Help - how to properly address the wedding card

gerinaFebruary 18, 2009

I need some advice on how to properly write the name of the couple on the envelope of their wedding card. The situation is this: The groom, who is my good friend, is marrying a doctor. She is retaining her surname. Normally I would address the envelope like this, "Mr. & Mrs. SMITH". Do I address it to Mr. and Dr. SMITH, Mr. SMITH and Dr. JONES (This one sounds very sterile and unromantic for a wedding), or I could take the easy way out and address it to THE SMITH'S?

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If she is retaining her surname, it would Mr Smith and Dr. Jones.

Some people who retain their original surnames become quite irate when addressed as Mrs or Ms Hisname.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 1:39PM
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Her name is Jones, not Smith. You address her, him, and the two of them together exactly as you always did.

So don't call her Mrs. (or Ms. or Dr.) Smith; she may think you are deliberately ignoring (and criticizing) her decision. "The Smiths" is no good for the same reason.

For that matter, don't write "Mr. Smith and Dr. Jones" without the first names. I would write either

Dr. Mary Jones and Mr. John Smith
Mary Jones and John Smith

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 3:54PM
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Or since at least one of them is a good friend, you could just write "Mary and John".

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 8:09PM
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No, use the Dr. and Mr. for a formal wedding invitation.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 12:59AM
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It's not an invitation, though -- it looks like the OP is asking how to address an envelope with a card for the couple. I don't know whether she means to mail the card or hand it to them. If she's going to hand it to them, she can write "Mary and John," or for that matter, she doesn't have to write anything. If she's mailing it, she should use either "Dr. Mary Jones and Mr. John Smith" or "Mary Jones and John Smith."

I don't think she doesn't know that.

I think the real question here is whether she can find an excuse to address Mary as "Mrs. Smith" or "Mrs. John Smith" instead of "Dr. Jones." It seems like she is uncomfortable with Mary's and John's choice about their surnames and is looking for an etiquette excuse to ignore it.

Believe me, that is exactly what they will conclude if you insist on disrespecting their wishes; they won't buy that you thought you were following some (nonexistent) etiquette rule about calling married women who you know have not changed their names by their husband's names. They know there is no such rule or convention, and they won't believe you if try to protest that you thought "that's how it's done" or "that's what I thought you told me you wanted."

Her being a doctor is irrelevant except that she is styled "Dr. Jones" instead of "Ms. Jones" -- the rules are the same for any woman who kept her name, not just professionals.

Some people use one name professionally and another socially, but this couple haven't given any indication that Mary intends to use Smith for any purpose. If they had, or even left room for doubt, the OP wouldn't even have posted; she just would have addressed the envelope "Mr. and Mrs. John Smith" (I assume; she actually said she would ordinarily write, "Mr. and Mrs. Smith," which sounds more like it referred to an envelope she was planning on handing to them, not mailing).

Anyway, the point is, they made their choice, whether or not it is one the OP likes, and the correct, polite, and respectful thing to do is to honor it. But if you are going to hand the couple the envelope, you have a perfect out (at least for this occasion): just put their first names only or nothing at all.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 2:08PM
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The card is to accompany the gift. I want to do what is correct and respectful. The groom is one of my closest friends and I don't want to insult his very wonderful bride. I will use Dr.X & Mr.Y. Thanks for your help everyone.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 12:10AM
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Because he is one of your closest friends, it would be more approprite to use their first names rather than being very formal, as if you really don't know either of them.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 9:20AM
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I would just use names and no title on anything personal.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 8:37AM
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Dr. Mary Jones and Mr. John Smith

That is the correct, formal way. The "and" indicates they are married. If you were to send it to them before they are married you would list her name and then his on the next line, no "and". Because she is the titled person (Dr.) her name is listed first whether they are married or not.

DO NOT address them as Mr. and Mrs. if she is not changing her name. I did not change my name and it bugs me to no end that people do that. I am not Mrs. anything because you are only a Mrs. if you change your name.

You are not insulting the groom by listing her first. That is just the way it is done in this instance.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 8:48PM
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What Sue36 wrote above is correct. I am a professional, paid Calligrapher and have to "address" these situations all the time when I write invitations and such.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 9:56PM
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