party: If you feel compelled to write about each wedding party member be sure to include a photo of them next to their introduction.

Things To Do: This is extremely helpful if you have a large number of guests coming in from out-of-town and are unfamiliar with the area. 

RSVP: If you are swapping traditional paper RSVP cards for the online route.

I hope these tips are useful for you when constructing a website for your own wedding. If you're in the process of researching which platform to use to create yours, some of my favorites to suggest are Minted, Zola, Squarespace, and Joy

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