Invites and Paper

What extent do you go to to find out guests' formal names for invitations?

I was of the impression that we are supposed to write our guests' birth/full name on the outer envelope of our wedding invitations. How much did you push to find out names that they don't use? I feel like I'm already asking my parents and grandparents to help out so much with the many addresses and correct titles to use. It's been such a task trying to collect them. Most of these people I'm asking about are my extended family/in-laws that I currently have no way to contact directly, so I am at a loss there. The other few I think care so little for the name that I'm not sure they're worth asking, and possibly annoying, them over.

Is it really necessary to bug people to find out a person's formal name when I know they don't ever use it? I'm not talking about casual, fun nicknames. Their parents gave them these formal names, and from the start they always planned to refer to them otherwise. I want to be etiquette friendly, but is there a point where it's too much?




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Answers

  • I'm having a small, casual wedding so I'm addressing using the name that my guests normally use. For me, it was a know your crowd thing. I know that several people in my group would have been pissed if I used their formal birth name (they hate it) or include titles (Dr., Mrs.).

    If you are able to, I would take the steps to find out from other family members or friends about the names that people would like their invitations addressed to.

  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
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    I would do what you can to find out from family members, but beyond that don't worry too much about it. If nobody seems to know the "real" or "formal" names of these people, it's obvious they won't be the least bit offended if an invitation comes to them without them since they don't use those names anyway. 
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
    image
  • LtPowers said:
    Etiquette doesn't care what someone's legal or birth name is. You use the most formal version of the name they actually use.

    So a gentleman whose legal name is "James Arthur Smith" but always goes by "Art" would be addressed as either "Mr. Arthur Smith" or "Mr. J. Arthur Smith" depending on his preference. Not "Art Smith" or "James Smith".

    I would say that modern etiquette would support using the version of someone's name that they use on a regular basis. My FFIL is technically James but he only goes by Jim. He gets irritated when people use his full name (especially if they know that he is Jim and not James). He could go and get his name legally changed, but he hasn't. I think it is respectful to use the name that you know, if you know, that they routinely go by.
    InLoveInQueensKnottie1452098987
  • CMGragainCMGragain
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    member
    edited July 2016
    ernursej said:
    LtPowers said:
    Etiquette doesn't care what someone's legal or birth name is. You use the most formal version of the name they actually use.

    So a gentleman whose legal name is "James Arthur Smith" but always goes by "Art" would be addressed as either "Mr. Arthur Smith" or "Mr. J. Arthur Smith" depending on his preference. Not "Art Smith" or "James Smith".

    I would say that modern etiquette would support using the version of someone's name that they use on a regular basis. My FFIL is technically James but he only goes by Jim. He gets irritated when people use his full name (especially if they know that he is Jim and not James). He could go and get his name legally changed, but he hasn't. I think it is respectful to use the name that you know, if you know, that they routinely go by.
    If he is that sensitive about his name, he should have it changed.  It is awkward for people if he doesn't.  I have two first names - my legal name, and the one I actually use.  They are not related.  Mom was weird about this.  I contemplated getting my name changed to the one I use, but no matter which one I chose, some family member would be upset.  This was a big deal at my wedding.  At age 65, I am resigned to having two first names, but I use either one, depending on the situation.  I don't get upset with people who get confused.  It is understandable.  It is also a good way for me to screen calls.  If they use my legal name, they don't know me.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
  • CaitFins said:
    I was of the impression that we are supposed to write our guests' birth/full name on the outer envelope of our wedding invitations. How much did you push to find out names that they don't use? I feel like I'm already asking my parents and grandparents to help out so much with the many addresses and correct titles to use. It's been such a task trying to collect them. Most of these people I'm asking about are my extended family/in-laws that I currently have no way to contact directly, so I am at a loss there. The other few I think care so little for the name that I'm not sure they're worth asking, and possibly annoying, them over.

    Is it really necessary to bug people to find out a person's formal name when I know they don't ever use it? I'm not talking about casual, fun nicknames. Their parents gave them these formal names, and from the start they always planned to refer to them otherwise. I want to be etiquette friendly, but is there a point where it's too much?
    Don't ever do this to you children.  Seriously!
    First and last name are fine for addressing mail.  No Bubba or Billy Bobs.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
  • CMGragain said:
    ernursej said:
    LtPowers said:
    Etiquette doesn't care what someone's legal or birth name is. You use the most formal version of the name they actually use.

    So a gentleman whose legal name is "James Arthur Smith" but always goes by "Art" would be addressed as either "Mr. Arthur Smith" or "Mr. J. Arthur Smith" depending on his preference. Not "Art Smith" or "James Smith".

    I would say that modern etiquette would support using the version of someone's name that they use on a regular basis. My FFIL is technically James but he only goes by Jim. He gets irritated when people use his full name (especially if they know that he is Jim and not James). He could go and get his name legally changed, but he hasn't. I think it is respectful to use the name that you know, if you know, that they routinely go by.
    If he is that sensitive about his name, he should have it changed.  It is awkward for people if he doesn't.  I have two first names - my legal name, and the one I actually use.  They are not related.  Mom was weird about this.  I contemplated getting my name changed to the one I use, but no matter which one I chose, some family member would be upset.  This was a big deal at my wedding.  At age 65, I am resigned to having two first names, but I use either one, depending on the situation.  I don't get upset with people who get confused.  It is understandable.  It is also a good way for me to screen calls.  If they use my legal name, they don't know me.

    I don't know why he hasn't changed it. Not my concern. I just know that we are using his commonly used name "Jim" on the invite as that is what his name is to the people that know him. Etiquette should be about making your guests comfortable and taken care of. We are doing that by respecting the name that he prefers to go by.
    charlotte989875CMGragainKnottie1452098987
  • LtPowersLtPowers Upstate New York
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    ernursej said:

    We are doing that by respecting the name that he prefers to go by.
    That, of course, is the cardinal rule. But in the absence of definitive knowledge to the contrary (as you have in this case), I think my original advice stands.


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