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Addressing wedding invites

Posted by kathyg_in_mi (My Page) on
Sun, Sep 2, 07 at 20:09

My FDIL is asking how to write out the addresses for 2 invites. One is a widow and the other is divorced. She wants to know to which one to do:

Ms. Susan Doe
Amanda Doe
123 Main Street
Anywhere, MI 48111
OR
Ms. Susan Doe & Guest
Amanda Doe
123 Main Street
Anywhere, MI 48111

She thinks it is too unwieldly(sp?) with the & Guest, but I feel that that is the correct way to do it.
Any ideas folks?
Kathy G in MI


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Addressing wedding invites

Is the Guest Amanda Doe? "And Guest" implies "bring a (to us) random stranger in case your social skills aren't up to conversing with new people". Sorry to sound harsh, but even though I can be a little shy, I know that attending a wedding on my own won't kill me and will even be fun, if I put some effort into socialising. And I don't think my host should have to pay an arm and a leg entertaining someone they don't know and who won't really care about the actual event, just because I don't want to spend an evening being social. Let's face it, everyone attending the wedding has something in common (or they should)- the happy couple.

If the invitation is only being extended to Susan Doe and Amanda Doe, even though they live at the same address, if they are adults (which I assume they are, since one is widowed and the other divorced), each should receive her own personally addressed invitation. Thus:

Invitation 1:
Ms. Susan Doe
123 Main Street
Anywhere, MI 48111

Invitation 2:
Mrs Amanda Doe
123 Main Street
Anywhere, MI 48111

Obviously you would use the titles (Mrs, Ms) each uses herself.

If you are happy for either or both to bring a guest, you may indicate this on the invitation or in a short note enclosed with the invitation.

If the "and Guest" is someone one of the ladies is involved with, you should take the trouble to find out his/her name and include that in the invitation:

Ms. Susan Doe and Mr John Smith
123 Main Street
Anywhere, MI 48111


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RE: Addressing wedding invites

I agree with the above; each person should receive her own invitation. One note, however; some of the etiquette books frown on using the title Ms because it was created in the business world and, like labels on invitations, is considered appropriate for business situations but not for social ones. Personally, if a woman prefers to be called Ms, to me it seems reasonable to use the title.


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RE: Addressing wedding invites

I'm sorry, I wasn't quite clear in my explanation. Ya can't read my mind, so I'd better clear it up! LOL!
Susan Doe is divorced and Amanda is her 13 year old daughter.
The other person would be Mary Doe, widow, and her 17 year old daughter.
Now that I hope I've cleared that up, should she put & Guest next to Susan and Mary's names?
An embarrassed, Kathy G in MI


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RE: Addressing wedding invites

I thought I was clear, too! :-) Obviously not :-) Let's have another stab at this.

Why do you want to put "and Guest"? Is this intended to mean "Bring a date"? (Making the total of invitees from that household three, rather than two being mother and daughter.)

As I said in my first post, I'm not big on the "Bring a date" invitation, as I feel people should be social enough to be able to start with the common ground of knowing the happy couple, and socialise from there. It is a big financial imposition on the hosts of a wedding to pay for a bunch of random strangers they don't know and who wouldn't know the bride or groom from a hole in the ground.

If either Susan Doe or Mary Doe is involved with someone whom you would like to invite (fiance, steady date etc), then you should go to the trouble of finding out his name and writing THAT on HIS OWN invitation:

So:
Ms. Susan Doe
Miss Amanda Doe
123 Main Street
Anywhere, MI 48111

Mr John Smith
456 South Ave
Anywhere, MI 48114

or, if you don't have an address for him,

Mr John Smith
C/o Ms Susan Doe
123 Main St
Anywhere, MI 48111

or, if they're living together as a couple,

Ms. Susan Doe and Mr John Smith
Miss Amanda Doe
123 Main Street
Anywhere, MI 48111

However, if you wish to indicate to Susan that she may bring a date she is not regularly involved with (ie some random guy she knows), then you can either write:

Ms. Susan Doe and Guest
Miss Amanda Doe
123 Main Street
Anywhere, MI 48111

or just

Ms. Susan Doe
Miss Amanda Doe
123 Main Street
Anywhere, MI 48111

and include a short note to the effect: "Please feel free to bring a date" and if you're doing those tick and return cards (which I also dislike, as people really should have enough couth to be able to write a simple acceptance letter, but I digress), include something that Susan can tick to indicate if two or three people from her household will be attending.

Note in all cases that the daughter has her own title, "Miss". (Actually, if you want to get insanely formal, if she is the eldest/only unmarried daughter she is simply, "Miss Doe". :-) )


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RE: Addressing wedding invites

Okay, I know Susan and Mary are not seeing anyone, so I will tell FDIL no to & Guest.
Thanks for the back and forth.
Kathy G in MI


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RE: Addressing wedding invites

If you were to allow Susan and Mary to bring a guest, the term "and guest" should appear on the inner envelope, not on the outer one. The outer envelope would be addressed to Mrs. Susan Doe
Miss Amanda Doe.

The inner envelope, if your invitations have one, would say "Susan and Guest" then below it Amanda. If you don't have an inner envelope, then the way to handle it is to include a small card that says, "Susan, please feel free to bring a guest." If you simply say "Please feel free to bring a guest," then you are allowing both Susan and Amanda to bring guests.


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RE: Addressing wedding invites

Sweet pea, that is a perfect answer. Thank you.
Kathy G in MI


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RE: Addressing wedding invites

are you inviting their children? is that who you mean by "and guest"?

Then write their names on the inner envelopes.


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RE: Addressing wedding invites

I am confused, too. Are you inviting 4 people (2 moms + 2 daughters), or 6 (2 moms + 2 daughters +2 dates)? I sure wouldn't expect the moms to understand that "and guest" refers to their daughters.

In any case, I would never use "and guest." It is just always a recipe for confusion, trouble, or insult.

If you are inviting the mothers and daughters, whether you send one invitation or two to Susan and Mary, the two adults (the latter is correct, but I think the former is forgivable), don't use "and guest" to indicate their daughters; use their names. If I were Mary or Susan, and I got an invitation to me "and guest," I would assume you wanted me to bring a date and that my daughter wasn't invited. I think four on an invitation is a lot, so I would send two invitations, one to each mother and daughter pair like this:

Ms. Susan Doe
Miss Amanda Doe
123 Main Street
Anywhere, MI 48111

Ms. Mary Doe
Miss Petunia Doe
123 Main Street
Anywhere, MI 48111

If you want to thrill Amanda and Petunia to bits, send each her own private invitation, too. Or if your outer envelopes are big enough, just a separate invitation, in a separate inner envelope, for each.

If you want to invite Susan and Mary to bring not only their daughters, but also random dates -- which I sure wouldn't -- then write a note telling them that they may bring dates if they wish and include it with the invitations. If they have boyfriends that you mean for them to bring, find out their names and invite them by name (IMO it's okay to do it on their girlfriends' invitations in this type of circumstance). But don't just refer to them as "and guest" as if you were suggesting they bring someone else instead!

I was surprised to learn from sweet pea's post that "some of the etiquette books frown on using the title Ms because it was created in the business world and, like labels on invitations, is considered appropriate for business situations but not for social ones." I often leave out honorifics altogether, although I know it is correct to use them. But I have never heard that "Ms." is or ever was created for or intended to be for business use only or primarily -- in fact, I am fairly positive that is not true (it's actually been used for hundreds of years, and it was reintroduced in the US in 1961 by activist Sheila Michaels, who didn't say anything about business use) -- the point is to have an honorific that doesn't advertise a woman's marital status as if that were the most important thing about her, just as "Mr." doesn't for a man. To me, that "business" story sounds like a made-up excuse not to use "Ms." for people who for some reason just don't like it.


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RE: Addressing wedding invites

I have to laugh at myself -- notwithstanding the screed about honorifics at the end of my last post, I see that I had cut and pasted and earlier poster's sample to include both "Ms." and "Miss." That would be okay, actually. But I think it would also be okay to use "Ms." for both the mothers and the daughters, or whatever they prefer, if you know, or to leave out the honorifics altogether (that's what I usually do).

Mary Doe
Petunia Doe
123 Main Street
Anywhere, MI 48111

Ms. Mary Doe
Ms. Petunia Doe
123 Main Street
Anywhere, MI 48111


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RE: Addressing wedding invites

I do exactly as Gellchom does, mostly because I don't like "Mr. and Mrs. John Smith," and "Mr. John Smith and Ms. Susan Smith" is the way I'd address an unmarried couple living together.

Just FYI, though, I'm nearly positive that widows are traditionally addressed as "Mrs. John Smith," rather than "M(r)s. Susan Smith." I clearly remember one of my aunts being upset when she started receiving mail addressed in the latter way after her husband's death. "What do they think I am, a divorcee?" I only say this in case the widow in question is particularly conservative.


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RE: Addressing wedding invites

You're right about widows: it's still "Mrs. John Smith." But your aunt was wrong about "Mrs. Susan Smith" being the correct form for a divorcee (it's not the correct form for anyone). The correct way to address a divorcee is really unbelievable: if her unmarried name was Jane Doe, and her ex-husband is John Smith, I believe she is correctly styled as "Mrs. Doe Smith." But have you EVER seen that? I think it would just confuse people. I don't know anyone who styles herself that way.

Yet another good reason to call her "Ms. Susan Smith" or "Susan Smith" and let it go at that. I certainly agree that people should be addressed any way they prefer, even if it's "incorrect," so if I know their preference, I use it. But if I don't know, I just use "Susan Smith" or "Ms. Susan Smith." I figure at least it can't be insulting to use her own name.

My husband and I have different last names. It amazes me how much trouble people have figuring out just to call me "Ms. Jane Doe." They seem to feel they have to call me "Mrs." something, either my last name or my husband's, or else they'd be insulting me or implying I'm not married or something. But they are missing the whole point of "Ms." -- a woman's marital status isn't advertised by the honorific, just as a man's isn't by "Mr." Whether I changed my name or not is irrelevant -- even if I had, I would still style myself as "Ms. Jane Smith," not "Mrs. John Smith."

joann, my husband, like you, doesn't like "Mr. and Mrs. John Smith." He calls that the "Mr. and Mrs. Mister" form. Unless we know the addressees prefer that, we use "Susan and John Smith." We know it's not the correct formal form, though.


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RE: Addressing wedding invites

Just to bring it back from the Ms. Mrs. mire...
The term "and guest" is tacky tacky tacky!
I am a widow. For formalinvitations I am Mrs John Smith...for less formal invitations I am Linda Cxxxx. I really cringe when I get something addressed to Mrs. Linda C.
I have never heard of anyone calling a member of the opposite sex and saying" Say, what are you doing three weeks from tomorrow? I have a wedding to go to and even though you don't know anyone, would you like to be my date?"
Nope!
More likely the scene would go, "Say Jane, I am going to the Jones-Smith wedding. Were you invited? Will you go with me?""
I once went as an "and guest" to a wedding....and was miserable and embarrased. I knew better, I should have said, no thanks rather than saying "no we've never met, I'm with Sam over there" all evening.
There was a time when every time I would appear in the paper or be mentioned, my name would appear as Mrs. John Smith! AARGH!!
And another horror was the parctise of referring or introducing someone as "Shirley...Mrs Dr Jones!" but I haven't heard that in a while!
Linda C..forget the honorific.


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RE: Addressing wedding invites

Lindac said:

I have never heard of anyone calling a member of the opposite sex and saying" Say, what are you doing three weeks from tomorrow? I have a wedding to go to and even though you don't know anyone, would you like to be my date?"

And Joann replies:

Wow! *I* have - I've done it and I've had it done to me, as have virtually all my friends when they've been single, at one time or another. And I watch my younger, single friends do it now. Seems just par for the course, to me. I've seen it done on television shows like "L.A. Law" and "Friends," too, which makes me think it's a pretty common part of American society.

Of course, this is one area where I disagree with my idol, Miss Manners. I not only think there's nothing the least bit tacky about inviting your single guests to bring a date - even a casual date - I think it's a terrific thing for you to allow them to have someone to sit with at dinner in the midst of what will certainly be almost all couples, and, maybe more importantly, someone to dance with.

In spite of Miss Manners' assertion, which I've heard from other people (usually older, married women), that weddings are a great place to meet people of the opposite sex, I have never found that to be the case. And, in decades of asking couples, "So, how did you meet?" I've never once heard, "At a wedding."

When I was single and not asked to bring a date, I can tell you that weddings weren't a whole lot of fun. Well, maybe when I was in my early 20's and my friends ran in a pack, but that's about it. And I'm outgoing, and have no problem sitting by myself and talking to new people. It's the dancing that used to get to me, to the point that I generally just left when it started, if I wasn't allowed to bring a date. Getting to dance once or twice with a friend's husband while everyone else dances as much as they like isn't my idea of fun. Neither is standing by the bar, drinking. I never made a big deal out of it, I just ducked out after dinner.

As to the times when I've been someone's date at a wedding where I know no one, that never bothered me in the least. I figured that most of the invited guests were unknown to one side of the family or the other - it wasn't as though everyone knew one another except for me. I just hung out with my date and talked with his friends.

I never like the way that dates are referred to as "random strangers," either. It's not as though you're opening your wedding to people off the street. They're the friends of your friends and family. When I have parties at my home and invite single friends, I always tell them to "feel free to bring a date, if you like," and wouldn't have the slightest hesitation in doing that at a wedding. And I'd even write "and guest" on their invitations, unless I knew they were seeing someone special.

"And guest" has been around for at least 30 years now. I think it will stick around for a long time to come. And I think that's a good thing!


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