How to Format Your Guest List Properly

How to Format Your Guest List Properly

Guest list etiquette can be majorly confusing! I’m breaking down everything you need to know to ~*properly*~ invite your favorite people to your party. 

First things first: If you’re going to send a printed invitation, you’ll need to tackle the time-consuming task of collecting addresses. I’d highly recommend using Postable. It’s a free service that creates a link you can send to friends to collect their info. You can customize the fields to include details like their significant other’s name. (This is a huge bonus IMO to avoid an awkward convo about your cousin’s boyfriend’s name.) When your guests submit their info, it automatically populates into a neatly organized spreadsheet for you.

Step 1:

Think about how you want to address your invitations before you start inputting names. Here are a few styles of addressing you could use:

If it’s a casual event…

First and last name are great! (i.e. Lauren and Bob Walker)

If it’s a formal event…

You’ll likely want to add titles. Traditional etiquette says that you’d format a married couple as Mr. and Mrs. John Smith and unmarried couples as Ms. Jane Brown and Mr. John Smith with the woman’s name appearing first. You’d also want to write out people’s full names instead of using nicknames (so, Richard instead of Rick). Don’t forget about your fancy doctor or judge friends who may need special titles. I’d recommend checking Emily Post’s guide for tricky ones.

If it’s a formal but modern event…

Some people are now choosing to get with the times and use more contemporary addressing to include the woman’s name in a married couple. For that, I’d recommend Mrs. Emily and Mr. Tom Williams.

Another super important tip: Always include the names of exactly who is invited to avoid any misunderstandings. So, for example, instead of addressing an invitation for a couple and their children to “The Anderson Family,” it’s better to write out all names. You don’t want them to RSVP (or worse, show up to the event!) with an extra plus one that you weren’t expecting.

Step 2:

Take care to spell things out when writing addresses. For example, One North Grove Street looks much more elegant on your envelope than 1 N. Grove St. You should write out numbers one through ten and all directions, Streets, Boulevards, Lanes and Places. If there’s an apartment number, think about how you’d like it to appear. For example, you could use Apartment, Apt., No. or Unit as long as you’re consistent. City and states should be fully written out as well.

Step 3:

Always collect email addresses! Even if you’re planning to do everything via snail mail, it can’t hurt to have them in case you need to send any last-minute updates. If you ever urgently need to communicate with your guests (hello, Covid brides), the last thing you need is the stress of finding your mom’s friend Karen’s email.

Step 4:

If you have a B-list, make sure it’s very clearly marked. Whether you’re using a stationer or DIY-ing, you don’t want any mix-ups. Keep it on a separate document/tab or in a second color.

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