Friday, September 23, 2011

Fab fridays: The invitation Etiquette

1. When to Send Wedding Invitations

Get organized about a month before your desired send-out date. This should be six to eight weeks before the wedding, allowing your guests adequate time to respond and ensuring that you will get a reliable head count a week or two before the event. The address on a wedding invitation should be handwritten; printed labels are not appropriate (though calligraphy done by computer directly on the envelope is gaining popularity and acceptability).

2. Do I Need a Calligrapher?

Depending on your handwriting and the level of formality of your wedding, you may want to have your envelopes inscribed by a professional calligrapher. (To find one in your area, ask your stationer or wedding planner for recommendations.) You'll have to get your envelopes to the calligrapher at least two to three weeks before you need them; some calligraphers require even more time. Also provide her with a neatly printed guest list, complete with full addresses and social and professional titles (Mr. or Doctor, for example). Compiling the list, as well as making phone calls to parents or friends to acquire or confirm addresses and spellings, can take some time, so don't wait until the last minute to get started.
Alternatively to save cost; you can print the guest lists names on easy-place stickers using Caligraphy font or scout for someone who has a fabulous handwritting!

3. The Rules for Address Etiquette

Though etiquette for addressing and assembling invitations has relaxed, there are still some requirements, which we've outlined on the following slides (we've also included a few modern interpretations for more casual weddings). "The little things do matter," says Dorothea Johnson, an etiquette expert  "When a couple uses the appropriate honorific and writes out an address in the correct way, it shows they've put thought into it." And when your guests receive your invitation, expertly assembled and addressed, there will be no doubt that you have done just that.

4. Names and Titles

Your guests' names should be written in full on outer envelopes -- no nicknames or initials. Use the appropriate social titles as well, such as addressing married couples as "Mr. and Mrs." If a man's name has a suffix, write "Mr. Joseph Morales, Jr.," or "Mr. Joseph Morales IV"; "Junior" can be spelled out on a more formal invitation. However, it is the different case based on our society culture: big titles such as Datuk, Datin, Tan Sri, Toh Puan, Datuk Sri, Tun etc. Be sure to always include "Yang Berbahagia" or "Y. Bhg" for short.

5. Addresses

Spell out all words in an address on your envelopes. Rather than "St.," "P.O. Box," and "Apt.," use "Street," "Post Office Box," and "Apartment." It is ok to put "Jln" cos we all know it stands for 'Jalan' but put in full for "Bt, Bkt, Blk" which is more appropriate: "Batu, Bukit, Block" This  also applies to city and state names as well; instead of abbreviations, "Jhr bhru, Klntn, Slgor "write full name Johor Bahru, Kelantan, Selangor

6. Return Addresses

Write out all words here, too. The preferred place for printing the return address is on the envelope's back flap. Traditional etiquette called for blind embossing, or colorless raised lettering, for wedding invitations; the idea behind this was that guests would get their first glimpse of the fancy engraving on the invitation itself.
Moreover there are some invites which includes "reply cards" which is much convenient as guests can Rsvp by ticking (yes/no) and mail it back to the sender. These reply cards are complete with return address & some senders also includes stamps too!

7. Address Variations for Married Couples

To some couples, omitting wives' first names feels too old-fashioned; including the first names of both husband and wife after their titles is appropriate. The house number, even though it is less than 20, can be written as a numeral for a less-formal feeling. And in keeping with a more personal style, the couple are addressed by their first names on the inner envelope. (Eg: Mr & Mrs Anthony Lim)
Different Last Names
When a husband and wife have different last names, the wife's name is traditionally written first. Connecting the couple's names by the word "and" implies marriage. For an unmarried couple that lives together, names should be written on separate lines without the word "and." On the inner envelope, both are addressed by their titles and respective last names.(Eg: Mr Anthony Lim & Ms Grace Loh)

8. Address Variations for Families

With Children, Formal
This outer envelope is identical to that of a couple without children -- its writing, which is for the purposes of the post office, should be as simple and clear as possible. On the inner envelope, the name and title of each invited guest in the household is written out. A boy under the age of 13 is "Master," not "Mr." Girls and young women under age 18 are called "Miss." (eg Miss Lynette Lim)
With Children, Informal
Parents' first names are both used on this less traditional version of the outer envelope ("Post Office Box" is abbreviated as well). For the inner one, the parents' and children's first names are written without titles. Since they are young siblings, the word "and" (which implies marriage when used with adults' names) linking the children's names is acceptable.

9. Address Style for Single Guests

For a single woman, either "Ms." or "Miss" is appropriate; many people find the former preferable. The guest's name is the only one that appears on the outer envelope. On the inner envelope, however, write the guest's name followed by "and Guest." If you know whom he or she will be bringing, it's more personal to include that person's name, on a separate line. 

10. Outer and Inner Envelopes

Sending out an invitation in two envelopes ensures that each guest will receive a pristine envelope, even if the outer one has been torn or soiled in the mail. Still, the two are not necessary; you may omit the inner envelope if you wish. The outer envelope includes all of the information the postal service needs for delivery. The inner envelope should have the names of the invited guests in the household (including children, whose names do not appear on the outer envelope).

11. Assembling the Invitation

All enclosures should be printed in the same method and on coordinating papers; here's the order in which they should be stacked to go in the outer envelope. The invitation is on the bottom, print side up. A sheet of tissue paper (originally used to prevent smearing) can be placed over it. Stack all other inserts, such as a map, reception card, and reply card, on the invitation in order of size (smallest on top). The reply card should be under its envelope's flap; this envelope should be preprinted with the mailing address, and should be stamped as well. Insert everything into the inner envelope with the print side up, so that when guests open the envelopes they will see the lettering. (The same rules apply with a single-fold invitation, where the print appears on the front. For a French-fold, or double-fold, invitation, which has the print inside, all enclosures go inside the card.) Slip the unsealed inner envelope into the outer envelope with the names facing the back flap.

12. Postage and Handling

Bring a completed invitation to the post office to have it weighed; many require postage for at least two ounces, which usually exceeds the cost of a first-class stamp. Have a reply card and its envelope weighed as well, to ensure that you don't over- or underpay for that postage.

13. Hand-Canceling

You can take your invitations to the post office and request that they be hand-canceled. Machines print bar codes on the envelopes, but hand-canceling -- just marking each stamp -- keeps invitations neat and prevents damage that machines can cause.

Read more at Wedding Invitation Etiquette -- Martha Stewart Weddings

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