Addressing Invitations
Setting a Table
Brewing and Serving Tea
Writing Letters
Relaxing Outdoors

How to Address and Send an Invitation

An invitation makes the first impression for any event. Whether formal or casual, large or small, a proper hostess should send out a paper invitation to her guests. Although today's "e-vites" are common and much easier and faster to send, there is something rather special about receiving a hand-addressed invitation. Additionally, a paper invitation is more likely to be remembered, as it is usually saved and tacked on a memo board or refridgerator for the guest's continual attention. The most proper of occasions may even require a "save the date" postcard well before the actual invitations are sent.

There are a number of etiquette rules for sending out proper invitations. First, a proper invitation requires the appropriate information: the name or occasion of the event (John's 5th Birthday; Susan's Bridal Shower; Thomas' Retirement); the time; the date; the location; the person, telephone, email and/or address to whom a response ("R.S.V.P.", which stands for a French phrase, "Repondez, s'il vous plait," which means "Please reply") should be sent; the date an R.S.V.P. is required; the attire (casual, formal or in costume); and if necessary, information about any gifts (e.g., "Gifts are not required; just bring yourself!" or "David and Emily are registered at...").

Next, there are a number of conventions for the actual packaging of an invitation. Fold all invitations and response cards, if any, with the wording facing front. Place a stamp on the return response envelope. Place the response card under the flap of return envelope. If there is a reception card, place that card on top on top of the response card. If you are using tissues, place a tissue on top of the invitation. (The tissue is an ancient practice that dates back to when invitations were hand written in pen and ink. The tissue helped keep the wet ink from smearing itself and the other enclosure cards.) Place all enclosure cards on top of the tissue covering the invitation or you can place all enclosure cards inside a folding card. Slide all cards into envelope. If using double envelopes, slide all cards into the inner envelope, then turn it over so the front with the names of your guests is facing you. Slide inner envelope into outer pre-addressed stamped envelope. Finally, it is a good idea to take one fully assembled invitation to the post office for weight and size so that you will not receive invitations back in the mail for a shortage of postage.

Lastly, when sending out a formal invitation to your event, party or special occasion, sometimes questions arise about how to address a couple or individual. The following rules of etiquette from the most proper of eras, the Victorian era (as well as some from modern times) should help clarify proper manners.

Married Couple without children, or when children are not invited Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy
Married Couple, with children who are invited Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy
John, Susan and Timothy (in order of age)
Note: Adult children living at home should receive their own invitation.
Single Man Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy
Single Woman Miss Elizabeth Bennet
Widow Mrs. Elizabeth Darcy
Divorced Woman Mrs. Elizabeth Darcy
Divorced Woman, with resumed maiden name Ms. Elizabeth Bennet
Married Couple, when husband is a doctor Dr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy
Married Couple, When both are doctors The Doctors Darcy
Dr. Elizabeth Darcy and Dr. Fitzwilliam Darcy
Married Couple, When wife is a doctor Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy
Dr. Elizabeth Darcy and Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy
Married Couple, When husband is a judge The Honorable and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy
Married Couple, when wife is a judge The Honorable Elizabeth Darcy and Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy