Pretty Penmanship

Thursday, June 27, 2013

In addition to bridesmaid duties like artfully arranging the bride's train, executing a cake display and fetching lipstick, I also spent the better part of a Thursday afternoon and evening addressing my darling friend's wedding invitations. Since it wasn't quite as simple as it might seem, I thought I'd share her questions and my tips for getting gorgeous envelopes! 

First things first, how do you address your invitations? Mr and Mrs? The Addams Family? Luckily there are few hard and fast rules, besides spelling your guests' names properly. If your wedding is formal, try "Mr and Mrs Gomez Addams"; if it's a more casual affair, "Morticia and Gomez Addams" will do the tick. If the kids are all invited, use "The Addams Family"–and don't be afraid to use a combination of all three if you want to honor the older generation in attendance or make your best friend's boyfriend feel particularly welcome.

But what if your bestie and her boyfriend don't cohabitate, or your little brother's bringing an unnamed guest? When in doubt, trust your gut–etiquette is intended to make others comfortable, and you know your guests better than any expert.

Now that you've got names and titles sorted out, it's time to make sure you've got your addresses correct; check with your guests (or Google) to make sure every number is correct. Avoid abbreviations, even "Dr" or "Capt" unless you absolutely cannot fit "123456 Doctor Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard" on your envelopes–that includes states, street names and personal titles.

Once you've got your addresses collected, it's time to start writing–and hopefully you've been practicing! I suggest writing a few addresses on scrap paper before you put pen to envelope–my first few were stinkers. A light pencil line drawn with a ruler can help steady your hand and keep your text centered.

And how many extra envelopes should you buy? While the pros only need 10 to 15%, why not give yourself a little more wiggle room? Envelopes are often sold in packs of 25; if you find you have lots of extras, they can be always repurposed for vendor tips and thank you notes!

If you're looking for more advice on addressing, Wedding Paper Divas' Ask Etta column is a terrific resource–tell me, do you have any tricks for addressing envelopes, or etiquette questions?  I'd love to hear them! 


  1. If using light-colored envelopes, to keep text straight and centered, I'll take an index card roughly the same size as the envelope with five dark, thick, straight lines centered on it. The lines usually shine right through the envelope and no pencil marks required. Just remember to take the index card out before putting invitations in! Of course this is useless for dark/thick paper.

  2. Oh my gosh, you're a good friend!!! That's tough work! Such great tips, I can't even tell you how many times I had to refer back to my instructions on titles and addresses while prepping my own.

  3. Beautiful and I have to concur: you are a good friend! I love pretty penmanship and always thank my high school teacher who taught me calligraphy as a hobby. :)

  4. I don't have any tips or tricks but I always appreciate a beautifully addressed envelope! It's such an art form.

    always, koru kate

  5. I LOVE pretty penmanship.... probably because I'm awful at it myself.

  6. We totally cheated and printed all our envelopes with a pretty font :-)

  7. I'm so incredibly happy for you. :]

    When I was a kid I saved up my money for a calligraphy course that a local business was offering. Little did I know how much that act provides insight to the type of adult I've become! haha There's something to be said about nice handwriting. :]



A Crimson Kiss – Timeless Events and Classic Cocktails by Ana Degenaar : Blogger