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wediquette: the envelope please...

Periodically Xochitl (pronounced so-cheel), our resident wediquette expert and owner of Always a Bridesmaid Wedding Consulting, answers an etiquette question submitted* by one of our readers. So, (without further ado):

Q: How can I appropriately address envelopes without addressing women by their husband's first name? Call me a feminist, but even if I were adopting my partner's last name (which I'm not), the idea of ever being called Mrs. HIM just gives me shudders. Is it appropriate to address a married couple as (for example): Mr. John Doe and Mrs. Jane Doe? Mr. and Mrs. John and Jane Doe? The Doe Family?

A: The most correct is "The Doe Family", though I'm also fond of "Mr. John & Mrs. Jane Doe", it's not Peggy Post approved but it sounds fluid. "Mr. & Mrs. John and Jane Doe" is a little too tricky.
How do you feel about simply "Mr. & Mrs. Doe" and then writing "John and Jane" on the inner envelope? For couples who have kept their maiden names I suggest "The Smith-Doe Family".
For women with professional titles, I personally refuse to remove their title simply because they are married. In that instance I usually suggest people write
"Mr. John and Dr. Jane Doe". I hope that was helpful!--Xochitl of Always a Bridesmaid

*If you've got a question for our expert, submit it by clicking "submit your question" in the right hand column, under "wediquette".


elizabeth @ elizabeth anne designs on 11:32 PM

i addressed mine as:

mrs. jane smith doe
and mr. john doe
123 anywhere lane
anytown, USA

i agree with LBG on hating the mrs. him! :) makes me shudder every time i receive something addressed that way.

EthidiumBromide on 11:40 PM

It's tough enough losing your identity when you have to change your last name; I don't want to lose my first as well. I'm not owned by someone else!
My fiance and I continue to argue over changing my last name -- I don't want to, mainly for professional reasons. Part of me is, however, a tad selfish -- I figure if I keep my last name, I'll get to keep my first as well. Nobody will address things to me under his first name then.
Though what will truly irk me is that I KNOW we will get lots of mail to Dr & Mrs instead of Dr & Dr. Oncology schmoncology, I'll just be regulated to being a wife first and foremost.

Emily on 8:50 AM

My fiance is a doctor and I work with a lot of doctors. When trying to properly address all of our invitations, we were told a few things...

~if Jane Smith is a doctor and husband John is not, it (more) is proper to address her (the more professional title) first- Dr. Jane and Mr. John Smith. Thats because rule #2...

~Never separate a mans first name from his last. It is considered rude and sometimes offensive.

~For two married doctors with the same last name it should be: Doctors John and Jane Smith OR The Doctors Smith

We went rounds with the rules of inviting doctors who were married with same and different last names, and also two married doctors. We asked almost every doctor we could get our hands on, people that address their mail (staff, etc), and researched quite a bit of etiquette online and in books.

I hope that helps anyone needing that info.

Bloglim on 4:19 AM

I never released there were so many etiquette issues to consider when sending invitations. I hope we didn’t cause any offense when sending out our invitations. We opted for Mr John Doe and Mrs Jane Doe on our invitations. We didn’t think the Mrs and Mrs John Doe seemed right and know a few of our friends do not like to be referred to Mrs (his name)