Friday, January 7, 2011

Adults, children, and wedding invitations

Today’s post comes from Robert Hickey, Deputy Director of the Protocol School of Washington, author of “Honor & Respect: The Official Guide to Names, Titles, and Forms of Address,” and one of our trainers at ELI. Here, he answers a question that likely many of you have wondered about, although he’s changed the names and address from the original query. Thank you, Robert!

Should an adult child receive his or her own wedding invitation?


I received an invitation to the wedding of a first cousin’s child addressed to us as The Wright Family. My daughter Jessica, now 20 and in college in Florida, was not listed by name, but is, I believe, invited. I think a proper invitation should have been mailed to her in Florida as she is an adult and not living at home.

I am trying to remember the rule about how all grown children over 16 should receive their own invitation at their proper address: not Mommy and Daddy’s if they don’t live there. I want to explain the rules to my cousins!

Robert says:

OK, there are a couple of parts to your question!

First, are adult children sent their own invitations?

Yes, family members living at another address are sent their own invitations.

But, to me, it’s defendable to believe Jessica in college is still “a minor in the nest,” and your address is still her best mailing address. So either sending Jessica her own invitation to your address, or listing Jessica by name on your invitation, is better than sending an invitation to her Florida address.

Whether the cut is 16 years of age: sending an invitation to a young adult of any age is always considerate and appreciated.

And, whether she is “Miss Wright” or “Ms. Wright”: Either is correct. “Miss” is more traditional (maybe old-fashioned?) since every young woman older than 12 might choose to be a “Ms.” nowadays.

Now, part two: How to address the envelope!

Everyone who is invited should be listed on the envelope for clarity. For your family—if Jessica’s invitation is sent to your home—a very formal example would be:

Mr. and Mrs. William Wright
Miss Jessica Wright
445 St. Elmo Avenue
Severna Park, MD 21146

If there is an inside envelope, the invited guests are listed again:

Mr. and Mrs. Wright
Miss Wright

On the inside envelope the tradition is to use the “conversational” form of their name. The above form is a formal “conversational” example. Certainly, your cousins could write “Uncle Bill, Aunt Val, and Jessica” on the inside envelope if they wanted to be less formal.

1 comment:

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