Wedding Etiquette Forum

Addressing Invites with Nicknames

I'm sure this has been asked a million times, but what's the general consensus on addressing guest invites with their nicknames?

Mr. and Mrs. Jim Smith

Mrs. and Mrs. Tom Brown


No one ever calls these guys "James" or "Thomas" so it doesn't feel right addressing them like that. Our wedding isn't super formal either. Is it OK to do this? Am I overthinking this?

 




Re: Addressing Invites with Nicknames

  • edited March 2015
    You are suppose to use their full names because it's a formal event. Most people are not addressed by their full names in social situations., but etiquette dictates they must be addressed formally for a wedding. We had one friend that we addressed with a "nickname." This friend's legal first is specific to his nationality( he was born in a different country). Basically, he took on an Americanized name that was similar to his legal full name. It's truly his preference to be addressed this way. We addressed the invite using his "nickname." However, we used full names for everyone else.

    I would stick with etiquette and address them by their full name. I believe you can do an inner envelope and address it with nicknames.
  • climbingsingleclimbingsingle NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I addressed invites to proper full names even if I had never called them that.

  • If the event isn't formal why would the envelopes need to be addressed formally? (Honestly just asking, my head spins every time I read a thread about addressing invites lol.)

    [Deleted User]
  • novella1186novella1186 member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary First Answer
    edited March 2015
    My mom is a calligrapher so she addressed our invites for us. She wrote out the names in their formal full length (so Uncle Tom and Uncle Jim where Mr. Thomas Smith and Mr. James Smith). It was extremely odd for me to see it that way. I didn't even know who they were at first lol. "Who the hell is James Smith? I don't know any James." 

    It's just how it goes I guess. 
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  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    As someone who has always gone by a nickname it is weird as hell for me to see my formal name written out on something like an invitation.  To me it just feels so damn proper and stiff.  I know that the full name is the etiquette way but I see no harm in using the name the person goes by on a daily basis.  My feeling is that you should address people how they want to be addressed.  If that means Tom prefers to be addressed by his full name on correspondence then okay, but if he prefers to be addressed as Tommy then that is what you should do.

    **FYI - this opinion comes from someone who used her nickname on her wedding invitation.  No way was I going to use a name that no one calls me and some people don't even realize is my real name.

    JennyColadalilacck28littlepep
  • If you're going with the most formal Mr. and Mrs. HisFirstName HisLastName, then I would find it very odd to use nicknames.

    If your wedding is casual, I would address things casually all around. "Jim and Jane Smith" or "Tom and Sally Brown".
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    [Deleted User]MyNameIsNotmollybarker11
  • As someone who has always gone by a nickname it is weird as hell for me to see my formal name written out on something like an invitation.  To me it just feels so damn proper and stiff.  I know that the full name is the etiquette way but I see no harm in using the name the person goes by on a daily basis.  My feeling is that you should address people how they want to be addressed.  If that means Tom prefers to be addressed by his full name on correspondence then okay, but if he prefers to be addressed as Tommy then that is what you should do.


    **FYI - this opinion comes from someone who used her nickname on her wedding invitation.  No way was I going to use a name that no one calls me and some people don't even realize is my real name.
    This is how I feel about it but I didn't know if anyone would be side eyeing it if I used nicknames.
    To clarify I was only going to use them for FI's close friends- I have NEVER heard anyone call them by their full name. If I used proper names FI would probably looking at the invites going who are William, James and Thomas??
     




  • As someone who has always gone by a nickname it is weird as hell for me to see my formal name written out on something like an invitation.  To me it just feels so damn proper and stiff.  I know that the full name is the etiquette way but I see no harm in using the name the person goes by on a daily basis.  My feeling is that you should address people how they want to be addressed.  If that means Tom prefers to be addressed by his full name on correspondence then okay, but if he prefers to be addressed as Tommy then that is what you should do.


    **FYI - this opinion comes from someone who used her nickname on her wedding invitation.  No way was I going to use a name that no one calls me and some people don't even realize is my real name.
    This is how I feel about it but I didn't know if anyone would be side eyeing it if I used nicknames.
    To clarify I was only going to use them for FI's close friends- I have NEVER heard anyone call them by their full name. If I used proper names FI would probably looking at the invites going who are William, James and Thomas??


    SIB
    I can't really see people side-eyeing that, but that's just me. Even my dad's side of the family who tend to be more formal and have fancy weddings and whatnot would likely not side-eye using the normal version of someone's name (normal as in what they go by every day). If I went by something like Beth every day of my life and everyone called me that, I would not think it was strange or wrong to see "Beth" written on an envelope. 

    Since you said your wedding is pretty casual, I think you're ok here. 
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  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers

    As someone who has always gone by a nickname it is weird as hell for me to see my formal name written out on something like an invitation.  To me it just feels so damn proper and stiff.  I know that the full name is the etiquette way but I see no harm in using the name the person goes by on a daily basis.  My feeling is that you should address people how they want to be addressed.  If that means Tom prefers to be addressed by his full name on correspondence then okay, but if he prefers to be addressed as Tommy then that is what you should do.


    **FYI - this opinion comes from someone who used her nickname on her wedding invitation.  No way was I going to use a name that no one calls me and some people don't even realize is my real name.
    This is how I feel about it but I didn't know if anyone would be side eyeing it if I used nicknames.
    To clarify I was only going to use them for FI's close friends- I have NEVER heard anyone call them by their full name. If I used proper names FI would probably looking at the invites going who are William, James and Thomas??


    SIB
    I can't really see people side-eyeing that, but that's just me. Even my dad's side of the family who tend to be more formal and have fancy weddings and whatnot would likely not side-eye using the normal version of someone's name (normal as in what they go by every day). If I went by something like Beth every day of my life and everyone called me that, I would not think it was strange or wrong to see "Beth" written on an envelope. 

    Since you said your wedding is pretty casual, I think you're ok here. 
    This.  I think the only time someone may side-eye it is if you used some nickname like if when out at a bar your bud Tom gets called the Tominator because of him throwing back beers.

    [Deleted User]lavenderfields13
  • thisismynickname2thisismynickname2 City By The Lake member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    Be prepared for a struggle. I went formal to be on the safe side and how many times did I ask my fiance: "What's 'Jerry' short for? Oh, Jerry is his birth name? Really? You're sure? Ok, how about John- is he Jonathan? Just John? Really? Ok..."  It's like no man goes by his given name ever anymore. 
    ________________________________


    lavenderfields13
  • As someone who has always gone by a nickname it is weird as hell for me to see my formal name written out on something like an invitation.  To me it just feels so damn proper and stiff.  I know that the full name is the etiquette way but I see no harm in using the name the person goes by on a daily basis.  My feeling is that you should address people how they want to be addressed.  If that means Tom prefers to be addressed by his full name on correspondence then okay, but if he prefers to be addressed as Tommy then that is what you should do.


    **FYI - this opinion comes from someone who used her nickname on her wedding invitation.  No way was I going to use a name that no one calls me and some people don't even realize is my real name.
    This is how I feel about it but I didn't know if anyone would be side eyeing it if I used nicknames.
    To clarify I was only going to use them for FI's close friends- I have NEVER heard anyone call them by their full name. If I used proper names FI would probably looking at the invites going who are William, James and Thomas??


    SIB
    I can't really see people side-eyeing that, but that's just me. Even my dad's side of the family who tend to be more formal and have fancy weddings and whatnot would likely not side-eye using the normal version of someone's name (normal as in what they go by every day). If I went by something like Beth every day of my life and everyone called me that, I would not think it was strange or wrong to see "Beth" written on an envelope. 

    Since you said your wedding is pretty casual, I think you're ok here. 
    This.  I think the only time someone may side-eye it is if you used some nickname like if when out at a bar your bud Tom gets called the Tominator because of him throwing back beers.
    totally calling Tom the Tominator now
     




    huskypuppy14novella1186ashley8918
  • As already mentioned above, I agree that it's odd and not correct to to use a nickname with a formal title, such as Mr. and Mrs. Tom Smith. However, addressing the Invite to Tom and Sally Smith would be perfectly fine. 

    If using the formal salutation use the formal name. If not, you can use either the formal name or the nickname. 
  • I have an Aunt Mickie.  It took me well into my 20s before it even occurred to me that it might be a nickname.  It's not like I ever went around wondering, "Gee, I wonder what Mickie might be short for."  It just never occurred to me to even wonder.  But addressing her invitation will be a whole other nightmare because both she and her husband are military and they have different last names.  But that's a project for another day.
  • Be prepared for a struggle. I went formal to be on the safe side and how many times did I ask my fiance: "What's 'Jerry' short for? Oh, Jerry is his birth name? Really? You're sure? Ok, how about John- is he Jonathan? Just John? Really? Ok..."  It's like no man goes by his given name ever anymore. 

    It is a struggle- I sent FI on a mission to get his work friend's addresses when he went to work the other day. So I had a list for him which included Tony & Maria: get their address.
    So then I'm writing their address onto my document and I'm like "huh, is his name Anthony? Antonio? I have no clue." and I don't think FI knows either- most people at his work go by their last names. He'll probably refuse to ask Tony what his legal name is because that's kind of awkward so I was just going to stick with Mr. and Mrs. Tony Lastname.
     




  • I'm going to say use the formal unless you know this person hates being addressed by the formal name. My husband has a very unique first name that he hates and finds terribly embarrassing. He much prefers to go by his initials. Most people don't even know his first name, and I'm pretty sure he'd cringe if people started calling him by his given name.

    If you know someone hates their non-nickname, then I'd say stick with the nickname - it's more comfortable to them, and isn't that what etiquette is about?
  • CasadenaCasadena member
    Sixth Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited March 2015
    I addressed mine on a "per case" basis.  H and I have lots of friends that have been recently married, but they would feel very strange if we addressed their invites formally (as in Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Smith or the like).  For them, we used a more casual Tom and Jane Smith.  Anyone of our parents generation or older we addressed in the more formal way, especially H's family because they're super stuffy about stuff like that.  

    Edited re: nicknames
    If I addressed an invite formally, I used the formal name, even if I do not call them by their formal name.  If I addressed it informally, I used the name that I call them most often.  
  • JennyColadaJennyColada Awesometown, CA member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    Well, I wrote out the invites to my parents as Shelley and David, not mom and dad.

    For thank you cards, there was one where DH refers to her as "aunt G" and I just refused to address the envelope like that. Aside from that, I did use the names I refer to people as (Alex, not Alexander), and I honestly didn't even think of another option. Whoops.
    lavenderfields13
  • huskypuppy14huskypuppy14 Boston Suburbs member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    It's much better to use a nickname that you know is right, then to use a formal name that is wrong. Like the Tony example. Maybe the guy's full name is Tony. If you don't know, don't guess. 

    I addressed most people by their formal names. Mike was Michael, Tom was Thomas, Chris was Christopher, etc. However, my husband has a friend who goes by A.J. I originally had it as Mr. and Mrs. Anthony James Jones and H said, no he goes by AJ, address it as A.J. He knows his friend better than me, so fine, not the hill I was going to die on. 

    Also, like Maggie, some people prefer to go by their middle name. Many times for formal correspondence it will be H. William Smith. That is perfectly acceptable. Etiquette is about making people feel comfortable, so use the name that person would prefer.
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    lavenderfields13
  • edited March 2015
    I will be using full names of most people's nicknames (Tom/Thomas, Joe/Joseph), but I have a few friends who have very unique names that they never use--not even in business situations. One of them didn't even use her full name on her own wedding invitation, so I'm not going to force it on her on my invitation just so that I can stick to tradition. When inquiring about mailing addresses, I also asked for full names (we have some married friends that have different last names, some that are in the process of changing them, etc). This is also a good way to find out about those guests I knew don't like/use their full names and prefer nicknames.
  • It's much better to use a nickname that you know is right, then to use a formal name that is wrong. Like the Tony example. Maybe the guy's full name is Tony. If you don't know, don't guess. 


    I addressed most people by their formal names. Mike was Michael, Tom was Thomas, Chris was Christopher, etc. However, my husband has a friend who goes by A.J. I originally had it as Mr. and Mrs. Anthony James Jones and H said, no he goes by AJ, address it as A.J. He knows his friend better than me, so fine, not the hill I was going to die on. 

    Also, like Maggie, some people prefer to go by their middle name. Many times for formal correspondence it will be H. William Smith. That is perfectly acceptable. Etiquette is about making people feel comfortable, so use the name that person would prefer.
    Good call about this.  Last summer I heard the story of a young lady (12 years old) who was getting her first passport and was asked to sign it.  She started signing with the name she goes by, which is her middle name, and she found herself having to stop, scratch it out, and resign using her proper first name.  It's just funny because she doesn't even think of herself as her first name.
  • LtPowersLtPowers Upstate New York member
    Knottie Warrior 100 Love Its 100 Comments Name Dropper
    Just as middle names don't need to be written out, it's perfectly acceptable to initialize any or all given names in an address. "J.M. Smucker", "F. Scott Fitzgerald", "J.R.R. Tolkein" -- any of these are fine for formal correspondence if that's the recipient's preference.

    Nicknames are a different issue. I would never use honorifics with nicknames unless I was 100% certain that the recipient used the nickname exclusively (such as on passport, driver's license, legal documents, etc.). And failing to use honorifics kicks the formality level of the invitation down several notches (about as far as it can go). Nothing inherently wrong with that, although weddings (being a solemn [not to say joyless] occasion) do generally call for at least a minimal level of formality.


  • Apparently FI's side of the family ALL go by crazy nicknames (as in not anything close to their actual name) so when FFIL gave me the list of addresses, he had a column where he listed their formal name, and a column where he listed their nickname just so FI knew who they were. So it was like:

    Big Tex = James Smith 
    Aunt Bob = Anne Jones 
    Aunt Jojo = Kelly Brown 
    Brother Ben = Thomas Andrews 

    I was reading through the list and was like "Wtf?" 
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    [Deleted User]lavenderfields13huskypuppy14TheDeathLlama
  • @novella1186 haha! That's horrible! I can't say my issue was that bad, but my FMIL gave me her list without last names...Mike and Deb, etc. I was like uhhh who are these people? Deborah or Debra? And LAST NAME?! Finding all of those addresses was a nightmare.
    novella1186
  • adk19 said:

    I have an Aunt Mickie.  It took me well into my 20s before it even occurred to me that it might be a nickname.  It's not like I ever went around wondering, "Gee, I wonder what Mickie might be short for."  It just never occurred to me to even wonder.  But addressing her invitation will be a whole other nightmare because both she and her husband are military and they have different last names.  But that's a project for another day.

    Yup, I have an aunt like that, too. It wasn't until a few years ago when her son got married that I found out Marnie was short for Maureen. Never in my entire life did it occur to me that it could be a nickname.
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    [Deleted User]
  • I have an uncle named "Frank". I guess my family thought it would be funny to have my brother and I call him "Uncle Joey" (full house reference? I'm not entirely sure). 

    I HAD NO IDEA THAT MAN'S NAME WASN'T JOE/JOSEPH/JOEY UNTIL I WAS 15.
    novella1186[Deleted User]redoryx
  • We have a friend that we invited where we didn't even know his last name, and his first name is a nickname.  He's a guy we know from the bar that FI is pretty good friends with.  I gave FI the task of finding out his full name... how embarassing.  
    Married 9.12.15
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  • huskypuppy14huskypuppy14 Boston Suburbs member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    I have an aunt Lauri that I just assumed her full name was Lauri. Nope, it's Lorraine! Never would have known had she not written us a check for our wedding. 

    Her wedding invitation was addressed to her and her husband as Mr. and Mrs. Husband's name, so her name wasn't an issue on the invitation. But it's weird to think you may have to go around asking every person what their full name is.
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