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military wedding - invitations

Military Weddings: Invitations

Photo: John Nolte

Military wedding invitations follow the same general guidelines used for civilian weddings. The main difference is in the use of titles. The bride's/groom's rank and service, and that of any of their parents, is included. Traditionally, brides who are members of the military have not used their titles on the invitations, but you absolutely can and should if you want to! Here are the basics and some examples.

  • If the bride, groom, or both are senior officers, their titles appear before their names, followed by the branch or service on the line below:
    Colonel Timothy Andrew Smith
    United States Air Force

  • If the bride, groom, or both are junior or company-grade officers, their titles appear under their names, followed by the branch of service on the same line:
    Andrea Rebecca Barnett
    Second Lieutenant, United States Air Force

    Knot Note: (First and Second Lieutenants in the Army both use simply "Lieutenant." In the Air Force and Marines, "First" and "Second" are used.)
  • For enlisted personnel, rank is usually omitted. The full name is written on one line, with the branch of service underneath. "Mr." is never used to address or refer to an officer on active duty.
    Joseph Peter Jones
    United States Air Force
  • Retired officers (generally this refers to parents of the bride and/or groom), especially in the ranks of Commander and Lieutenant Colonel, generally keep their titles in civilian life and use them on wedding invitations, only noting that they are retired if the invitation is issued in their name alone:
    Lieutenant Colonel Richard James Dixon
    United States Air Force, Retired
    requests the honor of your presence...
  • When officers' names are used with their spouse's name, the branch of service is not mentioned on the line underneath.
    Lieutenant Colonel and Mrs. Richard James Dixon
    request the honor of your presence...

    Knot Note: Military titles should never be abbreviated.
  • Follow these examples to solve any sticky wording situations:
    Brigadier General and Mrs. David Louis Guthrie
    request the honor of your presence
    at the marriage of their daughter
    Leslie Anne
    to
    Paul Taylor Daley
    Lieutenant, United States Army
    Thursday, the ninth of June
    at half past four o'clock
    Cadet Chapel
    West Point, New York
  • Lieutenant General and Mrs. James Henry Barnett
    request the pleasure of your company
    at the marriage of their daughter
    Captain Andrea Rebecca Barnett
    United States Marine Corps
    to
    Major Anton Willard Stephens
    United States Army
    son of
    Captain and Mrs. William Howard Stephens
    Saturday, the ninth of January
    at four o' clock
    Marine Corps Memorial Chapel
    Quantico, Virginia

  • Brenda Marie Walsh
    Second Lieutenant, United States Air Force
    and
    Captain Timothy Raymond Fulbright
    United States Army
    request the honor of your presence
    at their wedding
    Sunday, the third of March
    at three o'clock in the afternoon
    Memorial Chapel
    Offutt Air Force Base
    Bellevue, Nebraska

  • Outside envelopes should be addressed with full names, no abbreviated titles:
    Major and Mrs. Anthony Douglas Davis
    or Captain James Rice Taylor

  • The inner envelope is addressed with abbreviations:
    Major and Mrs. Davis
    or Captain Taylor

  • An invitation to a married couple with the same rank and service:
    Captains Thomas and Maria Marquette
    or The Captains Marquette
  • In different services, different ranks, when the wife has retained her maiden name:
    Major Maria Green
    Captain Thomas Marquette

    or Major Green and Captain Marquette
  • In different services, different ranks, when the couple has the same last name:
    Captain Thomas and Major Maria Marquette
    or Captain and Major Marquette

Knot Note: Depending on the size of the couple's station, commanding officers, their spouses and all or some of the staff officers (and their wives or husbands) should be invited to the wedding.

-- Tracy Guth

See More: Military Weddings