In this sectionAssembling Envelopes Address Formatting The Reception Print This Page

t is considered to be proper wedding etiquette to hand address your envelopes. I hope the following will be helpful to you when preparing your guest list. If you are only using an outer envelope, all the guests names must appear on the envelope. Follow the etiquette for the outer envelope and add those that would traditionally appear on the inner envelope to the outer. Use the same format as if they were on the inner envelope.

Envelope Etiquette

Assembling Envelopes

Assemble in size order. Start with the invitation and then stack the enclosure cards on top (not inside) in the following order if possible. The reception card goes first (face-up); then the reply envelope, (face-down); slip the reply card face-up beneath the flap of the reply envelope; then if used, the at home card, direction card, accommodation card and lastly the pew card. Place the stack in the inner envelope with the folded edge of the invitation at the bottom of the envelope. (The right-hand side of the invitation should be closest to the flap.) The copy faces the back of the envelope. You should be able to remove the invitation with your right hand and be able to read it with out turning it.

With double envelopes, the inner envelope containing the invitation and enclosures goes into the larger outer envelope. The unsealed flap should be at the top, but facing away from the recipient. When the outer envelope is opened, the names on the front of the inner envelope should face the recipient.

Tissues

Tissues can either be left in or removed, they were once used to prevent smudging. If you are using them, they should be placed directly on top of each card to which they correspond.

Outer Envelope

This is the mailing envelope. Guests' names and addresses should be either hand written or written in calligraphy on the face of the envelope.

Abbreviations

Do not use abbreviations or symbols. Spell out all words - titles (except for Mr., Mrs., and Ms.) academic titles such as 'Professor' or 'Doctor' are not considered appropriate for social gatherings. Street, Drive, Avenue and names of States should be spelled out in full. Use 'and' instead of &. The calligrapher will use an & if space is an issue.

Return Address

The sender's address should appear on the back flap, their names should not appear. An Apartment number may appear as below:

Apartment 2E
312 Fifth Avenue
New York, New York 10028

312 Fifth Avenue, Apartment 2E
New York, New York 10028

Inner Envelope

This envelope tells you which members of the house-hold are invited to the wedding. Only surnames and titles are used. Children under the age of eighteen are listed from oldest to youngest using their given names. Children eighteen and over residing at the same address as their parents should receive their own invitation. Avoid using 'and family'.

Escorts and Guests

It is not good etiquette to include 'and guest' on the outer envelope. Correct etiquette requires that you call and find out the name and address of your friends' guest and then you send them their own invitation. It is also acceptable to include their name on the same envelope as your friends'. If it is not possible to get this information you may use 'and guest' for a male guest or 'and escort' for a female guest. 'Guest' and 'escort' are written in lower case letters.

Married Couples

Outer Envelope Inner Envelope
Mr. and Mrs. John Brown Mr. and Mrs. Brown

with Children Under Eighteen at Home

Outer Envelope Inner Envelope
Mr. and Mrs. John Brown Mr. and Mrs. Brown
Susan and Evan

with Two Daughters Over Eighteen Living at Home

Outer Envelope Inner Envelope
The Misses Brown
or
Miss Susan Brown
Miss Karen Brown
The Misses Brown
 
The Misses Brown

with Two Sons Over Eighteen Living at Home

Outer Envelope Inner Envelope
The Messrs. Brown
or
Mr. Evan Brown
Mr. Martin Brown
The Messrs. Brown
 
The Messrs. Brown

with a Son and Daughter Living at Home

Outer Envelope Inner Envelope
Miss Susan Brown
Mr. Evan Brown
Miss Brown
Mr. Brown

when the Woman has Kept Her Maiden Name

Outer Envelope Inner Envelope
Ms. Mary Jones
and Mr. John Brown
Ms. Jones
and Mr. Brown

when the Woman has Kept Her Maiden Name

Outer Envelope Inner Envelope
Ms. Mary Jones
and Mr. John Brown
Ms. Jones
and Mr. Brown

when the Man is a Doctor

Outer Envelope Inner Envelope
Doctor and Mrs. John Brown Doctor and Mrs. Brown

when Both are Doctors

Outer Envelope Inner Envelope
Doctor and Mrs. John Brown
or
The Doctors Brown
or
Doctor Mary Brown
and Doctor John Brown
Doctor and Mrs. Brown
or
The Doctors Brown
 
The Doctors Brown

when the Woman is a Doctor

Outer Envelope Inner Envelope
Mr. and Mrs. John Brown
or
Doctor Mary Brown
and Mr. John Brown
Mr. and Mrs. Brown
or
Doctor Brown
and Mr. Brown

Unmarried Couple Living Together

Outer Envelope Inner Envelope
Miss or Ms. Mary Martin
Mr. John Brown
Miss or Ms. Martin
Mr. Brown

Divorced Woman

Outer Envelope Inner Envelope
Mrs. or Ms. Mary Martin Brown Mrs. or Ms. Brown

Divorced Woman using Maiden Name

Outer Envelope Inner Envelope
Ms. Mary Martin Ms. Martin

Widow

Outer Envelope Inner Envelope
Mrs. John Brown Mrs. Brown

Single Woman

Outer Envelope Inner Envelope
Miss or Ms. Mary Martin Miss or Ms. Martin

Single Woman and Date

Outer Envelope Inner Envelope
Miss or Ms. Mary Martin Miss or Ms. Martin and escort or guest

Single Man

Outer Envelope Inner Envelope
Mr. John Brown Mr. Brown

Single Man and Date

Outer Envelope Inner Envelope
Mr. John Brown Mr. Brown and guest

Mailing Wedding Invitations

Mail invitations six to eight weeks before the wedding. Take a stuffed envelope, with all the enclosures, to the post office ahead of time to determine postage. Choose your stamps at this time. Let your calligrapher know how your stamps will fit on the envelope as this will affect the layout of the address.

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The Reception

For table or escort cards and seating cards names will be centred.

Table cards also known as escort cards and envelopes are placed on a table outside the reception hall. They tell your guests which table they are seated at. The guests' names go on the front page of the envelope — title and surname. If there is more than one guest with the same surname and title add a first name. The card has the table number written on it. Cards can be switched between envelopes if the seating arrangements have to be changed at the last moment. I usually do extra cards for tables where there might be changes.

Place or Seating Cards

Place or seating cards are small cards traditionally white or ecru that are placed at the place settings to tell the guests where to sit. Folded place cards also known as tent cards stand on their own, flat place cards may be set against the water glass or placed in an appropriate holder. Your place cards should match your menu cards. Put your guest's title, given name and surname on the place card.

Mr. John Brown

If you have further questions on etiquette please consult the Crane's Blue Book of Stationery or other etiquette books.

For information on how to present your lists for the reception please visit the important information page.

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