Stationery and Invitation Etiquette

Stationery Etiquette

Receiving a handwritten note on quality, heavyweight paper is not only special but a personal gesture in our day and time of social technology. There's something about a hand addressed envelope that makes you want to open it so much faster than all the rest! You can't feel an email or text message but you can save a personal handwritten note and in time it becomes a memento of someone else's investment in your life...someone who cared to sit down with special paper and think about what they wanted to say to you. No surprise that it has often been said that paper stands the test of time!

Stationery wardrobe choices are "personal", including business correspondence papers, as they reflect something about you and how you want to be perceived...your personality, your likes, your style. Having said that, your stationery wardrobe consists of Gift Enclosure Cards or Calling Cards, Fold Over Notes or Flat Correspondence Cards and due to their popularity we might include Gift Stickers and Return Address Labels.

Gift Enclosure Cards are meant to be included in or on a gift you are giving. You may buy them flat or folded if you prefer to be able to write a brief inside message.Folded Gift Enclosure Cards should come with envelopes. Another primary use for Gift Enclosure Cards or Calling Cards is for social networking. In this case the card would include not only your name but your contact information as well. One example of using Gift Enclosure or Calling Cards for social networking is the Mommy Play Date Cards which are great for arranging parent-child outings. Business Cards are used only with your professional contact information to keep home and work separate.

Gift Stickers are meant to be on the outside of the gift or favors. Children’s Gift Stickers are especially helpful in insuring that the received gift does not lose its identification, especially when delivered by little ones! Gift Stickers may also be used for favour labels for parties.

Thank You Notes are appropriate either flat or folded. The note should be inserted so that when it is opened you see the front side of the note. Flat notes should be handwritten on one side only. Folded notes, often referred to as informals, should be written on the inside only but it is appropriate, if you need more space, to write on the top inside of the card rather than the back.

Return address labels are an added embellishment to the outside of your envelope and save the addressee from handwriting many return addresses, especially for birth announcements, save the dates, large parties and Christmas photo cards.

Miscellaneous Thank You Note Do's and Dont's

Birth Announcement Etiquette

Sending a birth announcement for the newest member of your family can be done simply and stress free by the following simple guidelines and suggestions.

When to send a birth announcement

Most etiquette authorities agree that when to send a birth announcement to announce the news of your little one is as soon as possible and no later than 6 months. Sometimes there are mitigating circumstances such as premature birth complications or an adoption which can easily delay the announcement of your family’s joy. In that case, you should send out your announcements as soon as you are able knowing that your friends and family will understand.

Plan ahead to send birth announcements

To enable you to be able to send out a timely birth announcement you should always plan ahead. You may easily choose your announcement in advance of the birth so that all you will need to add may be the date and weight! You may ask to place the order in advance and keep it on file. Another helpful tip is to request that your envelopes be preshipped for addressing. Then when the happy day has arrived your order we be sent to press and shipped in a timely fashion. An important detail to consider. *It is a good idea for the mother, herself, to call in the details for the text such as spelling of name, weight and length. It is not uncommon during this exciting time for a family member or friend to call in the wrong information!

What information to include on the birth announcement

When you are designing your baby’s birth announcement, there are many good announcement layouts you can easily study. Most parents only choose to show the baby’s name, weight, length and then names of parents and siblings. Depending on the size and space of the announcement you like you may choose a special phrase or verse. Adorable baby motifs, monograms and initials are often chosen to further embellish your choice!

Photo birth announcement or nonphoto birth announcement

A photo or non photo birth announcement is simply a matter of personal taste. Do not feel that you must choose your announcement style based on what you have received from others! Either choice is a lovely option and one that reflects your personal preference and family personality.

Photo birth announcement suggestions

If you should decide to send out a photo birth announcement here are a few very important suggestions:

Sending an additional note with the birth announcement

No friend or family member should expect to receive an additional handwritten note during this very exciting but especially tiring time! However, do send a thank you note for gifts and kindnesses you have received once you and the little one have settled in to a more rested routine.

When to purchase stationery for your baby

It is not only accepted but popular to purchase your little one’s personal stationery early on! Many parents send thank you notes for baby gifts with their baby's name on it. Today’s parents are eager to establish friendships and play groups. Your baby’s thank you notes and mommy cards help to grow delightful relationships!

Mommy Cards

A mommy card is simply an enclosure card with the mommy and little one's names and contact information. It is fun to have a sweet title like "let's play" or "call my mommy for a play date" if you like.

Wedding Invitation and Accessories Etiquette

After you have said “I Do!” there is much to be done! Wedding planning will be one of the most exciting times of your life...and potentially one of the most overwhelming! The best way to stay on top of all those wonderful details is to plan ahead... so we invite you to take note of these helpful suggestions when it comes to planning your wedding papers.

A "Suite" Wedding

When you are ordering an Invitation, consider ordering your Save the Dates, Accommodation Cards, Thank You notes, and other wedding stationery such as place cards (folded Gift Enclosure cards or flat Calling Cards if holders are being used) and favor tags (Gift Stickers) simultaneously .This will enable you to save time and money as well as give an overall lovely look to your wedding papers! You do not have to match your papers but may choose designs, styles and colors which compliment and continue your chosen theme.

Save the Date Cards

Do send out a save the date card as soon as you have settled the date...usually this should be 4 months to a year in advance. You want to insure that your family and close friends set your week end aside for your wedding and any additional festivities associated with it. Save the date cards are special whether you choose a digital photo or nonphoto card. Choose the style that reflects you as a couple as either one will be lovely. Your save the date should have the most basic information: the engaged couple’s names, the date of the wedding and the chosen location. You may also have additional information such as your website so your friends and family may keep up with all the details along the way. A meaningful motif or shared monogram adds a personal touch to your card choice.

Wedding Invitations

Most experts agree that 8 to 10 weeks ahead is a good time to send out your wedding invitations with 6 weeks ahead at the least. Remember that you have the freedom to reflect your own special flair in all your wedding plans! This is especially true for your wedding invitation and associated papers. Choose an invitation that reflects who you are and the style of the occasion whether that is classic, simple or more contemporary. The style of the invitation you have chosen will indicate to your guests just how casual or formal your wedding will be and how they should dress as well. Once you have chosen your perfect invitation with the text, motif, monogram or initial that you love, be sure to proof and reproof all of the information.

You will want to hand address all your wedding invitations. Whether you choose a calligrapher or you address them yourself or perhaps a good friend with lovely handwriting addresses them for you, hand addressing is recommended.

Be safe and order extra invitations in case there are special people you overlooked or you would like extra keepsakes for family and friends! 25 extra invitations is a good number to consider, but it depends on the total number of guests invited.

The wedding invitation is sent out by the hosts of the wedding. The hosts' names should be spelled out and includes middle names and their titles. If the bride and groom are the hosts, it is worded accordingly.

If the wedding will take place in a house of worship, then "the honor of your presence" would be the appropriate phrase on the invitation. If the wedding will be taking place in a garden, home or another location, the phrase "the pleasure of your company" is more accepted.

The bride's last name is not used if her name is the same as her parents. On the other hand, the groom's name is spelled out in full with his title as well. For example: Mr. William Taylor Campbell.

When spelling out the date, do not include "and" in the year: as in "two thousand sixteen". Capitalize the day of the week and the month but not the year.

When listing the time, it is more preferable to use the phrase "half after" and not half past. It is not necessary to say "in the afternoon, "in the morning" or "in the evening", but it is accepted.

Include the city and state, and spell both out. If most of the guests will be local, it is not necessary to include the state.

Most experts agree that when it comes to writing "RSVP" any of the following are correct: RSVP, R.S.V.P., r.s.v.p., R.s.v.p or "The favour of a reply is requested."

Reply Cards

Reply cards are considered essential by some when sending out wedding or after rehearsal dinner invitations and are included in the invitation envelope. A reply card should have a stamped and preaddressed envelope, so that your guests may let you know whether or not they will be able to attend. If there is to be a seated dinner, reply cards may also ask your guests to check which entrée they would prefer so that you may be prepared in your catering or meal planning. An additional thought about your reply cards! It is a gracious gesture to stamp and address the reply return envelopes. Your invited guests and family will appreciate such thoughtfulness and will more quickly reply to your invitation.

Accommodation Cards

Accommodation cards are for the purpose of informing out of town guests where you are holding rooms for this special weekend... often at a special price! You want to include all the necessary information that will allow your family and friends to easily make reservations. Accommodation cards go in the wedding invitation envelope and do not need envelopes.

Thank You Notes

When is the best time to begin writing your thank you notes? Immediately. Whether you keep up with gifts from family and friends on your computer, iphone or the always available pen and paper, begin your thank you notes right away! This allows your friends and family to know that you have indeed received your gift or whether they will need to check with the registry shops. It is also very gracious to send your thank yous within 2 weeks of receiving your gifts.

Wedding Programs

Wedding programs are delightful keepsakes for your friends and family. They provide an enjoyable "read" during the wedding for your guests to follow the order of the ceremony or to learn about your wedding party and those assisting with your perfect day. A wedding program may be as detailed as you desire so be sure to carefully proof all your information before you submit your order.

Reception Cards

Reception cards are for the purpose of informing your wedding guests where the reception will be held when it will be at another location than that of the wedding. Be sure to include directions on how to get to this second location. The reception card is included in the wedding invitation and does not require an envelope.

Menu Cards

Like wedding programs, a menu card adds an extra flair to your after rehearsal dinner or seated reception. Along with listing the menu, it adds to the table décor, inspires conversation and makes for a lovely keepsake.

Table and Place Cards

Table and place cards are invaluable for giving organization to your seated rehearsal dinner or reception. Guests are always pleased to easily find their special seating and the evening begins delightfully due to your careful planning!

Party Invitation Etiquette

Your party or special event begins with your invitation! A thoughtfully planned invitation creates appreciation from the honoree(s) and excitement for the invited guests. When planning your next special occasion, keep these thoughts in mind.

Casual Invitations

Formal Invitations

Formal events require formal invitations that set the mood for very special occassions such as weddings, retirements or other once in a life time celebrations! Keep these thoughts in mind when planning your formal invitation.

Names and Titles

Using titles and names correctly is a sign of good manners and respect. Many titles have been earned though years of hard work or as a result of a special honor. Most authorities agree that these traditional rules are the most accepted.

Mr., Mrs. Ms., and Dr., are abbreviations that are appropriate to use. Dr. should be spelled out on a wedding invitation however. Clergical titles should be spelled out as when using "The Reverend Frank Taylor" or "Rabbi Bejamin Behr". Political titles would be spelled out such as President, Governor, Mayor, Senator, etc. as well as military titles like Lieutenant and General.

In the event of a dual title such as a Reverend Doctor you would address the outer envelope with "The Reverend Dr. William George". On the inner envelope you would address it using the title most frequently used by that person such as "The Reverend William George".

Married couples are most often linked such as Mr. and Mrs. Robert Young. If one of the couple has a title such as Dr., their name would come first. Dr. Robert and Mrs. Sarah Young or Dr. Sara and Mr. Robert Young. If both wife and husband have equal degrees, use Drs. Sarah and Robert Young. Robert must appear next to his last name.

Use a comma before Sr. or Jr. Do not use a comma before roman numerals such as II or III when it follows a name. You may write out junior or abbreviate as either are acceptable.

Widowed women may be addressed as either Mrs. Sara Young or Mrs. Robert Young. Try to use the name that she prefers.

Esquire (Esq.) after an attorney's name is not used on formal invitations. This suffix is only used in business correspondence. Mr. or Mrs. should be used instead.

When showing your family's name as in a greeting or signature, you would show it as a plural. Merry Christmas from: The Youngs, The Joneses, The Hodges. You do not add an apostrophe such as: Merry Christmas from The Young's.

If you are giving a casual party, you need not use formal titles at all! List the wife's name first with the husband's name next to his last name.

Sympathy Notes and Sympathy Acknowledgement Notes

A Sympathy Note is sent to all those who have shown their love and kindness to you and your family after the loss of a loved one. Most often a white or ecru card is chosen with a very simple border or design. Black ink is the most conservative and accepted. You may choose a photo card as an alternate choice with a simple message so that family and friends might have a visual memento of the person who meant so much to them. Notes should be sent out in a timely manner.

If you choose a folded card design with a sentiment on the front, you may or may not add a personal message inside. What is most important is saying thank you to those who reached out to your family so they may know how much you appreciated not being alone during this time of breavement.

When you write a sympathy note, keep in mind that to hear from you quickly and just to know that you care and are available is the most important message you could convey. Make your note brief, caring and uplifting. It is always a gracious gesture to include a specific comment relating to a special character trait or incident that endeared the deceased to you or many that knew them.


Many people do not know about a free service offered by the United States Postal Service that is pretty cool! The purpose of this is to have your most important invitations and announcements processed by hand and not by machine which always tends to wrinkle or bend not to mention smeared ink! This is not a guarantee however so if you prefer to not take a chance you may pay for a non-machine fee to insure this service.

Extra Postage:

Keep in mind that invitations and envelopes which are not standard sizes or shapes require extra postage. Sweet Pea Designs' stationery and invitations do not require extra postage.