Proper Etiquette for Addressing a Wedding Invitation to a Doctor

Whether One Doctor or Two, Proper Etiquette Covers This Topic

Hands Writing
Janice Richard / Getty Images

When addressing a wedding invitation to a doctor, proper etiquette dictates that the spouse with the professional title is listed first. If the woman is a doctor and her husband is not, write: Doctor Lucy Wallford and Mr. Christopher Wallford or—if they have different last names—Doctor Lucy Jones and Mr. Christopher Wallford. If the husband is a doctor and his wife is not, it is proper to address the invitation to Doctor and Mrs. Christopher Wallford or Doctor Christopher Wallford and Mrs. Lucy Jones.

If both are doctors, address the invitation to The Doctors Wallford or Doctor. Christopher Wallford and Doctor Lucy Jones.

So, just remember that no matter which spouse is the doctor, that individual is listed first on the invitation and you can't go wrong. Note that formal invitations spell out the title "Doctor" rather than abbreviating it. It is fine to abbreviate "Mr." and "Mrs."

Addressing Invitations to Traditional Married Couples

Here are examples to clarify the etiquette involved and make you confident you are addressing your invitations properly.

  • Wife is a doctor and husband is not: Dr. Lucy Wallford and Mr. Christopher Wallford
  • Wife is a doctor, 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, 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)

    How About Unmarried or Same-Sex Couples?

    Address invitations to unmarried couples—either heterosexual or same sex—in exactly the same way as you treat 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). For same-sex couples where both 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, it is polite to invite the doctor "and guest." The response card will indicate whether the doctor plans to attend with a guest, and that gives you the count for planning purposes.

    Format for Inner Envelopes

    If you are sending a traditional invitation with an inner and outer envelope, then the inside envelope should read The Wallfords if the couple shares a last name and Christopher Wallford and Lucy Jones if they do not.