“Family & Friends” or “Friends & Family” – What Goes First?

When addressing people that are important to us during a speech or when making a statement, we often say “family & friends” or “friends & family.” But is one format of the phrase more correct than the other? Here we discuss the phrases and provide clarity on which one to use.

Is It “Family And Friends” Or “Friends And Family”?

Both “family and friends” and “friends and family” are correct grammatically and there are no specific rules around one being used over the other. It is a matter of preference as to which one you choose. Of the two phrases “friends and family” tends to be slightly more formal.

Family and Friends or Friends and Family

Some people believe that it is more polite to refer to your friends before you refer to your family. Other people would never think of doing anything than referring to family first. Many think that the phrase “friends and family” tends to sound more rhythmic than “family and friends.” There is no written rule to which you should adhere.

How Do I Capitalize “Dear Family And Friends” And “Dear Friends And Family” In A Letter?

When using “Dear Family and Friends” or “Dear Friends and Family” in a letter or wedding invitation, capitalize the words “dear,” “family” and “friends” regardless of the order they appear. This format follows the standard rules for salutations in which you capitalize the first word and any proper nouns.

Although “friends” and “family” are not technically proper nouns, in this salutation they take the place of a proper noun. For example, if you were addressing a letter with the salutation “Dear Mike and Sarah,” both names would be capitalized. In this salutation, the words “friends” and “family” are substitutes for the names.

It is also a very formal greeting, so it should follow the formal rules for capitalization. A less formal salutation may not have to follow the rules so strictly.

Also, note that you do not capitalize the word “and” in the salutation. The word “and” is never capitalized in the English Language unless it is at the beginning of a sentence.

Here is an example of how this salutation might be used in a wedding invitation:

  • Dear Friends and Family,
  • We respectfully ask that you join us in celebrating our marriage on Saturday, the twenty-sixth of June, two thousand and twenty-two. The ceremony will take place at 3:00 in the afternoon.
  • With Love,
  • Alicia and Kenneth

Is “Family And Friends” Or “Friends And Family” Used The Most?

The general phrase “family and friends” is used more often than the phrase “friends and family” in the English Language. However, for a formal salutation (such as a letter or a speech), the phrase “Dear Friends and Family” is used more often than the phrase “Dear Family and Friends.”

The Google Ngram Viewer here shows the usage of the phrases “family and friends” and “friends and family.” This preference has been the same throughout most of history and the usage of both phrases started to rise dramatically starting around the late-1980s and early-1990s.

friends and family or family and friends english usage

This Google Ngram Viewer compares “Dear Family and Friends” with “Dear Friends and Family.” As you can see the preferred version is “Dear Friends and Family.” However, the large distinction between the two phrases is relatively modern. Up until the year 1990, the phrases were used at pretty much the same rate.

dear friends and family or dear family and friends english usage

Is It “Friend’s And Family’s” Or “Friends And Family’s”?

The phrase “friend’s and family’s” is incorrect unless you are specifically referring to just one friend. When referring to more than one friend, the phrase “friends and family’s” can be used, as can the version “friends’ and family’s.”

Keep in mind that the use of the phrases “friends and family’s” or “friends’ and family’s” can only be used in certain contexts when you need to show possession. They are not the phrases to use in a general salutation within a letter.

Here are some examples of times when “friends and family’s” or “friends’ and family’s” could be used:

  • The friends and family’s cars are all parked on the lower deck.
  • The friends’ and family’s gifts will be collected at the end of the reception.
  • The friends and family’s attendance adds joy to the overall event.
  • The friends and family’s tables are on the left side of the room.
  • The friends and family’s speeches were the highlight of the night.

Other Ways To Say “Friends And Family”

If you want to be more general in your greeting or are not sure which version of the phrase you prefer to use, there are other options that you can use to address “friends and family.”

  • Loved ones
  • Nearest and dearest
  • Relatives and friends
  • Kith and kin (old fashioned version)
  • Dear All