Sending an envelope to a person is a breeze, all you need is their name and you are ready to go. On the other hand, sending an envelope to a whole family is something different. There are many different ways to send an envelope to an entire family, each with its own nuances to consider. Although no process is too complicated, understanding when and how to use each can be very helpful if you want to be formal about it. To get started, read the first step!
Method 1 of 3: Use the family's last name
Step 1. Write “Family (Last)” at the top
When you want to send an envelope to a whole family instead of just one person, you have two options: you can use the family's last name to represent it or send an envelope specifically to some or all of the family members. You have to start with the first option. The easiest way to send an envelope to an entire family is to simply write “Family (Last)” as the first line. This is a good way to communicate in a not very formal way; however, it would not be wise to use this method to send an important envelope such as wedding invitations.
- For example, if we were to send a letter to Tim Jones and Janet de Jones, and their children Emma and Pedro, we would have to send the envelope to The Jones family.
Step 2. Use the article that accompanies the family name in plural
As an alternative to the above, it is also acceptable to simply use the article that accompanies the family name in plural as the first line on the envelope. In this case, the plural of the family surname is “Los”, this is how “Los Rodríguez”, “Los García”, etc. will be.
- This paragraph and the next are exclusive for the English language. Don't fall into the trap of using apostrophes here. Apostrophes are used to indicate possession, not to use a plural word, so you should not use them in the plural form of the family name. Most family surnames simply need an "s" at the end to become plural; however, there are family names that end in "s". "Sh" or "x", in these cases you must add "es" at the end (example: Rosses, Foxes, Welshes).
- If we follow the previous example, if we are going to write a letter to the Jones family, in addition to using “The Jones family” as the first line of the envelope, we can simply use its plural form “Joneses”.
Step 3. Fill the rest of the envelope as normal
Regardless of the method you use for the first line on the envelope, the rest of the information is written as if it were for any other letter. Under the family's last name, write the address. In the first line, the name and number of the street; In the second line, write the city or province, the postal code, etc. If you are sending the letter to another country, write the name of the country on a fourth line, separate from the rest of the address. Write your address in the same way in the upper left corner of the envelope. For more information, read the article How to write an address on an envelope.
- For example, in the Jones family example, the envelope should look like this:
- The Jones Family (or "The Joneses")
- 21 Jump Street
- (city), CA, 98765
- As a general rule of thumb, whenever you send an envelope to an entire family, the first line of the envelope is what you should change. The address must remain intact. In the following methods, it is assumed that the lines used for the address should be written normal.
Method 2 of 3: Use the last name of each specific family member
Step 1. Start with the parents' last names and titles
When sending an envelope to a whole family, in addition to using the family's last name to refer to all its members, you can also name some or all of them individually. This method is useful for letters such as wedding invitations where it is important to specify who the letter is addressed to. To start, on the first line of the envelope, write the parents' last names. In most cases, you will need to write their titles ("Mr. and Mrs.", "Dr.", "Judge", etc., they are mostly used for a formal or professional context).
- For example, if we are going to invite the Jones family to a housewarming party, we can write the parents' last name on the first line: Mr. and Mrs. Jones.
- For those who speak the English language, it is also accepted to use the traditional way of writing to a partner, where the full name of the husband works for both: Mr. and Mrs. Tim Jones
- Finally, you can also write the full name of the husband or wife without titles: Tim and Janet Jones. The above expression is used in an informal context, as using the first name instead of the person's title can be seen as disrespectful if you don't know them well.
Step 2. Continue with the names of a son or daughter
On the next line, name the children who are under 18 and dependent on their parents. You can use the family's last name once you finish naming all the children (for example: David, Carla and Gabriela Rodríguez) or you can leave it without last names (for example: David, Carla and Gabriela). If you know the age of the children, name them starting from oldest to youngest.
- For example, in the example of the invitation to a party, the children's names are written below the parents' names, like this: Emma and Pedro. This means that the first two lines of the envelope should look like this:
- Mr. and Mrs. Jones
- Emma and Pedro
Step 3. Another alternative would be to write the family name followed by "and family"In case you don't know the names of any children, it is acceptable to refer to the children collectively. In this case, on the second line (instead of writing the children's names), write “and family”. You could also use "and children" to make your intention more noticeable.
- In the example, you could replace the names "Emma and Pedro" with the phrase "and family" or "and children", if you forget their names. In this case, the first two lines of the envelope should look like this:
- Mr. and Mrs. Jones
- and sons
Step 4. Omit the children's names if the letter is not addressed to them
In the examples above, it is assumed that the letter is addressed to the entire family. If not, name the primary recipients on the first line, then proceed immediately to address without using the second line to name additional family members.
- If, for example, you only want to invite the parents of the Jones family to the party, you only use Mr. and Mrs. Jones without naming a son.
Step 5. Send separate letters to children who are over 18 years old
If there is a child in the family who is over 18 years old (or the age of majority in the recipient's community), send those children their own letter apart from the one you will send to their parents. Receiving a letter is a sign of maturity. Although they are minor details, it can be perceived as disrespectful to be invited by letter to a party to which parents are also invited.
Method 3 of 3: Use an Inner Envelope and an Outer Envelope
Step 1. Send the outer envelope only to parents
Some letters wait for a response from the recipient. In situations like that, a small envelope is included inside the outer envelope (where the address to which the response goes is written). If you send a letter like this, it is worth bearing in mind that the inner and outer envelopes are sent a little differently when the recipient is the entire family. To get started, send the outer envelope (the one containing the letter and the small envelope) "only" with the names of the parents or the names of the heads of the family.
- For the outer envelope, write the names of the parents as mentioned above. For example, if you invite the entire Jones family to your marriage, just write the names of the parents on the outer envelope: Mr. and Mrs. Jones or Tim and Janet Jones.
Step 2. Send the inner envelope to all recipients
For the inner envelope, the rules differ a bit. If you are requesting a response from each family member (for example, if you are inviting the whole family to your wedding), write the parents' names on the first line of the envelope and the children's names on the next line. However, if you request a response from the parents, you should only write their names on the first line of the envelope and then write the address and so on.
- Note that the instructions for the inner envelope refer to the return address. It is clear that the main address (where the envelope is sent) is yours or that of a competent body, business, a company, a PO box, etc.
- In the wedding invitation example, if an entire family is invited, the return address on the inner envelope should have the parents' names on the first line and the children's names on the next. The first two lines of the inner envelope should look like this:
- Mr. and Mrs. Jones
- Emma and Pedro
Step 3. Include a stamp in the return envelope
Regardless of who you expect an answer from, it is a courtesy to pre-stamp your return letters. Stamps are relatively inexpensive, so including a stamp is more a sign of respect and care than a financial aspect; however, it is best to avoid a misstep, so take the time to send a stamp in the return envelope.