Protocol Tuesday: How to Use "Dr." or "PhD" on an Invitation?
by Robert Hickey
Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Dear Robert:

Would you please clarify for me, if a person holds a PhD, should his or her name be Doctor (name) on a wedding invitation? Or (Name), PhD ? Is this true for the father of the bride? The groom? Is the rule for names on wedding invitations and wedding envelopes different that the guidelines for social correspondence?

-- Beverly Russell, Winchester, Virginia


Dear Ms. Russell:


Wedding invitations and their envelopes are social correspondence, and follow the standard rules for social correspondence. One rule is ... post-nominals aren't used on social correspondence. Holders of academic doctorates working in academia and research usually prefer to be addressed as Dr. (name) socially. Holders of academic doctorates working outside of academia and research ... in corporate and business ... usually don't. E.g., holder of a doctorate in finance who works at a bank probably doesn't request to be addressed Dr. (name). An attorney with a doctor in jurisprudence won’t insist on being addressed as Dr. (name). But guessing won’t get you the right answer. The key for PhD’s is to find the preference of the bearer. It's not up to either of us to decide if someone with a PhD is or is not addressed as Dr. (name). If that's what he or she prefers I will go along with it. A person's name belongs to them.

-- Robert Hickey

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