How to Address an Envelope to a single person is a cinch – you require is their name and title, you’re ready to go. Addressing an envelope to a family, however, is a different matter.
- Using Family Name
- Using Family Members’ Names
- Using Inner and Outer Envelope
There are various ways to address an envelope to a family, each with its own subtle ties to consider. No single process is so difficult, understanding when and how to utilize each can be helpful for etiquette. Get started with various methods one-by-one.
How to Address an Envelope : Using Family Name
Write “The (Surname) Family” at the top of the address. While looking to address an envelope to family and not to a single individual, opt for one of the two options: use the family name to represent the entire family, or specifically address the envelope to some or all of the family members.
The easiest way of addressing an entire family is simply write “The (Last Name of the Family) Family” as the first line of address. It is a good choice for general communications but is unwise for addressing envelopes in which it has to be more specific who the letter is for such as wedding invitations.
Use the plural form of the family name. Simply use the plural form of the family’s surname as address. The plural family name is always preceded by the word “The” so that the final result is in the form of “The Smiths”, “The Garcias”.
Don’t try using apostrophes here. Apostrophes are used to convey possession, not to make a word plural. Do not use them in the plural form of the family name. You simply need an -s at the end to become plural like Thompsons, Lincolns. If the names end with an “s”, “sh”, or “x” sound usually put -es at the end like Roses, Foxes, Welshes.
Address the rest of the envelope as normal. The rest of the address is written will be like any other letter. Write the street number or PO box, then, the city, state/province, postal code, and so on. For international envelopes, write the name of the country in the fourth line. Write return address in the same manner in the top left corner of the envelope.
How to Address an Envelope : Using Family Members’ Name
Start with the parents’ names and titles. While addressing to a family, in addition you can also write name of the members individually. It is useful for letters like wedding invitations where it is essential to convey who specifically the letter is for. To begin, write the parents’ names. Use their appropriate titles viz., Mr. and Mrs. are always safe, whereas titles like “Dr.”, “Judge”, are optional outside of formal or professional contexts. Use the traditional form of describing married couples where husband’s full name serves for both partners: Mr. and Mrs. Tim Cook. After that, write each partner’s full name, sans titles: Tim and Jane Cook which is generally written in familiar, informal context.
Follow with children’s names. Write the names of children under 18 and live as dependents of the parents. Provide the family name once at the end of the list of children’s names like David, Tony, and Tom Richards, or leave it out entirely. Knowing the ages of the children, write in the order of oldest to youngest.
Write the parents’ names followed by “and Family”. When you don’t know the names of all or any children in the family, refer to children collectively. In this case, write “and Family or choose to write “and Children” to make the intent more specific.
Mr. and Mrs. Cook
Omit children’s names when it isn’t intended for them. Write name the relevant recipients in the first line, then proceed to the street address without writing list additional family members.
Send separate letters to children over 18. If the family contains any children over 18 (or the traditional age of adulthood in the recipient’s community), send these children their own, separate letter in addition to the one you send to their parents. Receiving your own mail is a sign of adulthood. Though it’s relatively minor, it can be perceived as somewhat insulting to, for instance, be invited to a party via a letter addressed to one’s parents.
How to Address an Envelope : Using Inner and Outer Envelope
Address the outer envelope to the parents only. Make a point of requesting a response from the recipient with a small, pre-addressed reply envelope is put inside the outer envelope. Address the outer envelope with only the names of the parents or heads of the household. Write the parents’ names Mr. and Mrs. Cook, Mr. and Mrs. Tim Cook, or Tim and Jane Cook.
Address the inner envelope to the recipients. For the inner return envelope, the rules differ somewhat. In case response for every member of the family, write the parents’ names on the first line of the address and the children’s names underneath on the second line. If response only is requested from the parents, you only write names on the first line of the address.
The first two lines of the inner envelope’s return address would look like this:
Mr. and Mrs. Cook
Emma and Peter
Include a stamp on the return envelope It is always a sign of courtesy to pre-stamp letter’s return envelope. Stamps are relatively cheap, so include a stamp on the return envelope is more a sign of respect and care than it is actual financial aid. Best to avoid a minor faux pas, give letter’s return envelope a stamp. You should send separate letters to children who are over 18. You’ll need to address and stamp each return envelope as well.
Hoping the above discussion, will help you getting through the tough situation of decision making for how to address an envelope.