Wedding Stationery Etiquette

Patricia Napier-Fitzpatrick is an authority when it comes to etiquette. After all, she is the founder of The Etiquette School of New York, so we fully trust her judgment when it comes to the proper wedding stationery protocol. This is what Patricia and the talented individuals at Martha Stewart Weddings have to say:

The More Notice You Give, the Better

It is customary to send out save the dates three to four months before your wedding date. Also, formal invitations should be distributed six to eight weeks beforehand (two to three-week RSVP request). With that being said, if your guests are scattered across the country, or if you are hosting a destination wedding; it can be helpful to give more notice. Everyone will appreciate the advanced announcement, and this can also alleviate some of the pressure when it comes to calculating your final head count.

Be Inspirational & Informative

We believe in celebrating love in an innovative way. Creativity should flourish throughout your save the dates as well as your wedding invitations. However, be sure to include all the pertinent information concerning your special day. Save the dates need to include: the names of the couple, the wedding date, and a note to set the expectation for a formal invitation. PS, if you have a website for your wedding, the save the date is where you want to share it.

For the formal wedding invitation, be sure to present the full names of the couple getting married as well as the names of the hosts (the parents' names, for example). You will also need to include the name of the venue, the date, and the time. Information concerning the reception, hotel accommodations, or your wedding registry can accompany your invitation in the form of complementary side pieces, or you can simply house these details on your wedding website. Lastly, you should only include the names of the guests whom you are inviting on the envelope.

Say No to Abbreviations

"Street," "Post Office Box," and "Apartment" should each be written in entirety. The same rule applies to cities, state names, and house numbers smaller than 20. "Mr. and Mrs." are the only exceptions because they generally are abbreviated.

Name Game

The names of your guests should be written on the outer envelopes. If you are addressing a married couple, the envelope should read "Mr. and Mrs.," followed by the husband's first and last name (You can also list both names if you wish). In the event that a woman keeps her maiden name, the names are written in alphabetical order as follows: Ms. Sally Jem and Mr. Jake Sanders. When it comes to an unmarried couple who live together, write the names on two lines.

You Are Entitled to Your Title

If you know your guest is a doctor, you should always address him or her as "Doctor" on the envelope. In addition to this, it is acceptable to place the name of the wife first, if she is a doctor. For example, "Doctor Amanda Smith and Mr. Jack Smith." When both husband and wife are doctors, the envelope should read "Drs. Jack and Amanda Smith." Aside from doctors; men should always be addressed as Mr., married women should be addressed as Mrs., and unmarried women can be addressed as Ms (Miss, if she's under 21).

Expedite Your Appreciation

A wedding is an undertaking, and once it is over, you can feel a bit exhausted. However, you should treat your thank-you notes with a sense of urgency. Sending a thank-you note within two weeks of receiving the present will go a long way with your guest and truly express your gratitude. Plus, this prevents losing this task in the busy shuffle of your life.

For more information on this subject, please visit: www.marthastewartweddings.com, or you can simply contact Maria Gossard Designs (937) 228-6265 / maria@thinkpaper.net. 

Maria Gossard