gay etiquette

How to Address an Invitation to a Gay Couple Who Have Been Together 20 Years

How to address an invitation to a gay couple who have been together for twenty years sounds simple at first.

However, I discovered this afternoon on my way back from the mailbox it’s a lot harder than I thought it was.

Whenever someone in Tony’s family sends us an invitation it’s always addressed this way:

Mr. Tony Smith and Mr. Ryan Field (Tony doesn’t want his last name online, so Smith is not his real name.)

That’s the right way to do it. No problems there. And that’s why I love Tony’s family so much. We aren’t actually a Mr. and Mr. because gay marriage is not federally recognized. So they acknowledge us both by name and keep it simple.

Most of the people in my family get it right most of the time. But every now and then there’s one who just doesn’t get it.

I received a wedding invitation today and it was addressed this way:

Mr. Ryan Field and Guest

I stared at it and thought, “and fucking GUEST?” This is someone who has met us and been to our home, not a DISTANT relative. This is someone well over thirty who should know better and either didn’t bother to find out how to do it or didn’t give a damn. And either way, that’s an insult.

Not to mention the fact that I’m not sure whether this family member is inviting Tony and I as a couple, or just me and whoever the hell I want to bring…to a wedding…something we aren’t legally allowed to do.

Tony and I really don’t think about the political issues with things like this. It’s a wedding and we’re thrilled to be invited, especially for a family member. But at least have the decency not to refer to my partner of 20 years as my guest.

Mr. Ryan Field and Mr. Tony Smith would have worked. I wouldn’t feel the need to purposely RSVP three weeks late now.

And that’s how you address an invitation to a gay couple who have been together for 20 years.