How This Egalitarian Addressed Wedding Invitations

wedding invites

The traditional address for a married couple is, “Mr. and Mrs. His Name + Their Last Name.” Maybe this was too crazy feminist of me, but for my wedding, I addressed every invitation to a married couple as “Mr. His Name + Mrs. Her Name + Their Last Name.” About a hundred invitations in, I Googled whether that could possibly pass as proper etiquette now that we’ve had multiple waves of feminism. It still can’t. I probably offended every woman over forty, but since it was my wedding, I felt entitled to address each beloved woman in my life (plus the random relatives on his side) by her actual name. “Mrs. Jane Doe” it was.

For one thing, it felt awkward inviting “Mr. and Mrs. John Doe” when, in reality, I’m only friends with Mrs. Jane Doe and her husband’s coming along for the cupcakes.

For two, professional women with titles get singled out: “Drs. John and Jane Doe.” To me, a woman doesn’t need a title or a degree to earn equal representation on the address line. By virtue of being herself, a woman deserves mention as a person—not as an anonymous “Mrs.”

For three, writing out John Doe’s wife’s name required me to know her name. If I didn’t know her name, I didn’t give myself an out and stick just a “Mrs.” in there. I emailed John Doe to ask for his wife’s name—because I’m inviting a person, not just a relationship to John Doe.

And for four, I don’t support the old social system and the patriarchy behind it. Nobody calls a woman by her husband’s name anywhere else. Women live and work under their own names. A husband doesn’t control, own, or absorb his wife. What good reason would there be to not address a woman by her actual name—especially as an egalitarian?

Let me know what you think! How did you address your wedding invitations? Would you add any more reasons?

// How to feel about women who want you to call them by their husband’s name and a quick refresher on why women ought to be called by their own names

PC: Wedding Paper Divas

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12 thoughts on “How This Egalitarian Addressed Wedding Invitations

  1. Rebekah

    I agonized over this, too! I addressed my wedding invitations simply as “Mr. and Mrs. [Last name]” 1. because that’s what I was used to calling most of my adult, married friends (I didn’t call Mr. So-and-so by both his first name and last name); and 2. because I didn’t know how they felt about it and I was actually worried about offending my adult female friends by not including their names. I wanted to be as traditional as possible (to me, a conservative outlook means going with tradition unless there’s a good reason not to do so), but I think it’s okay to alter very traditional wedding etiquette to suit your goals and preferences. In the same way, for financial reasons I was unable to do traditional paper RSVPs (even though I REALLY wanted to), so I had to settle for an email RSVP and not completely traditional wedding invitation wording. I also did have the wedding invitations say “Mr. and Mrs. [My dad’s first name] [My maiden name] request the honor of your presence…” because it sounded a lot smoother (unfortunately, including both names does sound a little clunky), fit on a single line, and I was able to ask my mom personally if it bothered her. She said that while she does have her own name, and does not like the idea of being called “Mr. [My dad’s first name]” because that’s not her name, she associates “Mrs.” with meaning “wife of,” so it is not a denial of her personhood even though it omits her name. In other words, it’s not replacing her name with her husband’s name, but associating her with him. Of course, it does seem unfair that there’s no married-person equivalent to “Mr.”!

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    • Bailey Steger

      I like your idea of “Mr. and Mrs. Last Name”! That seems to do away with the problem altogether. For our wedding invites, we did away with “Mr. and Mrs.” and just used parents’ names. For simplicity and finances’ sake, we also used email RSVPs. It’s crazy how complicated wedding invitations can get!

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  2. heather

    I was a Dr marrying a Mr so that added a layer of controversy to my wedding. I omitted anything introducing us by titles because I didn’t want to look stuck up for insisting on Dr and was totally uncomfortable with Mrs.

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    • Bailey Steger

      That’s fascinating! I actually addressed a couple invites to a “Dr. and Mr.” couple because we invited so many professors. I bet it would throw non-college community people for a loop, though. Good call.

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  3. Bethany Durie

    I don’t remember noticing my REAL WHOLE name was there on the envelope, but I think this is a refreshing (and totally acceptable!!) way of addressing! And wedding etiquette is so controversial anyway…might as well just ignore it! My only hesitation would be trying to fit the names on one line. Definitely a fan of just using Mr. & Mrs. + last name!
    I don’t consider it offensive being title Mrs. Aidan Durie, besides the fact that I’m too newly married to recognize it in association to me (haha.) Just old practice that no one has bothered to update. So bravo for bringing this up, Mrs. Erich Steger. ;)
    Super weird typing that, FYI.

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    • Bailey Steger

      Spoken like a true graphic designer. ;) Merrrgghhh, I HATE being called “Mrs. Erich Steger.” haha Like you said, I have no idea who that person is. “Erich’s a girl now? What? Oh, me. You mean me. Um, actually, the name’s Bailey…..”

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  4. Ruxee

    I simply adressed them as “Monica” or “Dan”, and if it was a family, “Gabi, Ruben, and each child by name + the family name”. I wanted every person to feel invited and welcomed as an individual and have fun as such. :)

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  5. micah6824

    As a 40 year old, I’m actually “offended” that you think you probably offended me and older women by being progressive. ;) (That morphs from sexism to ageism, which you will find in time is equally frustrating and discouraging, but off topic.) Feminism was hitting its stride in my childhood. You’d have to dial it up several more decades before you might find lots of women for whom this notion is radical. It would baffle me and most of my friends to get an invite that *didn’t* list our actual name.

    Then there’s addressing older single women with the dreaded Ms., the salutation in which sexism and ageism meet.

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  6. Justine

    I addressed mine “John and Jane Doe” and didn’t put Mr. and Mrs. at all. It’s not because I am egalitarian (I’m not) but because I didn’t think of doing it any other way lol.

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