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Addressing the Invitations...

Lovely readers, I have a conundrum. I have to get our list of addresses to the calligrapher this week and I am having a hard time deciding how to address the outer envelopes. I love proper etiquette and the tradition it carries, but I also have a bit of a feminist streak. Which brings me to my problem...

For a married couple, etiquette calls for the outer envelope to be addressed to "Mr. and Mrs. John Smith." But where is the woman's first name? I enjoy that its traditional but can't help but feeling like the woman's first name should be in there somewhere. I mean, she's not just a Mrs....Jane has an identity of her own (see: aforementioned feminist streak)! From what I can see, there are two alternatives:

Mr. and Mrs. Jane & John Smith

or

Jane & John Smith

The first option seems really lengthy and the latter seems really informal. While our ceremony will be outdoors and the reception is in a tent, its not a "shirt and shoes optional" type event. So what's a girl to do? How do you address a semi-formal invitation without turning the first line into a novel? Any comments and thoughts are appreciated! And for those of you in a time crunch I created a poll on the right.

21 comments:

Ali said...

i say go with mr. & mrs. john smith. it's classic and although you may be feeling feministic (i don't think that's a word!) i don't think many women are offended when called mrs. hubands name if they decided to take that name when they were married.

Amy said...

I'm having the same problem. It especially bothered me because if you invite the children, etiquette calls for their full names to be written out - so that only the wife/ mother is without a first name. We have decided to do: Mr. John and Mrs. Jane Doe. It's one less "and" so the line looks less cluttered!

ami @ elizabeth anne designs said...

I'm doing:

Mrs. Jane Jones Smith
and Mr. John Smith

Two lines but I feel good about having both full names on there!

Le said...

Same problem here as well with the added etiquette twist of "never separating a man from his last name"...who knew envelopes would be so stressful.

I used:
Mrs & Mr (Smaller font)
Jane and John Smith (Normal size)
Jr-ette and Junior Smith
123 Any Street
Any City State 12345

mom2lo said...

I agree with both Ali and Amy. I think the "Mr. and Mrs. John Doe" is nice and I for one am pleased to be listed as "Mrs. John Doe" as I love my hubs and am proud to be his "Mrs." However, if you still feel inclined to go a traditional yet feministic (lol!) route, I think "Mr. John and Mrs. Jane Doe" is a nice compromise. Just don't ask me how to include any children's names with that!

Good luck with the decision-making!

Just Another Day...

T said...

We've been thinking about this, too. Many of our invitations are going to have the full names of both the man and women: Mrs. Jane Doe and Mr. John Smith, since while married, many of the brides didn't take the groom's name...ughhhh, it makes it so complicated. However, when the couple does have the same last name, we'll be addressing them as Mrs. and Mr. Jane and John Doe. When there are children invited, as many are, we will address them as Mrs. and Mr. Jane and John Doe and Family.

Question: Does the woman's name always go before the mans?

ley said...

Actually, if you're including both names, it's "Mr. John and Mrs. Jane Smith" instead of "Mr. and Mrs. John and Jane Smith." (Not to go all grammar nerd on you, lol.) That's what I used on my invitations. No one really noticed, but I liked that I was able to give the wife a name, too.

blackbirdbride said...

What about:

Mr. John Smith
Mrs. Jane Smith

We use this often when sending event invitations.

Linda said...

I did Jane & John Smith. But I had a few Jane Jones Smith & John Smith ones too.
Our wedding is more casual so I felt it was ok.

AEO said...

We did Mr. and Mrs. John Smith for the older generation who we knew preferred this. For our friends or people we knew hated the above version we did Mr. and Mrs. John and Jane Smith. I didn't like Mr. John and Mrs. Jane Smith at all.

I love FI dearly, but I am completely opposed to losing my identity, esp since I've worked just as hard as him career wise/graduate school wise. I really didn't want to change my name at all and to know that for the rest of my life I'll be getting mail addressed to Mrs. John Smith irritates the heck out of me. I wish I had a way to let people know this besides word of mouth.

Molly said...

We did your first option and it worked out just fine. It only got hairy when they had long names and we had to add "and family", but they we just let the names take up two lines.

Miss X said...

We're doing Mr. and Mrs. John Smith (except where I know that Mrs. "Smith" kept Jones as her last name). Then our belly bands will have the less formal John and Jane.

Darci said...

I knew I wouldn't be alone on this - thanks for all the comments!

T - I think the woman's name does go before the man's in that you're not "supposed" to split up the man's first and last name. So it would be Jane and John Smith.

Kate said...

I am so glad you posted about this! I have the same issues w/ dropping the woman's name as well! And I've already pitched my mini-fit about being announced for the first time w/ both our names (Mr. & Mrs. John and Jane Doe).

Although I feel like this won't be much of an issue w/ our invitations - all of the married invitees are my parents friends and family so we will just go w/ "Mr. & Mrs. John Doe." Most of our friends aren't married and those who are are pretty traditional.

I would vote for the "Mr. & Mrs. John & Jane Doe" option for your guests who are younger and more modern!

Meg said...

Mr. & Mrs. Jon & Jane Smith is totally proper... and I think risks offending fewer people in this modern age. If I got something written out to Mr & Mrs. John Smith, I would flip, and I know my mom feels exactly the same way.

Another way to go is to adress the invites by what people like to be called, if you happen to know. It does not have to be uniform, after all.

Ashlyn Donatelli said...

I just had to decide this Friday. I went with your first option.

Mr. and Mrs. Jim & Sally Smith.

:) Long, but I feel special for each guest.

Laura said...

i had the same problem and i went with John and Jane Smith. I think it is time we moved past the Mrs John Smith time and start giving women a name on the invite. Good Luck!

LaVerte said...

If it were I, and it was a formal occasion, the invitations would be Mr. and Mrs. John Smith. It it was a more casual (not black/white tie) I would go with Jane and John Smith

Melissa said...

I had the same conundrum!!! I hate excluding the female's name. I did 'Mr. & Mrs. John & Jane Smith'

Tia said...

I actually did the more formal version on my invites, but opted for the more informal "John & Jane Smith" on the seating cards. A nice mix.

tina said...

Oooooh! I hate this too! I still call my parents' friends and my friend's parents "Mr. & Mrs." but it feels weird typing "Mr. & Mrs. Kevin R." for someone that I carried home from a fraternity house after he passed out in their living room wearing a leisure suit. Also, I think that I'll hate being "Mr. & Mrs. Andrew C" after the wedding. I remember waiting in line for a place card at a friend's wedding about 10 years ago and my newlywed friend saying, "Great. I get to be Mrs. Kip H. today."

I went with "Mr. & Mrs. Kevin R." for my STDs because I had small labels. I decided it was too stuffy and went with "Mr. & Mrs. Kevin and Angela R" for my invites; however, I also broke so many rules since I didn't have inner envelopes and was trying to control the guest list. For example, here's one of my envelopes for which I am only inviting one of the three kids that live there (We talked about it and she approved it, but that was a year ago, so, just in case:

Mr. & Mrs. Victor and Cynthia D.
Miss Deanna D.

And on this one, I spelled out my cousin's names because I knew that it would thrill them. I would have sent them their own invite for fun, but I don't have enough.

Mr. & Mrs. Kevin and Diane Brz...
Miss Taylor Brz..
Miss Kailee Brz..