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How To Address Your Wedding Envelopes

Whether you’re addressing your envelopes yourself, or hiring a calligrapher (like us!), determining the proper way to address your envelopes can seem overwhelming. Yes, there is proper etiquette as to how you should address your wedding envelopes. But don’t worry, we’re here to help.

Your envelopes are the first thing your guests will see as part of your invitation suite, and therefore should be both beautiful and clear. You may have questions such as, which person should be listed first on the envelope? Or, what if I’d like single guests to have plus-ones?

There are really just a few things you need to know that will help ensure your envelopes follow proper etiquette. And if you think common etiquette doesn’t matter, remember that the way a guest’s envelope is addressed is the signal to them about who is invited. Writing “Mr. John Smith” means that only he is invited to the wedding, while “Mr. John Smith and Guest” means that he is able to bring a plus-one. But the most important thing to remember with envelope addressing is that it should be consistent throughout, and should speak to the tone of your wedding. 

As a note, very formal wedding invitation suites come with both inner and outer envelopes. The outer envelope almost always uses titles and is more formal, while the inner envelope is more informal, often leaving out titles and last names. We’ve found that most of our clients prefer only one envelope and we’ve written these guidelines as such. Additionally, formal etiquette states that abbreviations other than titles should not be used (meaning states and street extensions are written out and ampersands are never used) but we find this a bit restrictive, and tell clients that as long as abbreviations are consistent with the return address and the invitation, they are perfectly acceptable.

Names

If you’re having a traditional wedding, using titles (like “Mr.” and “Mrs.”) is expected. For ladies, “Mrs.” is reserved for married women, “Miss” is for unmarried women, and “Ms.” can be used for either (though often unmarried women over a certain age find “Miss” too youthful and prefer “Ms.”). For any female guest where the marital status is unknown, “Ms.” should be used. Excluding titles typically would denote a more informal gathering, but we’re seeing a trend with couples getting really creative and personal with addressing. Here are a few different ways you may choose to have your names read:

  • Mr. John & Mrs. Michelle Smith
  • Mr. & Mrs. John Smith
  • Mr. & Mrs. Smith
  • John & Michelle Smith
  • John & Michelle

See? You never thought about how many ways there are to write a set of names! Think about the tone of your event to determine which style makes most sense for your envelopes. A backyard wedding may be better with first names only, while a black tie event might speak more towards full names with titles. But again, this is up to what you think is best!

Additionally, you may have a preference on using “and” or “&”. Traditionally, “and” is written out instead of the abbreviated version which is an ampersand “&”. However, we think an ampersand is a great design element, especially on hand lettered envelopes, and we’re all for them. Again, the key here is to choose which format you like, and then to keep it consistent for every envelope.

Different Name Types

Not every one of your guest envelopes will include the names of a married couple. So what happens with the other variations? Again, consistency is key here, so if you’ve decided to use full names and titles, keep that going with every name variation you encounter.

Couple with different last names
For a married couple, list the male first. For unmarried or same-sex couples, list the person you are closest with first.

  • Mr. John Smith & Mrs. Michelle Jones (married)
  • Ms. Michelle Jones & Mr. John Smith (unmarried)
  • Mr. Smith & Ms. Jones
  • John Smith & Michelle Jones
  • John & Michelle

Engaged couple
It can be fun for soon-to-be-married couples to receive mail with their future name written. But be aware that some couples may love this while others could be offended (especially if they aren’t planning to change their name), so we only recommend this for people you’re close with.

  • The Future Mr. & Mrs. John Smith
  • Mr. John Smith & Miss Michelle Jones

Families and children
If you’re inviting children to your wedding, they should be listed on the envelope underneath the parents’ names. Writing “family” also says that they are invited. Not including the children on the envelope tells guests that their children are not invited.

  • The Smith Family
  • Mr & Mrs. Smith & Family
  • Mr. & Mrs. John Smith
    Sarah, Andrew, & Peter

Single guests
A name listed on its own signals that the guest should be coming on their own. If you’re giving them a plus-one, include the words “& Guest”.

  • Ms. Michelle Jones (& Guest)
  • Ms. Jones (& Guest)
  • Michelle (& Guest)

Distinguished titles
The guest with the highest ranking distinguished title (such as Doctor, Captain, Honorable, Judge) should be listed first in a couple. Two of the same distinguished title may be pluralized.

  • Dr. Michelle & Mr. John Smith
  • The Honorable Michelle Jones & Mr. John Smith
  • Judge Smith & Lieutenant Smith
  • Doctors John & Michelle Smith
  • The Captains Smith

Address

The name portion of the envelope is definitely the trickiest to navigate, but don’t forget about the actual address portion! It is formal etiquette to not abbreviate anything on envelopes (aside from titles like Mr., Mrs. etc.), which means that street extensions (Road, Avenue, Street) and state names should be spelled out. However, in breaking with tradition and perhaps modernizing envelope addressing a bit, we like to defer to our clients on this. We think it’s okay to write “NY” instead of “New York” so long as it’s consistent with the return address and what’s written on the actual invitation itself.

Return Address

Your return address can go either on the back flap or the front upper left corner of the envelope. We typically prefer the back flap so the guest’s address stands out on the envelope front, especially if it’s hand lettered. We offer both printing and hand lettering services for return addresses. Another option is ordering a custom address stamp. They come in many different style options, don’t cost too much, and will come in handy with all the wedding-related mail you will be sending. No matter what you choose, just make sure the format of your return address is consistent with your guests’ addresses!

Other Notes

While this is your wedding, please note that more informal addressing (with no titles) might be seen as disrespectful to older and more conservative guests. Take into account the vibe of your big day, along with your invitees, and use your best judgement to determine what makes most sense for you.

Although it should be clear through your envelope addressing who exactly is invited to your wedding, some guests do still mistakenly assume their plus-one or children are welcome. If this is a concern for you, we recommend adding some explanatory information on your wedding website. But you may also need to follow up with guests personally to explain the situation.

If you have any other questions about envelope addressing, or would like to hire us for your own envelopes, please contact us – we’d love to help!

Welcome! We’re Amelia & Natasha and we’re into it

We love hand lettering and graphic design and we’re here to share some of our favorite things!

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When to Send Your Wedding Invitations, Save the Dates, and Everything Else!

Save the dates, invitations, thank you cards, oh my! At first, all the stationery involved with wedding planning can be overwhelming – but don’t worry, we’re here to help. Here’s our recommended guide for when to send all the gorgeous mail for your wedding.

 

Save the Dates

Save the dates are a fun way for your guests to mark your wedding on their calendar and are typically sent out 4-6 months before the wedding. For destination weddings you may want to send your save the dates our earlier, about 6-12 months in advance, to give your guests ample time to plan their travel arrangements.

Invitations

Wedding invitation suites usually include the main invitation, a response card, and any other enclosure with helpful information for your guests – such as reception location, travel and accommodations, attire, wedding website, etc. All of these details are helpful for planning and attending your big day and your guests will be excited to receive them!

Traditionally, wedding invitations are sent out 6-8 weeks before the wedding. Whether your celebration be classic, whimsical, rustic, or modern, invitations are typically the first opportunity to share the look and feel of your wedding with your guests.

If you plan on sending additional invitations as you receive “no” RSVPs, move your original invitation mail date back an additional 2-3 weeks so that guests whose invitations are sent later still have time to reply. This will ensure your “B-list” guests don’t feel like they are receiving an invitation at the last minute.

RSVPs

Your RSVP date should be about 3-4 weeks from wedding date. This will give you enough time to finalize your seating and give your caterer a final head count. There are bound to be a few missing, so don’t be afraid to follow up with a text or phone call to those you haven’t heard back from in time. And although it may be hard to believe, sometimes reply cards come back to you without guest names or return addresses. To combat this, we recommend penciling a little number on the back of your RSVP cards or inside the envelopes that corresponds to your own numbered guest list. This makes the task of managing and tracking down RSVPs less stressful!

Bridal Shower

The bridal party is usually responsible for organizing and hosting the shower. Invitations should go out 6-8 weeks before the event. To keep things organized, RSVPs should go to one person, the maid of honor or mother of the bride, for example.

Rehearsal Dinner

Close family members and anyone participating in the wedding ceremony is typically invited to the rehearsal dinner. It usually takes place the night before the wedding and is a time for guests to meet each other, celebrate, and toast the couple. Invitations are sent 3-6 weeks in advance of the dinner. Some couples opt to include the rehearsal dinner information on an insert to be sent as part of the main invitation suite for those guests who are invited.

Thank You Cards

Wedding gifts will likely come during different times of your wedding planning and celebrations. For gifts received during the engagement party and shower, send a thank you within 3-4 weeks of the events. For gifts sent before the wedding a date, send a card as soon as possible, ideally before the wedding date. For all other gifts given at the wedding or shortly after, mail a thank you note with in 3-6 months.

At a Glance

Save the Dates: mail 4-6 months before wedding (6-12 months for destination wedding)
Invitation Suite: mail 6-8 weeks before wedding
RSVPs: due back 3-4 weeks before wedding
Bridal Shower:
mail 6-8 weeks before shower
Rehearsal Dinner:
mail 3-6 weeks before dinner
Thank You Cards:
mail 3-6 months after wedding (3-4 weeks after other events)

We hope these timelines give you a helpful guideline for when to send out all of your beautiful wedding snail mail. Don’t forget, each event is different, so your timelines can vary. Use these timelines as a reference and adjust to suit the needs of your wedding. And don’t forget to add in time to actually have your stationery made! We recommend reaching out to us at least six weeks before your mail dates so there’s ample time to nail your vision and perfect your stationery.

All designs shown here were created by We’re Into It. All photography is our own except where credit is given.

Welcome! We’re Amelia & Natasha and we’re into it

We love hand lettering and graphic design and we’re here to share some of our favorite things!

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Escort Cards versus Place Cards – What’s the Deal?

Although the terms escort cards and place cards are often used interchangeably, they are actually technically quite different. When planning an event or wedding reception, it’s helpful to understand the difference, so we’ve put together a quick synopsis of when to use each.

Escort Cards

Place Cards

What’s the difference?

Escort cards are used to assign guests to specific tables, but not to specific seats. These cards are usually displayed at the entrance to the reception area for guests to easily see and pick up themselves. They can be elegant folded tent cards, but escort cards are also a great place to get creative and match the theme of your wedding with unique materials.

Place cards are used to assign guests to a specific seat at a table, and can indicate formality — they are almost always part of a black-tie reception. They are placed at the guest tables before the reception is open and can be traditional tent cards, attached to favors, or tucked into a decorative little stand.

And don’t be afraid to think outside the box! Even folded tent cards can be unique by incorporating a variety of design elements, or even by utilizing meaningful places or objects in place of traditional table numbers.

When using place cards, it is helpful to have a seating chart on display in order to avoid guests wandering around tables looking for their specific seat. Sometimes seating charts are used on their own to display table assignments, but their purpose is the same as escort cards – for guests to easily and quickly find their assigned table.

Photography by Ali + Julie

Photography by Eve Event Photography

What do I need at my wedding?

Choosing to do escort cards, place cards, or both is entirely dependent on the size and formality of your wedding, and your individual preferences. Most wedding receptions have escort cards or seating charts, while place cards tend to be optional for less formal gatherings.

If you have a specific place you’d like your guests to sit, you might want to think about having place cards in addition to escort cards or a seating chart. However, if you’d just like to direct guests to a certain table and let them choose their seat from there, then escort cards are the way to go. For intimate weddings with only a table or two, escort cards can be unnecessary if guests can easily find their seat without confusion.

Although it’s not usually recommended, skipping both escort and place cards can work if you are having a truly informal wedding where seating is ample and scattered. Assignments help to avoid confusion and the problem of guests wandering around stressing to find a seat.

Photography by Lily Events

Photography by Ali + Julie

Do I have to use paper tent cards?

Not at all! Both escort cards and place cards are an opportunity to be creative with unique materials to match your wedding style or theme. Think sand dollars for a beachside bash, polished stones for a garden party or driftwood for a lakeside soiree. You can also choose something that can do double duty, and have an escort card that’s also a favor, like ornaments or mini succulent plants. Your guests are going to love something special with their name on it and will guarantee they’ll remember your big day!

We’d love to bring your escort cards and/or place cards to life! Contact us for a custom design, or order directly here.

Photography by Zac Wolf Photography

All designs shown here were created by We’re Into It. All photography is our own except where credit is given.

Welcome! We’re Amelia & Natasha and we’re into it

We love hand lettering and graphic design and we’re here to share some of our favorite things!

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