How to invite a couple when I don't know husband's name?



On an invitation card...

Mr and Mrs Jack Anderson

works very well. It includes both Mr. Jack Anderson and his wife.

The beauty of this style is, I need not know Jack's wife's name. Here, Jack is my friend and I know him.

Personally, I'm quite terrible at names. So, what if I know Julie Watson but don't remember her husband's name? I don't want to sound ignorant and ask Julie about her husband's name (it's embarrassing too!).

I'm now stuck. While writing Mr & Mrs Jack Anderson includes his wife, is there such a way that I can write Julie's name and her husband is included automatically?

What are the possible ways to address Julie and include her husband's name as well?

Mrs & Mr Julie Watson

(Julie's second name after marriage is Watson; it's not her maiden surname. Also, I'm inviting her husband just because he's her husband. He's not a friend of mine! Kinda formality.)


Please mind that I don't want to include all the members (i.e. her in-laws). Or else 'Watsons'' would have worked.

Answers from all cultures are welcomed.

Maulik V

Posted 2016-01-25T06:27:27.130

Reputation: 66 188

6Mr. and Mrs. Watson. – J.R. – 2016-01-25T07:11:09.743

@J.R. I want to include her name. I want Julie's name. – Maulik V – 2016-01-25T07:12:56.157

If Julie's family had a couple of children, in addition to her husband, maybe "Julie and the Watsons" ? Although that sounds like the name of a TV-series title, apart from the obvious reason that is sounds super odd. – Varun Nair – 2016-01-25T07:28:38.687

1It's a little informal, but you can invite Julie Watson (plus one). Or Julie Watson (and guest). – user8399 – 2016-01-25T07:57:58.563



If Julie's children are also invited, you could use Julie Watson and family – In the U.S., at least, that's usually interpreted as "immediately family," i.e., spouse and children.

If it's only the couple you want to invite, you could go with "Mr. and Mrs. Julie Watson." The traditionalists might bristle at that one, but those who are fed up with traditional (and some would say sexist) roles might appreciate your progressive solution.

Note: I looked through a four-page guide on this, and couldn't find my suggested answer there, but I was a little surprised at that.

If you don't feel comfortable going “outside the box,” you have one solution left: Next time you see Julie, ask her what her husband's name is. That goes along with the advice found at this website:

What if I don’t know the person’s name?
Whenever possible, take the time to find out the recipient’s name.

If you're embarrassed that you've forgotten her husband's name, you could maybe tell her that you're just checking the spellings of everyone's names.


Posted 2016-01-25T06:27:27.130

Reputation: 108 123

1Both the traditionalists who think a wife should be Mrs. Jack Anderson, and the progressives who think she deserves her own name might bristle at Mr. and Mrs. Julie Watson. Denying the husband his name isn't an improvement. I much prefer the solution of finding the husband's name, even at the cost of a little embarrassment. Otherwise, you risk being embarrassed at the event, when you need an introduction to him :-P. – Karen – 2016-01-25T14:04:09.417

1@Karen - We agree on the best course of action here. As my initial comment said, I'd simply go with "Mr. and Mrs. Watson.," but the O.P. stipulated that "Julie" is a requirement. – J.R. – 2016-01-25T14:07:52.183

1Yes, no kids. Just the couple. The thing is I know only Julie. I'm inviting her husband just because he's her husband! I don't know him. He's not a friend of mine. Mr and Mrs Julie Watson - if it works, that solves my problem! +1 for that! :) – Maulik V – 2016-01-27T05:01:32.563


British point of view:

Many women nowadays would be annoyed to get an invitation addressed to "Mr and Mrs Jack Anderson". Historically this was the correct usage, as married women were referred to with their husband's first name, e.g. Mrs Jack Anderson. But this is no longer common practice. Normal ways to address them would be:

  • Mr and Mrs Anderson
  • Mr Jack and Mrs Jane Anderson
  • Jack and Jane Anderson

(The exception is royalty. It's correct to refer to the wives of British princes by their husband's name if they're not royal themselves when using the title of Princess. The Duchess of Cambridge is also Princess William of Wales.)

Referring to a man by his wife's first name has never been correct, so "Mrs & Mr Julie Watson" doesn't work. The best option is to ask his name. (It's embarrassing, but it's polite. When I got married I had to ask a lot of people what their spouse's name was.) Second best is not to use first names.

  • Mrs Julie and Mr John Watson
  • Mr and Mrs Watson

As user8399 says, you can also use "Julie Watson and guest". However, this is normally for people whose relationship status you're unsure about. Since you know Julie is married, it's better to face the embarrassment and ask his name.


Posted 2016-01-25T06:27:27.130

Reputation: 6 644

Mr Jack - do we apply the honorific to the first name? I'm afraid it isn't! – Maulik V – 2016-01-25T11:19:06.197

Yes we do. If he wasn't married, you'd just use Mr Jack Anderson. It's probably worth looking up invitation card etiquette for wherever you're sending the invitations, as etiquette can be pretty strange at times and depends on the event and the formality of the event. – ssav – 2016-01-25T11:36:40.650

2Royalty aside, this holds true in the US as well. Ask a mutual acquaintance about the husband's if you're too embarrassed to ask Julie, but getting his name is by far the most polite solution. – Karen – 2016-01-25T13:59:17.640


Mrs. Julie Watson and husband (if you know he is the husband), Mrs. Julie Watson and wife (if you know Mrs. Watson is married to a woman), Mrs. Julie Watson and spouse (if you know Mrs. Watson is married), Mrs. Julie Watson and partner (if you don't know that she is married, but you know there is a partner). However, all these are only Ok if the primary person invited is Mrs. Watson. For example, if you invite your colleagues, the women from your tennis club, etc. , plus partners. Borderline Ok if you are inviting the neighbours, and you talk to Mrs. Watson every day while Mr. Watson spends all his hours at work and is rarely seen.

Mentioned elsewhere: Mrs. Julie Watson and guest if you don't know she has a partner but should be free to bring someone to the party (husband, partner, or her brother or her best friend, whatever).


Posted 2016-01-25T06:27:27.130

Reputation: 2 754


I Think Mr. and Mrs. Watson and family should work fine. If Julie's children are also invited, you could use Julie Watson and family or Watson and family


Posted 2016-01-25T06:27:27.130

Reputation: 101