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HOW TO ADDRESS YOUR ENVELOPES
We have put together this guide to help answer your questions pertaining to invitation preparation. We used Crane's Wedding Blue Book as a general guide for addressing criteria, but over time, some rules of etiquette have become more relaxed. How you choose to address your envelopes is the final word. Your invitation should reflect your personal style and that of the event. To help you get started, here are a few customary guidelines to go by:
 
The inner envelope, which contains the invitation, is placed in the mailing or "outer" envelope (which has a gummed flap). The outer envelope is usually addressed by hand or digital calligraphy service. For formal invitations especially, please does not use address labels!
 
The first line of the address is the title line; this is where the guest name appears. Formal first names should always be used (i.e. Robert as opposed to Rob). A second title line may be used for another guest name; otherwise, it contains the street address or post office box. The third line contains the city and province (or state). If an apartment or building number cannot fit on the street address line, an additional line can be added between the street address and city / state line. The number should be preceded by the words "Apartment" or "Building". Abbreviations should be avoided. The words Post Office Box, Street, Avenue, Drive, etc. and East, West, North and South should be spelled out as well as the name of the city and province (or state). Single digit street numbers should be spelled out (i.e. One, Two, Three, etc...). Street Names that are numbers can be written two ways - 94 East 4th Street or 94 East Fourth Street. Unless your envelopes are unusually large, it is a good idea to not exceed five lines in your address, as they tend to start looking a bit messy with any additional lines.
 
TITLES
Everyone has a title. In the case of such titles as Mr., Mrs., Ms., and Dr., abbreviations can and should be used. Use Mr., Mrs., and Ms. accordingly. In the case of judges (Honorable), the clergy (Rabbi, Reverend, etc.), political figures (Governor, Mayor, etc.), and those in the military (Lieutenant, General, etc.), I strongly suggest using the full title but abbreviations are also accepted for these (Sen. John Doe, Hon. John Doe, Prof. John Doe, and Brig. Gen. John Doe). The word "and" should be spelled out unless you are using a script that contains a lovely flourished ampersand (&).
 
Married couples should be addressed as Mr. and Mrs. John Doe. Should the wife have retained her single maiden name after marriage, or if she uses a hyphenated last name, the address should read Mr. John Doe and Mrs. Jane Smith or Mr. John Doe and Mrs. Jane Smith-Doe.
 
Use a comma before Sr. or Jr. as Mr. John Doe, Jr. but never use a comma before II, III. Always spell out Reverend and Honorable when preceded by "The" as in The Reverend John Doe or The Reverend Father John Doe. Abbreviate Rev. and Hon. when used with a persons full name. Never use The Rev. Doe or Rev. Doe. Spell out Rabbi as in Rabbi David Mark Feldman. The inside envelopes may be less formal by using Father John or Rabbi Feldman.
 
When both husband and wife are identically degreed, use Drs. John and Jane Doe or The Doctors Doe. In the case of a married couple and the wife is a doctor the title should read Dr. Jane Doe and Mr. John Doe. If the husband were the doctor, the correct title would be Dr. and Mrs. John Doe. In a dual title, use Reverend Dr. John Doe or Rev. Dr. John Doe or Rev. Dr. Doe. On the inside envelope, use only Reverend Doe, omitting the Dr. title.
 
A final word on Titles - if you are having an informal affair it is perfectly acceptable to omit the titles all together and just use first names, such as John and Jane Doe. This little tidbit of advice appeared in Martha Stewarts "Weddings" magazine; therefore, if Martha Stewart is your 'cup-of-tea', it is entirely up to you which method you prefer.
 
Unmarried Couples Living Together
Unmarried couples living together can be written as Ms. Jane Doe and Mr. John Smith on one line. Alternatively, the "and" may be omitted by placing the second name on a separate line. The person with the closest relationship to the sender should appear first. If both persons have an equal relationship to the sender, the names should be placed alphabetically by last name.
 
Children
The names of children may be omitted from the outside envelope if an inner envelope is used. The inner envelope is where you would list individual children's names or add "and Family". If no inner envelope is being used, you can use the second line of the address on the outer envelope for children's names. Try not to use "and Family" if an inner envelope is not being used - use each child’s name. It is not necessary to use titles for the children's names. If titles are used for children, boys should be addressed as either Mr. or Master, and girls addressed as Miss (no period after the title of Miss, as it is not an abbreviation). Names of children should appear in the order of their ages, the eldest first. Children of guests that are 18 or older should receive separately addressed invitations.
 
Single / Widowed
In the case of single females, a good rule of thumb is to use Miss for those under the age of 18 and if they have never been married. Use Ms. for those who are 18 or over or are divorced or separated. Mrs. is used for those who are widowed; you may use her own first name or her husband’s first name along with her married last name, but the best rule of thumb is to try to use what the individual prefers to be called. In the case of those who are divorced, use their own first name, not the former husband's first name even though they retain their married last name, such as Mrs. Jane Doe or Ms. Jane Doe.
If you are inviting a single to bring a guest, the outside envelope should not say "and Guest", the inside envelope should say "Ms. Mary Jane and Guest (or the guests’ name)". Try to find out the name of the guest, otherwise write "and Guest".
 
INSIDE / INNER ENVELOPE
The guest name should be written as "Mr. and Mrs. Jones" or "Mr. and Mrs. Jones, Jack and Jill" (unlike the outer or mailing envelope which would be "Mr. and Mrs. Jack Jones"). It is also acceptable to use family or first names on the inside envelope in cases where the recipients are close friends or family (i.e. Uncle Bob and Aunt Alice, or Jennifer and Ken.) Do not include the address on the inner envelope. If you are inviting children, their names should appear on the inner envelope only and in the order of their ages, the eldest first. The way you write the guest's name on the inner envelope generally indicates your preference for the number of people in that guest's party. If you want to invite the children, put their names on the inner envelope. Do not write "and family" on the outer envelope. If your guests have children and their names are not on the inner envelope, it should be understood that they are not invited.
 
NO INSIDE / INNER ENVELOPE
If you are not using an inner envelope, the way you write the guest's name on the outer envelope generally indicates your preference for the number of people in that guest's party. For example, "Mr. and Mrs. Jack Jones" means husband and wife but no children. If you are inviting children, it should say "Mr. and Mrs. Jack Jones" on the first line and "Melanie and Michael Jones" or "Miss Melanie and Mr. Michael Jones" on the second line. The children’s names should appear in the order of their ages, the eldest first. For single guests invited with a guest, it should say “Ms. Mary Jane and Guest”
 

HOW TO PREPARE YOUR LIST FOR DIGITAL CALLIGRAPHY

Type the addresses exactly as you would like them to appear on the envelopes. Spell out the city and province (or state). Type each line on its own line and separate each complete address with an extra line space.
If there are inner envelopes, names should be sent on a separate list. A blank line should separate what appears on each inner envelope.
For table cards, please type the guests’ name on one line, then the table number (write out the word table if you want it to appear) on the second line. Separate each name by one blank line.
 
Before finalizing your list, please re-read every address to make sure that it is correct. The way the addresses are received is the way it will be printed.
 
Please prepare your address list in a word document as follows:
 
Mr. and Mrs. First and Last Names
Street address
(Additional address line if needed)
City, Province (or State)
Postal (Zip) Code
(Country only if it is not North America)
                                                                 <----- blank space between addresses
Ms. Name One & Mr. Name Two
Additional Names
Street address
(Additional address line if needed)
City, Province (or State)
Postal (Zip) Code
(Country only if it is not North America)
 
 

STUFFING & PREPARING YOUR ENVELOPES


For the most part, invitations are assembled in size order. The invitation itself is first. The enclosure cards are stacked on top of the invitations, not inside. The reception card is placed on top of the invitation. The reply envelope is then placed face down on the reception card. Do not forget to put a stamp on the reply envelope, and make sure to put an appropriate stamp on the reply envelope of invitations being sent abroad (you can only buy American stamps in the US). The reply card is slipped face up beneath the flap of the reply envelope. These are the most frequently used enclosures. Any other enclosures are added face up in size order (usually dinner / brunch card, direction card, accommodation card, etc...).
The invitation and its enclosures are placed into the inner envelope with the left side of the invitation at the bottom of the envelope and the printing facing the back of the envelope. You can tell whether or not you stuffed the envelope correctly by removing the invitation with your right hand. If you can read the invitation without turning it, it was stuffed correctly.
 
Once stuffed, the inside envelope is inserted into the outside envelope. The front of the inside envelope faces the back of the outside envelope. If you are not using inside envelopes, follow the sample procedure but place the invitation and any other enclosures directly into the outer envelope.
 
*Please do not use a glue stick to seal your envelopes. Use a damp sponge to moisten the glue line on the flap.
 



INVITATION ETIQUETTE

Your invitations and accessories set the tone for your special event firmly establishing your style and taste. It is the first official message about the event, which a guest will receive from you, so make it special. Begin by deciding the style of the event, if you want formal, traditional or contemporary and then chose the invitation to match.


Etiquette for Social Invitations:
• Social Invitations should include the date (including the day of the week), time and location (recommended in that order).
• According to etiquette, shower invitations should not have registration information. However, for convenience, it has become acceptable.
• As a courtesy, a name should accompany the R.S.V.P. (it’s nice to have a name when calling to reply) or you can use “Regrets only” and also consider a date to reply by. The word “please” is not necessary, as it is included in R.S.V.P..
• Special occasion invitations (Christening, Baptism, Confirmation, Bar Mitzvah, etc.) should be sent 4 weeks before the R.S.V.P. date.
• When the guest of honour does not want to receive gifts, a nice way of saying that on an invitation is “Your presence is gift enough” or plainly “No gifts please”. Please know that your guests may be uncomfortable and still bring you a gift.
• Theme parties usually require some extra planning on the guest’s part (dressing up, extra items to bring etc.). Be sure to include that information on your invitation.
• If you are having a shower, we suggest including the word “shower” on your invitation so that it is clear to guests, rather than stating it as a celebration or party.

Etiquette for Wedding & Formal Event Invitations:

• A good guideline to follow is to avoid abbreviations, such as street addresses, cities or states.
• The date, time and year should be spelled out.
• If your wedding is before noon, it is considered morning. If it is between noon and 5:59 p.m., it is considered afternoon. Evening hours begin after 6:00 p.m.
• Postal/zip codes are not typically included on a wedding invitation or reception card.
• When sending a reply set with an invitation, as a courtesy to your guest, we recommend you send the envelope already stamped - if your guest if from a different country, do not use local stamps. Canadians sending invitations to the US must buy US stamps for the their American guests’ RSVP envelopes, and vice versa. If you are sending invitations overseas, it is not necessary to stamp their envelopes, but always a nice gesture. If you put a reply by date on your Response cards, it is suggested to make that date 3-4 weeks before the event.
• The bride’s family or the bride typically takes the replies for the wedding, as well as the return address on the envelope.
• On wedding invitations, “the honour of your presence” is reserved for ceremonies held on sanctified grounds (i.e., church, temple, synagogue, etc.) It is recommend to use, “the pleasure of your company” when the wedding takes place outside of religious grounds.
• Don’t forget to include reception cards, response sets and thank you notes (informals) in your calculations along with additional trousseau items like place cards, table cards, menu cards and so forth.



Invitation Ordering Information

When to order
Order your invitations as soon as your date, time and place have been confirmed! Three months before the ceremony is the minimum, but the earlier the better. The more time you give yourself, the less harried you'll feel and the more carefully you'll make decisions. Give your calligrapher a month to address your envelopes, and then you need enough time to assemble, and stamp the invitations and reply envelopes.

How Many to Order
To calculate the number of invitations to order, count one invitation for each of the following:
• Couple (married or living together)
• Family with children under 18
• Each child 18 years old or older and still living at home
• Single guest
• Invited boy/girl friend of a guest (if they do not live together)
• Remember to add one for the guest(s) of honour, the clergy, the videographer or photographer (so you’ll have pictures of the invitation), etc...

For wedding invitations, we suggest ordering 15% extra

For Social Invitations, we suggest ordering 5% extra


When to Mail Your Invitations:
We recommend mailing social invitations 3-4 weeks prior to the event.

We recommend mailing Wedding invitations 6-8 weeks prior to the wedding.

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