How to address an envelope
Etiquette rules for everyone on your card list
You’ve already written your letter or picked out the perfect card—all that’s left is to address the envelope and drop it in the mail. But nowadays, addressing an envelope isn’t as straightforward as it used to be, and there are likely a host of situations that you want to acknowledge. Perhaps your friend lives with her husband but didn’t take his name. Or you are sending a card to a same-sex couple who has not unified their names. How would you address cards to them? See below for these scenarios and more: Just click on the appropriate sending situation to learn how to address an envelope for everyone on your card list.
Miss/Ms. Jane Smith
Tip: Miss and Ms. are generally interchangeable—it’s all about your preference.
Unmarried woman with military title
Colonel Jane Smith, U.S. Navy
Mr. John Doe
Unmarried man with military title
Colonel John Doe, U.S. Navy
Unmarried couple living together
Miss/Ms. Jane Doe
Mr. John Smith
Tip: When addressing a card to an unmarried couple that lives together, the names are traditionally listed in alphabetical order. Don’t use the word “and” as it typically implies that the people listed are married.
Married couple with different last names
Ms. Jane Smith and Mr. John Doe
Tip: When a married couple has different last names, it is traditional for the wife’s name to be listed first on an envelope. Using the word “and” implies that they are married.
Married couple with same last name
Mr. and Mrs. John Doe
Married couple with military title for man
Colonel and Mrs. John Doe
Married couple with military title for woman
Lieutenant Amy Fine, U.S. Army and Mr. Mark Fine
Married judge with wife
The Honorable and Mrs. Patrick O’Malley
Married judge with husband
The Honorable Jane Doe and Mr. John Doe
Married couple both doctors
Doctors Jason and Emily Thompson
Tip: The rules for addressing envelopes to same-sex couples are pretty straightforward and easy to remember. If you don’t want to use the titles (Ms., Mr.) you aren’t required to do so. You can just use their names.
Unmarried same-sex couple living together
Mr. Adam Richards
Mr. John Smith
Ms. Ann Butler
Ms. Jane Doe
Tip: The rule for sending a card to an unmarried same-sex couple who are living together is almost identical to the rule for a heterosexual couple. Be sure to list the names in alphabetical order.
Married same-sex couple with different last names
Ms. Emily Clark and Ms. Kathy Wright
Tip: If the couple is married, list their names on the same line, and apply the alphabetical rule for listing last names and include titles.
Married same-sex couple with same last name
Mmes. Ann and Jane Butler
Messrs. Adam and John Richards
Tip: If you are sending a card to a couple who share the same last name, refer to them in the plural as "Messrs." or "Mmes.," followed by both of their first names and the shared last name.
Divorced woman who uses her married name
Mrs./Ms. Jane Rogers
Divorced woman who uses her maiden name
Miss/Ms. Jane Brumley
Mrs. John Doe
Medical Doctor (unmarried or married) man or woman
Doctor James Rivers (or) Doctor Lisa Merritt
Dr. Bronson Demmerling
The Reverend Robert Jordan