The Berry House

Planning life’s most delightful moments!

Celebrate Etiquette

“Ladies First” is often heard around the CBP studio. Seems old-fashioned, but there are a lot of traditions when it comes to invitations and related wedding occasions. We want to share some here, but at the same time we say, “Rules are meant to be broken.” We’re following the ways of yesteryear. For those individuals who want a more modern spin, we love crafting just-right wording solutions. The following is compiled from various sources. We often turn to “Crane’s Wedding Blue Book” and we toast Emily Post and all the calligraphers who have helped police our etiquette.

When addressing envelopes:

For an unmarried couple, living together:

The lady’s name goes first. And don’t connect them with an AND, that indicates marriage.

Each name will have its own line on the envelope.

If it’s a same sex couple, use alphabetical order.

But some folks prefer to put the person they know better first, that works, too!


For doctors:

The doctor is always listed first. Only used for medical doctors or ministers with advanced degrees. And if both are doctors, ladies first!

Doctor and Mrs. Paul Lewis

Doctor Carolyn James and Doctor Timothy James

Or The Doctors James works, too!

Or if she has a different last name:

Doctor Carolyn Meyer and Doctor Timothy James

(If the names are too long to fit on one line, drop the second name down to the line below, but keep the “and” on the first line!)

If unmarried: (two separate lines)

Doctor Margaret Barkley

Doctor David Easton

If it’s a same sex couple, use alphabetical order or the person you know better first.


For surnames or sans surnames:

It’s best to use surnames if you want to be formal, but if you are more informal, skip them, but still ladies first.

Formal: Mr. and Mrs. Michael Mitchell

Wrong, Never:  Mr. and Mrs. Michael and Mary Mitchell

Informal: Mary and Michael Mitchell

And if they are married, but have different last names, ladies first and connect them with an AND.

Ms. Mary Evans and Mr. Michael Mitchell

If it’s a same sex couple, use alphabetical order or the person you know better first.


When deciding your invitation wording, once again, ladies first:

Together With Their Families

Lauren Marie and Anthony Stuart

Request the Honor of Your Presence at Their Marriage

Oh, and another etiquette note while we’re here …the honor of your presence is reserved for weddings held in churches or places of worship, and pleasure of your company for all other non-church settings.


Other notes about addressing envelopes:

Spell out all state names and all street addresses including Street, Road, Avenue, Post Office Box,

Apartment, East, West, etc.

Spell out street numbers and street names 1-10, but don’t spell out apartment or building numbers.

Four Apple Road

313 Third Street

425 North Elm, Apartment 62

When using both and inner and outer envelopes, don’t include “and Guest” or “and Family” or children under 18 on the outer envelope. That information is best saved for the inner envelope. And list the children chronologically rather than alphabetically. Children over 18 should get their own invitation.


Surnames and Titles:

Jr., II, III and so on…

Use a comma after his last name for Jr., the comma is optional for II, etc.

Mr. Frank Thomas Harrison, Jr.

Mr. Sean Patrick McManus, II or Mr. Sean Patrick McManus II, you pick!

Jr. can be spelled out, it’s more formal that way!

Mr. Michael Matthew, Junior or Mr. Michael Matthew, junior

Ms. vs. Miss

Use Ms. or Miss for your single women. For young girls, use Miss.

When to Use Master

Use as a title for boys under 7 years of age, no title for 7 to 17, use Mr. for 18 and up.


And vs. &:

Spelling out and is more formal, while is informal and sometimes used to save space.