Things to Know

Invitations, Announcements

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General Stationery Etiquette

From addressing invitations with ease to choosing the right color of ink for your birth announcements, these basic stationery guidelines will help you to join the ranks of the truly stationery savvy.


  • Do not use abbreviations, with the exception of non-professional titles like Mr., Mrs., or Jr. Spell out all Professional titles, such as "Doctor" and "Professor."
    Correct: Doctor Tara Tanaka
    Incorrect: Dr. Tara Tanaka

    Under standard stationery convention, the husband's title always precedes his wife's.


    Doctor and Mrs. William Joseph Alvarado
    Judge and Mrs. David Howard Meriwether

    Spell out all middle names completely.

    Correct: Michael David Green
    Incorrect: Michael D. Green

    Avoid using Ms. in social stationery, since it is typically more appropriate for business. Use Miss or Mrs. instead.

  • Children

    Children over 18 years old deserve their own invitation or announcement.


    In general, avoid abbreviations. Always spell out commonly abbreviated words, such as street, boulevard or avenue, months and days of the week. Also, be sure to spell out all contractions (e.g., "do not" instead of "don't"). You definitely don't want friends or family to think that you were in a rush, or that you sent hastily written announcements or invitations!


  • Do not list stores where you are registered on your announcements or invitations. For truly stylish stationery experts, including the stores on your registry leaves a sour taste on your otherwise sweet social stationery. Instead, allow your friends to ask where you are registered on an individual basis.
  • As a general rule, if you do not specifically request that guests do not bring gifts it insinuates that all gifts will be welcome. It is acceptable, however, to decline gifts on an invitation or announcement using a delicate phrase printed at the bottom of your card in discreet print.


    No gifts please
    May your good wishes be your only gift to us.
    May the presence of your company be your only gift to us.

Addressing Envelopes


  • Always address envelopes with black or dark blue ink.


  • Do not use abbreviations in your social stationery with the exception of non-professional titles such as Mr., Mrs., Jr., etc.
  • Professional titles such as "Doctor" should be spelled out.
  • Refrain from using symbols for "and."


  • Write all house numbers in numeral form (1, 2, 3...). The number "one," is the only exception—spell it out when it stands alone (e.g. One Panther Way).
  • Write apartment numbers, suite numbers and zip codes in numeral form.
  • Avoid state abbreviations.
  • Do not abbreviate common address words like "Street," "Boulevard" and "Avenue."

Return Address:

  • Print your return address on the closed back flap of the envelope.
  • Center the recipient's address on the front of the envelope.
  • Use the same color of ink and font style on the envelope that you used for the invitation or announcement inside.
  • Exclude your name from the return address.


  • The printed side of the announcement or invitation should be the side facing the recipient when he or she opens the stationery, so be sure to stuff your envelopes with the printed side of your invitations and announcements facing the flap of the envelope.
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