Wedding Etiquette Forum

Invitation Etiquette Question

This is rather complicated. My cousin (who is around thirty years older than me) got married when she was young, had two kids (my second cousins, who are both older than me), and then got divorced. So far, pretty normal, right? Except for the last 15 years or so, she and her ex have lived together. She still goes by his last name, but they are not re-married. How do I address their envelope? My guess is this:

Mr. John Smith and Ms. Jane Smith

Does that look right? FYI, my wedding is uber-formal and so are my invites. 

Sidenote: I have been trying for nearly a year to post on various message boards. For some reason, up until today, it has never worked, it always spit me back to my bio page. To the staff person at the The Knot who fixed this....thanks!

Re: Invitation Etiquette Question

  • That sounds right to me.

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  • For non-married adults, I believe you should do separate lines.

    Mr. John Smith
    Ms. Jane Smith

    Your way might work too, though. I'll see what others say.
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  • Hmm. First of all, 'and' indicates that they are married, so don't do that.

    I think that technically, since they are really roommates and not a couple, they should get separate invitations. I take it you're not inviting them with separate +1s?

    But if you believe that they are cool with receiving an invitation as a "couple", then you could do what you normally would for a couple that are not married but living together:

    Mr. John Smitih
    Ms. Jane Smith
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  • Ditto ringpop.
  • I think in this case try to find out how they would prefer you to address their invite.  FI's mom just moved back in with her ex-husband and she basically considers them to be re-married even though they haven't gone through all the formalities so I'll be addressing theirs to Mr. and Mrs. HisLast even though this is not technically accurate.  They would be be offended if we wrote their names on separate lines or even wrote "Mr Him and Mrs Her."
  • I think that technically, since they are really roommates and not a couple, they should get separate invitations. I take it you're not inviting them with separate +1s?

    Hmm, see, I got the impression from the OP that they are living together as a couple again and not just as roommates.  OP, can you clarify?
  • I agree with Kati... I get what you are saying having everything be really formal, but with that specific situation, I would just even go ahead and address it like they are married.
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  • I guess I was a little unclear. They are together as a couple, not just roomates. They just never got married again because they "never saw the point." They live together, raised their kids together, did everything together like a married couple, but they are not married.

    crfische - my name is a Ben Folds reference. My FI and I sign all our notes/emails/wall posts to each other "The Luckiest" ... my god, we're nerds.
  • Oh, my bad.

    Well this sounds like a case where it seems like it wouldn't really matter. But if you want to be really proper about it, list them on separate lines.
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  • thanks everybody.
    I think I'm going to do it on seperate lines. That way, I have "official etiquette" to fall back on if someone gets upset. That side of my family is pretty easy going, so I'm guessing no one but me will care.
  • Technically they should be on seperate lines if not married but this isn't a usual situation.

    I think I would ask them just to be on the safe side.  Perhaps they consider themselves married and would take offense.

    I don't thinks this has been covered in any etiquette book that I've ever seen.
  • Definitely send separate invitations. if you know they are dating someone, put +1. Putting them on one invitation, separate lines or not, indicates that they are invited together, instead of as separate individuals. 
  • I don't thinks this has been covered in any etiquette book that I've ever seen.

    Yeah there is a definite need out there for an etiquette book for the "families" of today.  My MOH's parents have been separated for years although they never divorced.  I asked MOH for her dad's address, and she said he usually just gets mail at her mom's (weird since he hasn't been living there for like 8 years, no?)  So I then asked her if I should just send one invite since they are still technically married and it seemed weird to send each of them an invitation to the same house.  She responded "well, yeah, wouldn't you address it to Mr. and Mrs. Dad?"  Umm, sure, I guess?
  • Living together for 15 years, using the same last name and raising children together seems like a common law marriage to me. (maybe not legally in all states)  It sounds like they consider themselves to be husband and wife, so I would at least put their names on the same line, even if you use Ms. Her Name and not Mrs. His Name.
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  • Ay dios mio. Why can't I just have a normal family?
  • squirrlysquirrly member
    Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments Name Dropper 5 Love Its
    edited December 2009
    Address it the same way you would to an engaged couple who are living together:

    Mrs. Her Name or Ms. Her Name (you'll need to ask what she uses)
    Mr. His Name
    address

    It doesn't matter that they were married before or that the last name she's using came from him.  All that matters is their CURRENT status and the names they use.
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  • Ay dios mio. Why can't I just have a normal family?

    I hate to tell ya, but there's no such thing.
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