When Doctors Marry

Lately I have been getting email with questions about addressing married doctors:

What is the proper way to address a letter to a husband and wife who are both doctors?

If a married doctor couple has the same last name, what goes on the envelope?

What if the doctors have different last names?

What if the wife is a doctor and the husband is not?

I checked The Gregg Reference Manual (Gregg) for "official" responses. Shown below are Gregg-approved answers, along with places where I would deviate from the recommended format.

1. If the doctors have the same surname, use this style for the envelope, inside address, and greeting:

Dr. Angel Espinoza
Dr. Marguerite Espinoza

Dear Drs. Espinoza:

Gregg stipulates the style above. However, I believe it would be perfectly acceptable to use this style on the envelope and inside address:

Drs. Angel and Marguerite Espinoza

I personally like both names on one line for a married couple, but if you need a reference manual to support your decision, use the Gregg approach of one name above the other.

2. If the husband and wife have different surnames, Gregg recommends this style:

Dr. Angel Espinoza
Dr. Marguerite Gordon 

Dear Dr. Espinoza and Dr. Gordon:

Once again, because the vertical list has a sense of separation, I would type both names on one line. I also like one professional title rather than two:

Drs. Angel Espinoza and Marguerite Gordon

Dear Drs. Espinoza and Gordon:

3. If the wife is a doctor and the husband is not, do this:

Dr. Pitta Moussa
Mr. James Gomes

Dear Dr. Moussa and Mr. Gomes:

Or do this:

Dr. Nicole Cillo
Mr. Leon Cillo

Dear Dr. and Mr. Cillo:

These posts cover other challenges in letter greetings: Advice on Special Salutations and Salutations in Letters and Email.

I have described the accepted style in the United States. If styles differ in your country, please let me know.

Lynn

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