Helpful Hints for Addressing Your Wedding Invitations
This handy guide is prepared to help make the addressing and assembly of your wedding invitations as easy as 1 - 2 - 3.
Addressing Etiquette and Tips
Make an organized guest list with full names, addresses and zip codes. Getting organized is easier than ever today with great software packages, internet sites, binder systems or even note cards to keep track of all of your guests. You can then use this list to send Save-the-Date notices, your invitations, announcements and thank you notes. (Helpful Hint: Assign a number to your guests at the beginning. Print this secret number, lightly in pencil or an invisible ink pen, on the back of your response cards. If your guests forget to write their name on the line, you will know who is responding.)
Your invitation envelopes are traditionally addressed by hand or by a calligrapher. These are the preferred choices for addressing, but brides do tell us that they are using software on their home computers to address their envelopes. Return addresses printed on envelopes are usually printed in "raised ink" to match your invitation. Home printers that generate heat may melt the "raised ink" and potentially damage your printer. Please be careful!
Traditionally, two envelopes are used for wedding invitations and announcements. The inner envelope, which may be plain or lined in a color to coordinate your ensemble, is without glue and remains unsealed. A band around these envelopes states that these are not to be addressed. It is used to enclose the invitation or announcement and any accompanying cards. It also makes sure that your invitation itself is delivered in an envelope without post office markings. The outer envelope has a glued flap and is used for the complete mailing address. The guest's full name is always used on the outer envelope with the street address:
Mr. and Mrs. Laurence Sutton
908 South Main Street
Hingham, Massachusetts 02043
Nicknames or abbreviations should be avoided when possible except for Mr., Mrs., Dr., Jr., etc. and for military rank. You may use an initial if you do not know the full name or if the person never uses their given name. Cities, states, and numbered streets are written out in full. Remember to include zip codes. Your local post office can help you find any zip codes you are missing if you do not have internet access. The U.S. Post Office website www.usps.com is easy to use.
The inner envelope always carries the last names only with no address:
Mr. and Mrs. Sutton
The phrase "and family" should be avoided. If you wish to include younger children, they should be mentioned by first name, according to age, on the line following that of their parents:
Mr. and Mrs. Sutton
Mark, Cynthia, Thomas
These names should appear on the inner envelope only. The outer envelope would simply be addressed to the parents. You should avoid writing "No Children" on the invitation or envelope. This should be handled verbally, if you feel someone needs this clarified.
Dates of single guests should be sent a separate invitation or you may wish to enclose a personal note in the invitation of a single guest saying, "Please bring a guest" or "Please bring Miss Marie Quinn".
Two unmarried people who reside at the same address may be sent a single invitation. Their names would appear on separate lines in alphabetic order:
Ms. Roberta Trent
Mr. Robert Williamson
This same format may be used when inviting a married couple, if the wife has kept her maiden name or uses a professional title.
In addressing clergy, military officers and medical doctors, always use their titles in full:
The Right Reverend William Prentice
Colonel and Mrs. Quinlan Roberts
Doctor and Mrs. Martin Swift
The Doctors Swift
Your return address should be printed, written, or embossed on the flap of your outer envelope. This ensures that any invitation can be returned to you with an address that is incorrect or for any other reason.
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