Wondering if you should capitalize guest on your wedding invitations? When brides send me their address lists, one of the most common mistakes I see is that they capitalize guest.
It is an easy mistake to make, because most of us are taught from a young age to capitalize nouns. However, you actually should not capitalize guest on your addresses!
The reason you shouldn’t capitalize guest is that “guest” is not actually that person’s name. Let’s say you invite Mr. Robert Smith and guest to your wedding. He chooses to bring along his significant other, Sally. Robert would let you know on his RSVP card that he is attending, along with Sally, and give you her full name. You’d then use Sally’s full name on any place cards, thank you notes, etc. going forward.
Using “and guest” on your envelopes is simply a placeholder in the event that you don’t know the guest’s name. Therefore, guest would be lowercase, because it is a placeholder, not a name!
In the event that you do know the guest’s name, you should always address it to their name, rather than and guest. Using their name is much more personal, and more friendly, and makes them feel more included and welcome at your wedding! The phrase “and guest” should be reserved solely for single guests who you are unsure of who they may be seeing or wish to bring to your wedding.
Do keep in mind, though, when addressing your envelopes that the wording that you choose denotes exactly who is and isn’t invited to your wedding – read more on that here. If you invite someone as “Mr. Robert Smith and guest”, you are stating that Robert is invited, and may bring whoever he likes as a guest. If you invite him as “Mr. Robert Smith and Ms. Sally Parker” you are stating that you’re inviting Robert and Sally to your wedding. In the event that Robert and Sally break up, or Sally is otherwise unable to attend your wedding, Robert should come alone.
Invitations issued to a guest by name are non-transferrable. Invitations issued to someone with the condition “and guest” allow them to bring any guest of their choosing to your wedding.
Choosing the proper wording for your addresses eliminates any confusion for your guests, allows you to know exactly who you are issuing an invitation to, and helps keep your guest list from unexpectedly growing when you receive your RSVPs!