How to Address an Invitation to a Same-Sex Couple

Consider this your official etiquette guide.

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Photo: Corbin Gurkin

Brides and grooms inviting a same-sex couple to their wedding may wonder about the proper way to address the invitation. In general, the etiquette of invitation addressing varies from couple to couple, and is often influenced by the formality of your wedding. Since the rules for this important detail aren't set in stone, choosing the correct format can be confusing no matter the circumstances. Here, we break down all you need to know about the proper address format for both married and unmarried same-sex couples.


Unmarried Couple

If the same-sex couple isn't married, you should address each person individually with the appropriate title. Write each name on a separate line, the same way you would address an invitation to an opposite-sex unmarried couple. The order of the names doesn't typically matter, but if you're in doubt, arrange them alphabetically.

Note that some same-sex couples remain unmarried for legal reasons, but still consider themselves a permanent pair. In this scenario, you can put the two names on one line and separate them by "and."

Married Couples

If the same-sex couple is married, you should write both names on the same line, and separate them with the word "and." You can choose to give each name its own title; for example: "Mr. Dan Brown and Mr. John Smith" or "Mrs. Amanda Jones and Mrs. Jane Williams." Many same-sex couples keep their last name after marriage, so this format will apply in most instances. Again, you might consider ordering the names alphabetically.

Another way of addressing the invitations of same-sex married couples is with the plural form of the title. This especially applies when the married same-sex couple has the same last name. For men, you could write "The Messrs. Dan and John Smith" instead of "Mr. Dan Smith and Mr. John Smith" (although the latter is also correct, and can be used if preferred). For women, you could write "The Mesdames Amanda and Jane Williams" (or "Mrs. Amanda Williams and Mrs. Jane Williams" if preferred). These same rules apply if the couple has a hyphenated last name.

When in doubt, consider asking the couple for their preferred greeting. They likely won't mind the inquiry, and you can prevent making a mistake in your invitations.

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