All you wanted to know about Envelope Addressing

Today we'll be discussing Envelope Addressing!

Whether you're planning to address the envelopes yourself or have them printed to match your wedding invitations exactly, here are a few tips you can use to ensure that your beautiful invitations get exactly where they are supposed to be!

I think the most important tip to remember is No Abbreviations!  Words like Street, Boulevard and Apartment should all be written out, instead of St., Blvd. and Apt. respectively.  The same theory is applied to the name of the state – instead of MA, the entire name of the state should be spelled out as Massachusetts.

Typically names are addressed with accompanying titles, such as Mr. Mrs. Dr. etc.  (of course, you may choose to omit these if your event is more casual).  If one of the guests has a job-related title such as Dr. or Gen. they should be listed first, regardless of the gender.  Some other common job-related titles include Honorable (judges), Captain, Reverend, and Rabbi.  If both guests are doctors, address them as The Doctors Last Name, if they do not share a common last name use Dr. with each full name, in alphabetical order.  Although PhDs should be congratulated on their scholastic achievements, they just get the standard Mr., Mrs. or Ms. when being addressed.

If the couple shares a last name you may address them as Mr. and Mrs. Husband’s First Last.  If the couple is married and does not share a last name, or is unmarried, there are two schools of thought.  The first is to order the names alphabetically by last name, for example, Ms. Lucy Allen and Mr. Greg Sherwood.  The second, is to list the person you know best, first. 

Married same sex couples with different last names would be addressed alphabetically as well.  If the couple shares a last name they can be addressed as ‘Messrs’  (yes, really) or ‘Madames’ with each first name and the shared last, Madames Ellen & Tracey Smith.

If a women is widowed she should still be addressed according to her late husband’s name (ie Mrs. Henry Greene).  Divorced women get addressed as Mrs. First Former Married Last, unless she has chosen to use her maiden name.

Got all that?

Envelope addressing a service we offer that can save you time and money!  We can design & print your envelopes to match your invitation suite exactly.  Once they arrive in your hands they just need to be stamped and stuffed, a total timesaver!  Printing the addresses directly onto the envelopes is also less costly than traditional calligraphy.

How Many Invitations Should I Order?

One of the most common questions I get is : How many wedding invitations should I order?


There are a number of factors to consider when identifying the number of invitations you need.  I have tried to make your life a bit easier by jotting down a few tips and guidelines below -

Tip #1 : Count Households NOT Guests

A common mistake is that people automatically associate the number of guests they are inviting with the number of invitations they need.  Typically, one invitation gets sent to per couple or per family, which almost reduces the invitation count by almost 50%.  I always double-check with my brides who list large quantities to make sure that they are counting Invitations and not people.

For the number of invitations, count one for each of the following:

  • A Couple (married or living together)
  • A Family (includes any children under 18)
  • A Single Guest
  • The Officiant (if applicable)
  • The Photographer & Videographer (for them to shoot)
  • Keepsakes & Last Minute Guests

You should still send invitations to guests that may have already told you they will be unable to make it.

Tip #2 : Add Extras!

Everyone knows that they should order extras, but how many?  Personally, I don’t think there is a magic number for this as it often depends on a number of other factors.  Are you using a calligrapher?  Do you have a ‘B-List’ of attendees?  Did your Aunt Sally request 6 extra copies of the invitation to make you a special wedding gift?

Typically calligraphers will request a certain number of envelopes in addition to the quantity you need to account for any addressing mistakes.  I have seen this number range anywhere from 7-10 extras, or 10%-15%.  If you are thinking of using a calligrapher I recommend asking them early on, how many extras they might need.  Most stationers will let you order additional envelopes without the invitation and accompanying pieces, don’t forget if you are using an inner and an outer envelope that you will need extras of both. 

If you have a ‘B-List’, don’t forget that they will need an invitation too.  Typically people will have a ‘B-List’ when they have already reached the capacity of their venue (or budget!) but still have more people that they would like to include.  Once someone from your primary guest list declines you can send off the other invitation. 

After you have considered all of the above, I recommend ordering an additional 10% overage.  Inevitably there will be someone (a cousin, or maybe your father’s business partner) who slips your mind when completing your guest list.  It is much easier, and more cost effective to have a few extras on hand, rather than to have to submit a separate order when you realize that you are short, especially if your invitations are being printed via letterpress.

Wedding Invitation Wording - Guidelines & Tips

If you're like most of my brides, the activities surrounding your wedding are the first 'formal' events you've planned and naturally you want everything to be perfect.  This starts with the invitation wording and I'm here to help!

When ordering your wedding invitations with Chelsey Emery you have the option to completely customize the wording on your invitation to accurately reflect the style and tone of your event.  While this is great if you know exactly what you want to say, if you don’t – it can also be completely overwhelming!  We have put together some guidelines and etiquette tips for reference, but unless you are inviting Emily Post to your wedding, feel free to adjust and modify them to suit your personal event.  Sometimes even the oldest rules are meant to be broken –

  • Step 1 : Identify the Host – Typically the names listed first identify who is hosting (paying) for the event.
  • Step 2 : Identify the Request – Formal wedding invitation have one of two requests.  If the event is being held in a place of worship the phrase ‘request the honor of your presence, at the marriage of their daughter’ is used.   ‘Request the pleasure of your company, at the marriage of their daughter’ is used for secular locations.  If the couple is hosting, it is common to use ‘invite you to join us at the celebration of our marriage’. 
  • Step 3 : Identify the Bride and Groom – Traditionally the bride is listed first and if she shares a lastname with her parents, only the first and middle names are included.  The groom is identified with title (Mr. / Dr. / etc.), first, middle and last.  A more modern interpretation often includes just the first and last names of both parties. 
  • Step 4 : Identify the Date and Time – The date and time are always spelled out, with the month and day being capitalized.  There is no ‘and’ when writing out the year, a correct example is two thousand twelve, not two thousand and twelve. 
  • Step 5 : Identify the Location – If the ceremony is at a well-known location the street address does not need to be included.  The zip code never needs to be included on the wedding invitation.

Step #1 has the most variables in my opinion.  There are a number of different situations that can complicate this seemingly easy task - For example, what if your parents are divorced but both are paying and your mom is remarried?  We cover a number of different suggestions for identifying the Host or Hosts in our ETIQUETTE section as well as suggestions for wording for more casual events.

Helpful Tips for Writing Thank You Notes

Writing Thank You Notes can seem to be a very daunting task, but these helpful tips will have you writing perfect thank-you's in no time at all!

Remember, a good Thank-You is generous, specific, prompt, succinct and personal.

Thank you notes should be sent within a week, strive to be prompt but remember late is always better than never!  If you do find yourself sending them out a bit later than you would like do not start the note with an apology.  Instead, always try to start and end on a positive note.

Similarly, do not start your note with the words ‘Thank you’.  Instead try:

  • I was so pleased to….
  • You were so nice to….
  • What a nice surprise….
  • It was a treat when we….

Be Specific!  Include the occasion you received it for and how you plan to use the gift (especially for monetary gifts).  If someone has complimented the gift, that is always a nice thing to mention to the giver as well. If a gift was mailed to you, first send an email to the giver letting them know the gift arrived safely and then follow up with a thank-you note a few days later. It is always nice to include the date in the top corner.  Strive for a minimum of three sentences.

Remember, ‘if it came in wrapping paper you should write a Thank-You note!’ (Margaret Shephard).