You walk to your mailbox, put your key inside the mail slot, turn, and pull out your stack of papers. There’s the usual suspects: flyers you don’t want, a utility bill and a reminder for your annual dentist appointment. But then you see it – a gleaming white envelope with your name in exquisite handwriting on the front….you’ve got snail mail!
Why did I put this picture into your head, you ask? Because I wanted to talk about something important today…the importance of how to address your bridal shower invitations.
It seems like good etiquette is fading into a thing of the past these days. That just means that when you do follow proper etiquette, your guests will be that much more impressed by it.
When it comes to addressing bridal shower invitations, proper etiquette should still be followed. You’ve put this much effort already into making sure every last detail of the shower is perfect – from the guest list and venue, down to the theme– and addressing the shower invitation envelope properly is the last finite detail to make it all complete.
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It’s all about how it feels
To begin, make sure you choose a nice, sturdy envelope that feels thick, not thin. This will be the first piece of paper your guests touch before they even open the invitation, so choose a high-quality envelope (bonus points for finding a colour that matches or is similar to one of the colours on the invite).
The ‘stamp’ of approval
The second detail to pay attention to is the stamp itself. Gone are the days where you could only choose whatever boring design the postal service was offering at the moment. You can personalize the stamp these days! How cute would it be to add a personalized stamp of the bride and groom’s engagement photo on it? Your guests would know right away who the invitation is celebrating, before they’ve even opened up the envelope. Even if you don’t want to add a picture to the stamp itself, the US Postal Service and Canada Post both have wedding-related designs you can choose from.
To ink or not to ink, that is the question
Traditionally, envelopes should be handwritten (or hire a professional calligrapher, if you have the budget for it). If you plan to write on the envelopes, be sure to use a felt tip, smudge proof pen. Black ink looks most professional, but adjust the colour accordingly, depending on the colour of your envelope. The key point here is to make sure all the information is legible and clean.
Some hostesses do opt to print out clear labels on the computer or print the address information on the envelope directly instead of traditional handwriting. This is especially nice since there are so many fantastic calligraphy fonts available now. Labels also work, as long as the font is easy to read. It is best to print on CLEAR labels, if possible, instead of white – it looks much cleaner, and if you’re using a coloured envelope, it blends right in with the colour and keeps everything looking coordinated and tidy.
How to address bridal shower invitations:
Invitations for multiple guests from the same household
Traditional etiquette still says that multiple guests in a household should EACH receive a separate invitation in the mail. So to ensure you’re following proper etiquette, make sure each guest gets an invitation addressed solely to them.
Bridal shower invitation address etiquette – names and titles
Proper name etiquette should be followed as you would for addressing a wedding invitation. Here are some examples:
For a married woman:
Mrs. Jane Smith (use the individual’s first and last name, not her husband’s – you would only use the formal ‘Mr. and Mrs. John Smith’ when the couple is invited to a formal event, like a wedding.
For a widowed woman:
Ms. Jane Smith
For a single or divorced woman:
Miss Jane Smith
Make sure the lines of the invitation are all left justified and in line with the name. For the street address, numbers need to be in numeric form (not written out) and street names are fully written out and not abbreviated (i.e., write out “Street,” not “St.”). City and state/province names should also be spelt out and NOT abbreviated (i.e. write out “North Dakota,” not “N.D.”). The ZIP or postal code can either be placed on the same line as the city/state/province with two spaces in between the state/province and the zip/postal code, or it can go on a separate line directly underneath the city/state/province line.
Mrs. Jane Smith
101 Happiness Street
Smileville, North Dakota 98657
Mrs. Jane Smith
101 Happiness St.
Smileville, N.D. 98657
To keep the front of the envelope looking clean and tidy, return address information should be placed on the back flap of the invitation. Again, this can either be printed or you can use a clear label. Just make sure the pen ink/label matches with the ink/label on the front of the envelope.
The hostess’s address should be listed as the return address. If there are multiple hostesses, choose one person to be the point of contact; otherwise, it gets too confusing to keep track of lost invitations.
Again, the return address should follow the same etiquette noted above in the previous section.
Stuffing the envelope
The invitation should go into the envelope with the back/blank side facing the front of the envelope and the design facing the back. This allows the recipient to see the design and information as soon as she/he opens the envelope, rather than having to take out the invitation and flip it around to see the invitation. It’s a little detail, but as we all know, little details go a long way when you’re making a first impression.
Sealing the envelope
If possible, use an envelope seal (like these awesome personalized envelope seals on Etsy) or a wax seal to close the envelope at the bottom of the flap. If not, purchase an envelope sealer from an office supply (or dollar stores will often have them, to!) to save yourself the gross flavour of having to lick the envelope – if you have a large number of envelopes that need to be closed, you will thank yourself for NOT having to lick all of them!
I hope you found this post useful! Thanks for visiting my blog, and stay tuned next week for our tips on how to keep your RSVPs organized…
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