Envelope Etiquette 101

Are you wondering what to do when addressing an invite to someone who kept their maiden name? Or if a couple is living together but unmarried? Addressing envelopes is probably one of the questions that I answer over and over again.

Married couple with the same last name

Outer: The husband’s full name (no nicknames), preceded by “Mr. and Mrs.”
Inner: Don’t use first names; in this case, it would read Mr. and Mrs. Harbin

Mr. and Mrs. William Harbin
9319 Oak Bluff
Columbus, Ohio 43215

Married couple with children under 18 living at home

Outer: Children’s names are left off the outer envelope
Inner: “Mr. and Mrs. Burleson” on the first line; children’s first names on a line below


    Mr. and Mrs. Bradley Burleson
    125 Magnolia Circle
    Birmingham, Alabama 35213

    Married couple in which the woman has kept her maiden name

    Outer: The wife’s name appears first, on its own line; “and” indicated marital status
    Inner: Place “Ms. Olsen” on the top line; “and Mr. Hayes” is written below


      Ms. Olivia Olsen
      and Mr. Ethan Hayes
      62 Waterfront Road
      Seattle, Washington 98118

      Married couple in which the woman is a doctor

      Outer: The woman’s name is placed first, if the husband is also a doctor, the address is either “The Drs. Werner” or “Drs. Barbara and Robert Werner.”
      Inner: “Dr. Werner” is written first; “and Mr. Werner” appears second

        Dr. Barbara and Mr. Robert Werner
        3747 Valley View
        San Francisco, California 94107

        Unmarried couple living together

        Outer: The guests’ names (ladies first) are written on two lines, without “and”
        Inner: Write “Miss Stein” on the first line, with “Mr. Richmond” below


          Miss Christine Stein
          Mr. Joshua Richmond
          43 East 92nd Street
          Apartment 6D
          New York, New York 10128

          Single person with a date

          Outer: Address this envelope to only the guest you know personally
          Inner: The words “and guest” are added. For example, “Mr. Paris and guest”. And never capitalize Guest.


            Mr. Matthew Paris
            1686 Stanhope
            Dallas, Texas 75225

            Final Tips and Tricks:

            • Never use first names on the inner envelope, except for children’s
            • Spell out state names, plus words and terms such as “Street,” “Road,” “West,” “Place,” “Post Office Box” and “Apartment”
            • Whenever a woman’s name appears independently – no matter the reason – it always goes on the first line
            • Include titles such as “Doctor” or “Judge” only if guests use them both socially and professionally

            Bridal Events for the Newly Engaged

            Most blogs focus on new year’s resolutions in January.  My world, the wedding world, is completely different.  Come January 1st, my phone is ringing and my inbox is full with brides looking for a wedding planner.  My evenings become quickly filled with consultations and bridal events. 

            If you haven’t been to a bridal event, then you are in for a treat.  The events range in size from small to large and usually have a group of wedding vendors that love each other.  The events can be complimentary although some do require a ticket. If there is a cost, then there usually is a great goodie bag!

            Another type of bridal event is a trunk show, which focus a dress designer (or for the event listed below, a veil and accessories designer) that will be having an event at a bridal salon. Trunk shows are great for two reasons: the complete line is usually available and there might be a discount or gift given with purchase.

            Bridal events, in general, are fabulous. Just stay away from expos.  I’m talking about the huge bridal conventions where all of the vendors pay to get a table.  They are not my cup of tea.

            Below are two fun events from vendors that I adore.  Magnificent Milestones is hosting BYOB: Bring Your Own Bridesmaids on Thursday, January 16th.  

            Bella Bleu will be hosting a Sara Gabriel Trunk Show on Friday, January 17th and Saturday, January 18th.  Bella Bleu is hosting a trunk show featuring. Sara Gabriel can create custom pieces to suit your individual style. I love her headpieces because they are so intricate and detailed!  Enjoy mimosas and sweets as well an additional 10% off your purchase at the trunk show. Set up an appointment with Bella Bleu in advance by calling 847.696.7152.

            Best Wishes!

            Tis the season of newly engaged brides!  If you are newly engaged, you might be thinking that you should start planning.  Before you do, please take some time to ENJOY your engagement.  Once the planning begins, it is a whirlwind of activity. 

            Why don’t you…

            Get a manicure.  You are going to be showing your engagement ring to all of your friends and family.  Make sure your nails look as lovely as your new ring.

            Insure your ring.  If you fiance didn’t already do so, now is the time to insure your ring.  The insurance can be added through an existing home owner’s policy.

            Announce your engagement.  While your first instinct might be Facebook, wait until you have called your closest friends and family.  They’ll want to hear the news directly from you.

            Once you’re ready to start the planning,  the first three things I would do is…

            Decide on your vision.  Before you look at a single venue, think about your wedding vision.  Have you and your fiance come up with six words to describe your wedding.  It will help keep your focus when you become overwhelmed by wedding magazines, Pinterest, and blogs.
            Think numbers.  Decide on the size of your wedding and your wedding budget.  It’s hard to start any of the planning without knowing if the guest list is going to be 150 or 300.  And you really, really have to have a budget.  

            Attend a bridal event.  We’re hosting The Bridal Lounge at the James next Thursday, January 17th.  Please click here for all of the details! Shameless plug aside, but bridal events (which are not the same as awful expos) are a lot of fun!  

            Evernote is cool!

            It’s like a big online scrapbook without the messy cutting & pasting!

            Evernote allows you to clip things from different sites and compile them all into one easily viewable page – perfect for sharing with vendors, your wedding party, or taking with you on shopping trips. Just pull it up on your phone and you’re good to go! Now all your ideas and inspiration can be at hand at all times.

            Check out a great example of shared notebook from Kasey Fleisher Hickey here to get inspiration. Happy clipping!

            Ask the Bee: Tables + Guests * Centerpieces = HELP

            How many guests can I fit at each table?

            It depends on the size of the table.  My personal favorite is a 60″ round with 8 guests.  The table is a nice size for intimate conversation and there is enough room for everyone to feel comfortable.  

            Since it is not always possible to break up your guest list in groups of 8, I recommend a 72″ round for 10 guests. This is a comfortable seating arrangement that so that guests are not “elbow to elbow”. Remember, there is going to be a lot on each tabletop! Besides the centerpiece, that for each guest, there is a charger, menu, napkin, several glasses (champagne flute, white wine glass, red wine glass, and water glass), flatware, bread plate, and possibly a place card. Below is a photo of a 60″ round set for 8 guests.  As you can see, there is already a lot on the table before guests arrive with escort cards, cameras and handbags!

            On a budget?  Seat 12 guests at a 72″ round to get the most bang for your buck in terms of centerpieces.  Be sure not to crowd the table with elaborate centerpieces.  I would also recommend putting the favors on the escort table in stead of at each place setting.

            If you have a wedding related question, Ask the Bee!!

            Wedding Insurance?

            No one wants to think about what can wrong on their wedding day.  It’s understandable.  Unfortunately, things CAN go wrong.  Last year, I wrote about the importance of Wedding Insurance.

            After spending a small fortune, I knew that I had to go out to get insurance.  My mine would not rest otherwise.  Ultimately, we chose Wed Safe.  They were able to offer us the best pricing.  Luckily, we never ended up needing it.  

            Recently, I heard about a bride that had her caterer go out of business.  She lost her deposit and is having to work with the credit card companies to get reimbursed. This unfortunate situation reminded me to a second post.

            If you look at the comments in the first post, there was a Bride that posted about her reasons that she wished she had insurance.

            Please keep it in mind!

            Venue Search

            Chicago is a great city for planning your wedding.  You have the choice of hundreds of venues, florists, and other vendors.  The flipside is that it is overwhelming.

            There are some things to consider:
            • guest count
            • budget
            • proximity to hotels
            • proximity to church/ceremony location
            • personal constraints (outside space, bring in your own alcohol, etc.)
            • style
            Style is important.  You want the day to reflect your personality.

            However, some brides are still overwhelmed.  That said, you might want to consider hiring a wedding coordinator to help you find your venue.  Often listed as an a la carte service, a wedding coordinator can find a venue.

            Last year, I had a Boston based bride that wanted to have a Saturday night wedding.  She wanted the ceremony and reception in the same venue.  It needed to be near a hotel since 98% of the guests were from out of town.  She wanted a modern feel that highlighted the city that she loved.  After going through her options, she fell in love with the Met Club in the Sears Tower. It was a perfect match!

            If you are interested in our venue search services, please contact Misse or Marilyn.  We would love to help you!

            Your Wedding Vision

            If you aren’t exactly sure what you want your wedding, I suggest you go through this little exercise.  Have you and your fiance come up with six word to describe your dream wedding.  

            My husband said, “elegant, personal, unique, classy, beautiful, emotional”.
            I said, “elegant, urban, chic, swank, intimate, fun”.

            It sounds a little silly but it really helped with us.  Whenever we weren’t sure if we wanted to do something, we just went back to these words.