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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.







Email if you need additional information or help!







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301-916-6870 office  •