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How do I address a formal invitation to a judge and her husband?
June 20, 2005 12:57 PM   Subscribe

How do I address a formal invitation to a judge and her husband?

I need to send an invitation for a formal event to a judge and her husband. Let's call them "John and Jane Smith." They are older and fairly traditional about matters of etiquette. How should I address the invitation? Options I am considering include, in descending order of current preference:

The Honorable Jane Smith & Mr. John Smith
Judge Jane Smith & Mr. John Smith
Judge & Mr. Jane & John Smith
Mr. & Mrs. John and Jane Smith
Mr. & Mrs. Jane and John Smith
Mr. & Mrs. John Smith
posted by brain_drain to Society & Culture (17 answers total)
 
Your top choice is the one that I've used doing personal mailings for a not-for profit. I've sent a few letters to both female judges and congress/assemblywomen, and always used option #1, with no ill effects.
posted by saladin at 1:04 PM on June 20, 2005


I'd go with "The Honorable Jane Smith and Mr. John Smith."

Keep in mind, this may change if you are using both inner and outer envelopes with your invitation.

Keep in mind that there are about a bazillion etiquette guides out there and yet no consensus (from what I've found).

Keep in mind that it doesn't really matter, anyway.
posted by herc at 1:05 PM on June 20, 2005


You've got it -- the first option is correct. You could reverse it, if you wanted to show some old-fashioned deference to the husband: Mr. John Smith and the Honorable Jane Smith.
posted by desuetude at 1:07 PM on June 20, 2005


I'd make ten million percent certain that it's Mr. John Smith and not Mr. John Doe who's married to Judge Jane Smith. And perhaps informally ask Judge Janey whether her husband prefers a title other than Mister, such as Doctor, or a military rank, or whatever.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:14 PM on June 20, 2005


As I've learned this year while doing our wedding invitations: the majority-opinion is that old-fashioned deference is to the highest title, not necessarily to the man, so your first option is perfect from that perspective too.
posted by delfuego at 1:14 PM on June 20, 2005


Mr. & Mrs. John and Jane Smith

Public servants do not deserve special titles.
posted by mischief at 1:26 PM on June 20, 2005


Also, I'm assuming that this is for an American judge. If not, adjust your spelling. Make sure the husband doesn't have another title, or another last name, as ROU points out.
posted by fionab at 1:30 PM on June 20, 2005


This random wedding page agrees with herc, FWIW. I think that's the way to go.

If you are addressing a thank-you card or letter, use the above notation on the envelope but use the salutation "Dear Judge Smith and Mr. Smith:".
posted by Saucy Intruder at 1:34 PM on June 20, 2005


If they're very traditional, then using "Mrs." with the woman's first name is quite wrong, so that narrows things down for you right there. I vote with choice #1, and reversing the order of that one would work, too.
posted by JanetLand at 1:41 PM on June 20, 2005


If you invited the Queen and her husband to an event, you sure as hell wouldn't put his name first.
posted by grouse at 2:43 PM on June 20, 2005


i'm not sure, but the first one seems like your safest option
posted by pyramid termite at 3:54 PM on June 20, 2005


According to Emily Post's Etiquette, which is pretty akin to the bible when it comes to these things, it should be "The Honourable Jane and Mr. John Smith".
posted by orangskye at 4:39 PM on June 20, 2005


Your crankiness is notable, mischief; that being said, I have yet to see a single source for the rules of addressing etiquette that agree with your idea that public servants don't "deserve" special titles.
posted by delfuego at 5:18 PM on June 20, 2005


You might want to find out what type of judge they were.

Depending on where you are and what type of judge they are, they may be "The Honourable" or "Worship".

Yeah, I don't get it either. I don't worship people who make me pay parking tickets any more than I worship the meter. If it makes you feel better you can add "esq" after your name. :-)
posted by shepd at 7:06 PM on June 20, 2005


The Honourable Jane and Mr. John Smith

Wow, Emily Post is hilarious! I would take this to mean that Jane has a one-word name like Cher, or that she does some kind of christian magic act.
posted by troybob at 8:03 PM on June 20, 2005


If you invited the Queen and her husband to an event, you sure as hell wouldn't put his name first.

Excellent point. I rescind the suggestion to reverse order for
The Honorable Jane Smith and Mr. John Smith.
posted by desuetude at 8:19 PM on June 20, 2005


Yeah, Emily Post also seems to assume that the judge and her husband have the same last name, which is definitely not always the case.

I would go with the first option on the envelope. I would also agree that the best salutation would be "Dear Judge Smith and Mr. Smith," even if the judge in question is an appellate court judge. In my experience many justices prefer "judge" outside of the courtroom, but if you are uncertain, "Justice Smith and Mr. Smith" would work too.
posted by whitearrow at 4:07 PM on June 21, 2005


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