Sending out invitations
Invitations to official events are usually issued on a card, which may be engraved or flat-printed in script or Roman type. The invitation should make clear the nature of the event, the date and location, the dress (if applicable), the time of the event and, if desired, the time it will end.
Style of Names and Titles on Invitations to Official Events
Invitations to official events name the host by his/her office and/or name. This means his or her full title, rank, etc, followed by his/her decorations, etc.
Prefixes such as ‘His Grace’, ‘His Excellency’ and ‘the Right Worshipful’ are, however, omitted, with the exception of ‘The Rt Hon’, which is included for a privy counsellor. The courtesy title ‘The Hon’, and the suffix ‘Esq’ are never used.
The younger sons of a duke or a marquess are shown as ‘Lord Edward Bond’, for example, and the daughters of dukes, marquesses and earls are shown as ‘Lady Alice Hart’.
Invitations to non-married pairs of guests take these forms:
– mother and son: Mrs George Chesterfield and Mr William Chesterfield (note that invitations to adult offspring are usually sent separately from those to their parents)
– unmarried couple: Mr Richard Maddox and Miss Ilsa Curzon
Examples of forms of address for official events
The Rt Hon the Prime Minister and Mrs Downing
The Duke and Duchess of Mayfair
The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of London
The President of the Royal Academy, Sir John Burlington, KBE, and
The Master of the Worshipful Company of Haberdashers, and
The Archbishop of Canterbury and Mrs Lambeth
The Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster
The Earl of Aldford, OBE, MC, and the Countess of Aldford
Mr Thomas and Dame Helen Wood, DBE
Brigadier and Mrs Donald Hertford
Dr and Mrs John Debrett
The Reverend John and Mrs Bolton
A Note on Dress
For an event during the day, including early evening drinks, the dress need only be specified if it is other than lounge suits: for example, morning dress or academic robes. For an evening event, dress can be specified: for example, black tie or uniform. Decorations may also be specified when appropriate.
An invitation to an official event should be addressed only to the guest invited in their own right if sent to their official address, even if their partner is invited. They are given their full prefix, title, rank and decorations, as for a formal letter.
Note that, traditionally, invitations to a married couple, when sent to their home address, are addressed to the wife alone, with both names being inscribed on the invitation. It is increasingly acceptable, however, to address the envelope with both names.