Some weddings are steeped in tradition — something borrowed, something blue, guests pelting laughing couples with fistfuls of bird seed. Other weddings are more modern ceremonies that honor the union of two soulmates. Regardless of the type of wedding they are planning, brides want to get everything right, down to the last details for the flowers, the music, the perfect venue and the wedding invitations addressed in beautiful calligraphy script.
Everything must be perfect. So, there is no doubt that you want to make sure that your save the date cards are done perfectly as well. Of course, this is likely the first time you have ever had to send out these types of cards. It’s not unusual to be a little unsure of the format you should use when addressing the save the date cards to your guests. Below is all that you need to know about how to properly address your save the dates.
Save the Date vs. Wedding Invitation
Some weddings are very formal, and so are the invitations. The good news is that you should feel free to be less formal — even a little playful — with your save the date cards. That might mean that you forgo beautiful, expensive hand-written calligraphy for the names and addresses. Check into affordable guest addressing services that allow you to have beautifully designed envelopes that are available in many different designs. It also can mean that there is less focus on guest’s formal titles and honorifics. Even if you decide to forgo the titles on your cards, you always want to remain respectful to your guests. If you think that a less formal usage could potentially offend any of your guests, then make sure to use their formal titles for the save the date cards as well as the wedding invitations that you mail out later.
If you are having a very casual wedding, you may make the mistake of thinking there is no need to send out save the dates to your guests. But save the date cards have nothing to do with whether a wedding is white-tie formal or a far more casual gathering on a remote beach. The purpose of these cards is to give your guests the courtesy of advance notice of your pending nuptials so they can clear their calendars to attend.
What to Include on Save the Date Envelopes?
It is common for there to be some confusion about how to address save the date envelopes. Below is some basic information and formatting that should be included on your guest’s save the date envelopes:
- Your guest’s full names, although if they prefer a nickname, it is acceptable to use it on the save the date and reserve the more formal version for the wedding invitation
- Your return address on either the top left-hand corner or on the back of the envelope
- Addresses with fewer than 20 digits should be written out completely, e.g., 108 Cherry Street, 10 Sunshine Lane
- Unless space is really at a premium on the envelopes, write out the complete:
- Province or state name
- Post Office Box (not P.O. Box)
- Apartment (not Apt.)
- The conjunction “and” in “Mr. and Mrs.” instead of using an ampersand
- Each invited guest’s name
The last is of particular importance, because it forestalls any confusion about who is invited to the wedding. Some couples may choose not to have children under 12 at their weddings. Parents with children need to know this ahead of time to facilitate their childcare arrangements well before the big day. Listing a couple’s teenage children’s names on the envelope but not their middle-schooler’s name clarifies this policy. Your save the date envelope might read as follows:
- Mr. and Mrs. Blake Sanchez, Miss Trina Sanchez
What About Plus-Ones?
Etiquette traditionally frowns on wedding invitations that list the addressee’s name and the added phrase “and guest.” The theory behind this faux pas is that couples should at least know the names of all of the guests whom they invite to their weddings. However, in many cultures and social circles, it is acceptable to add a plus-one for their single invited guests, especially if the wedding is very large. It is still considered polite for couples to at least attempt to learn the names of their guest’s intended plus-ones. However, you can acquire that information from your guest after mailing the save the date postcard, but prior to addressing the wedding invitations.
How to Address Different Groups of Guests
In our modern and diverse society, it can be increasingly challenging to determine the correct way to address the envelopes for the save the date/dates for your wedding guests. Of course, the last thing that you want to happen is to inadvertently offend someone by spelling their name wrong on the envelope. Maybe your guest’s name is spelled less traditionally than most who share the name, e.g., “Alyson” instead of “Allison” or “Stephen” and not “Steven.” Make sure to double-check all spellings for your guest’s names before addressing your save the date cards.
Ready to start? All the information that you should need to address the envelopes for your save the dates is included below.
When the Guest is a Single Female
For unmarried single guests over 18, you may either use the title “Ms.” or omit it entirely and use just their names. Thus, either “Ms. Holly Curry” or “Holly Curry” is acceptable. For young ladies 17 and under, use “Miss” before their names on the save the date just as you will do later on the invitation itself.
When the Guest is a Single Male
In bygone times, boys under 18 were addressed as “Master,” but that is now considered an archaic usage. It is acceptable now to just list male guests’ names with no titles when they are 17 or younger. Single adult males 18 and older can either be listed as “Mr. Howard J. Green” or “Howard J. Green.”
When Couples are Married
You can be forgiven for thinking that determining how to address married couples on your save the date cards would be a simple task. But long gone are the days when it was safe to assume that every couple should be addressed as “Mr. and Mrs. So-and-So.”
Again, these cards are less formal than your actual wedding invitations so you do have some wiggle room. But you should always err on the side of propriety and etiquette and never risk offending someone who might feel slighted if their titles were omitted. All of the below examples are acceptable when addressing save the date cards:
- Carl and Paula Booth
- Mr. and Mrs. Booth
- Mr. Carl Booth and Mrs. Paula Booth
- Dr. Paula Booth and Mr. Carl Booth
When Couples are Unmarried and/or Have Different Last Names
Some of your guests may share a home, but not a name. It is perfectly fine to include all members of a household on the same envelope but listed separately. If you know one member of the couple better than the other, you may want to lead with that person’s name. If you are equally friendly with both, you can list them alphabetically as shown in some of the examples listed below:
- Ms. Carmen Tarrant and Mr. Rudy Westmoreland
- Mr. Blaise Sherrod and Ms. Giselle Thomas
- Letitia Whalen-Reed and Randy Reed
- Mr. Randy Reed and Mrs. Letitia Whalen-Reed
Addressing Save the Dates for Families
If you want to invite all the members of a family to your wedding, you have several options. To clarify that a couple can bring their children, you can list every child or simply address the envelope to the whole group. Below are all acceptable examples for your save the date cards:
- The Addisons
- The Addison Family
- William, Carla, Jessica and Leo Addison
- Mr. William, Ms. Carla, Miss Jessica and Leo Addison
It is customary to send a separate save the date notification to any adult children over the age of 18 even when they are living in the same home with their invited parents.
Addressing Save the Dates for Divorcees
Some divorced women choose to keep their former husband’s names and some do not. Women who share children with their former spouses often choose to retain their married names for the sake of continuity. Others may have established professional careers under their married names and not want to confuse anyone by reverting to a lesser-known maiden name that they haven’t used in years. You should address the save the date cards with whichever last names that your female guests prefer to use. If you don’t know or are even unsure, taking the time to learn their preferences is a courtesy that your guests will appreciate.
Finally, have fun with this. Invite your bridesmaids to come to a “save the date” party to help you address and stamp the notifications. Mix up some cocktails, put on a pre-wedding playlist of some great tunes, and take some candid shots of the group effort. It can become another memory to include later in your collage of wedding photos.