When addressing a wedding invitation to a doctor, proper etiquette dictates that the spouse with the professional title is listed first. This means that you will write "Dr. and Mrs." or "Dr. and Mr."
Things are not always that simple. In a formal invitation, for instance, it is proper to use "Doctor" rather than the abbreviation, and some couples are both doctors. Then again, not everyone is in a traditional relationship or marriage, and spouses do not always share the same name.
For each of these instances, there are proper ways to address your invitations. Before you start writing, it's best to review the etiquette regarding these formal titles.
Addressing Invitations to Traditional Married Couples
The best thing to remember is that no matter which spouse is the doctor, that individual is listed first on the invitation. Also, even if you spell out the title "Doctor" rather than abbreviating it, it is fine to abbreviate "Mr." and "Mrs."
Depending on the situation, this is how to address your invitations properly:
- Wife is a doctor and husband is not: Dr. Lucy Wallford and Mr. Christopher Wallford
- Wife is a doctor, the husband is not, and they have different last names: Dr. Lucy Jones and Mr. Christopher Wallford
- Husband is a doctor and wife is not: Dr. and Mrs. Christopher Wallford
- Husband is a doctor, the wife is not, and they have different last names: Dr. Christopher Wallford and Mrs. Lucy Jones
- Both spouses are doctors: Dr. Christopher Wallford and Dr. Lucy Jones (if last names differ) or The Doctors Wallford (if same last name)
Unmarried or Same-Sex Couples
Address invitations to unmarried couples—either heterosexual or same-sex—in the same way as you would married couples. Write both names on the invitation with the doctor listed first.
In the case of same-sex couples, use "Mr." or "Ms." before the second name (unless you know the couple has another preference). If both of them are doctors, list the doctor with whom you are most familiar first or list them in alphabetical order if you know both doctors equally well.
Inviting Single Doctors
When you invite a doctor who is not in a relationship or you're not sure, it is polite to invite the doctor "and guest." The response card will indicate whether the doctor plans to attend with a guest, so you'll still get an accurate headcount.
The Format for Inner Envelopes
If you are sending a traditional invitation with an inner and outer envelope, there is a proper way to address the inside envelope. You would use The Wallfords if the couple shared a last name and Christopher Wallford and Lucy Jones if they do not.