Correspondence etiquette for a college graduation announcement is similar to wedding invitation etiquette. Instead of scribbling a quick "Bob Smith" and then his address on the envelope, etiquette provides specific guidelines on how to address the graduation announcement envelopes according to a person's or couple's married, unmarried or relationship status.
Married Couples With the Same Last Name
When addressing the announcement outer envelope to a married couple who share a last name, write "Mr. and Mrs. Robert Jones." A gay couple who share a last name are addressed as "Mr. Jose and Mr. Aaron Goldman" or "Mrs. and Mrs. Jennifer Alvarez." If one of the couple is doctor, holds elected office, or is a military member with a lower ranking or civilian spouse, the higher ranking person is first, such as "Colonel Latoya White and Mr. George White." Women may prefer "Ms." so when in doubt, ask the couple about their preference.
Married Couple With Different Last Names
Married couples who have different last names are addressed as "Mr. James Brown and Ms. Cassandra O'Malley," "Mr. David Grant and Mr. Sean Martin" or "Mrs. Angela Woods and Mrs. Victoria Knight." If one is a doctor, holds an elected office or has a higher military rank, that person's name is first, such as "The Honorable Julia Washington and Mr. Abraham Ray." If there is not enough room for both names in a single line, place "Dr. Denise Fairchild" on the first line, and then "and Mr. Joseph Carpenter" on the second line.
Unmarried Couples Who Live Together
When addressing an envelope to an unmarried couple who is living together, put both names in a single line. Generally, place their names in alphabetical order, although if one is a relative or close friend, you can put that person's name first on the envelope. Thus, an envelope is addressed to "Mr. Jay Prince and Ms. Elaine Silva," "Mr. Thomas Black and Mr. Anthony Rice" or "Ms. Elizabeth Carr and Ms. Catherine Guzman ."
Roommates and Other People
If you are sending an announcement to your old roommates who still share a space, place their names on two separate lines. "Mr. Gary Chee" is on the first line and "Mr. Harvey Bishop" is placed on the second line. Similarly, if your siblings share an apartment, address the announcement with each name on a separate line, such as "Ms. Barbara Thomas" and on a second line, "Mr. Terrance Thomas."
Announcements to Singles
A college graduation announcement sent to a single person may use Mr., Ms. or Miss. Generally, Miss is reserved for young ladies under the age of 18. However, an elderly relative who never married may also prefer "Miss." Additionally, transgender relatives or friends usually have a specific preference, so if you are not sure, ask which honorific is preferred.
The Inner Envelope
The announcement is placed inside the inner envelope, which can be informally addressed to Grandpa Joe or Aunt Billie. You don't need the full address, just the names. A family with children may be addressed as Uncle Bob and Aunt Juanita and underneath, each child's name is placed on a separate line. If you don't know the person well or they are from your parents' or grandparents' generation, follow the formal etiquette rules for addressing the outer envelope.
- Jostens: Announcing Your Graduation
- Emily Post: Guide to Addressing Correspondence
- The Protocol School of Washington: How to Write the Names of Members of the Armed Services on Invitations & How to Address Invitations to Members of the Armed Services
- Steve Petrow's Gay & Lesbian Manners: How Do I Address a Letter to a Gay Couple?
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