Does etiquette demand hand addressing wedding invitations?
August 3, 2004 4:36 PM   Subscribe

EtiquetteFilter. Specifically, I'm interested in wedding invitation etiquette. Even more specifically, I'm interested in the proper etiquette for addressing wedding invitations. No, not the proper wording, because I've found that ... I really just want to know: Do we have to address all of these things by hand?
posted by grabbingsand to Society & Culture (18 answers total)
I think it's traditional for someone to address them by hand, but not necessarily you. I've never really looked into it, but I think there are professional calligraphers (?) who'll do it for you in really nice handwriting.
posted by reklaw at 4:43 PM on August 3, 2004

Etiquette-wise? Yes, or you could have a calligrapher do it.

Practical-wise? Tons of people don't, they stick labels on, or run the envelopes through a printer. It takes a little something away from the look.

Depends what's most important to you.
posted by GaelFC at 4:43 PM on August 3, 2004

Yes. Your friends may help; nevertheless it's just one of thousands of reasons to keep the wedding small.
posted by jfuller at 5:14 PM on August 3, 2004

I don't have it handy but I remember fairly clearly from my reading of Miss Manners that invitations should indeed be hand addressed. As weddings are not meant primarily to be tests of physical endurance, I don't think you could be faulted for asking -- or hiring -- someone else to assist you.
posted by majick at 5:37 PM on August 3, 2004

We commanded our slaves to do it for us. In other words, we bribed and begged everyone in our wedding party to come help. We had a really great time, and all of the people who didn't have nice cursive writing just stamped and stuffed the envelopes.
posted by iconomy at 5:38 PM on August 3, 2004

i thought about addressing our wedding envelopes by hand for about 30 seconds. it's not about time as i folded, cut, beribboned and wrapped quite a few other elements, but my handwriting sucks and calligraphy wouldn't complement the overall design.

we used larger white labels on square silver envelopes and matched the fonts to those inside.

in general i find quite a bit of the etiquette around weddings rather appalling. do what makes you feel comfortable and happy.
posted by heather at 5:43 PM on August 3, 2004 [1 favorite]

If it were me, I'd hire some high school kids for minimum wage, and ask them to cut letters out of newspapers and glue them to the invitations, to compose the text of the invite, kidnapper style.
posted by Kwantsar at 6:15 PM on August 3, 2004 [1 favorite]

Our push-button world of tomorrow has your answer: here
posted by bonehead at 6:20 PM on August 3, 2004 [1 favorite]

posted by LairBob at 6:39 PM on August 3, 2004

Anybody who might actually think less of you because their invitation to your wedding was not hand-addressed is someone whose judgments you should not take seriously; the very act of forming an opinion that shallow negates its worth. So do what you feel moved to do, and feel no shame if you decide not to hand-address them. At the party for your first anniversary -- hell, at the reception -- I assure you nobody sane will be remarking about how your invitations were addressed.

Hand-done ones, done well, will look better than ones run off by a printer. Hand-done ones done by an untrained amateur will probably look substantially worse than ones done on a printer, and run a serious risk of resembling the sorts of art one sees affixed to refrigerators via the miracle of magnetism. Hand-done ones done by me will be horrifying messes such that you'll find your would-be guests turned to stone in their homes.

Personally, if I were faced with a wedding large enough to make hand-addressing all of the invitations daunting (whatever that might mean to you), I'd divide people up into tiers. Hand-address the ones to your close family (or rather have them hand-addressed nicely one way or another), wedding party, and maybe other close friends, and leave the rest to the tender mercies of the printer. If I had to pick a dividing line, it would be people who would be likely to keep their invitation to your wedding forever (the wedding party, your grandma) vs. people who will throw them away while cleaning up at some point.

(that etiquette page seems daft in places to me. it's not appropriate to use "honour" or "favour" in a wedding invitation unless you're in the Commonwealth, dammit; that's plainly not how those words are spelled in the US and spelling it with an extra U is no more "formal" than transliterating into Cyrillic would be)
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:44 PM on August 3, 2004

me push wrong button. ignore last paragraph. me go punish self now.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:46 PM on August 3, 2004

I've never quite understood why it's necessary to handwrite the very unimportant outside of the envelope (the outer envelope, the one with the address) when what's inside is so clearly not handwritten.

But I'd still handwrite the interior envelope, where the names of the invitees are reproduced in standard greeting form; this is where your local calligrapher-for-hire can have fun at a much lower cost. Check into it, you may be pleasantly surprised.

Meanwhile, another point of etiquette, when inviting people of adult age who live in the same house with their parents, name them individually instead of doing the "and family" thing, especially if it's just one person. It's hard enough being an adult living at home without being treated as a nameless afterthought.
posted by Dreama at 9:14 PM on August 3, 2004

Can I ask a follow-up wedding invitation etiquette question? You know that part of the RSVP card, where, after you put your name it says "will __________ attend"?
Am I supposed to treat that like a MadLib? What adverb goes there for acceptance? Gladly?
posted by .kobayashi. at 9:18 PM on August 3, 2004

Meanwhile, another point of etiquette, when inviting people of adult age who live in the same house with their parents, name them individually instead of doing the "and family" thing, especially if it's just one person. It's hard enough being an adult living at home without being treated as a nameless afterthought

By strict etiquette rules, anyone 16 and older should receive their own invitation, entirely.

As for the OP, handwriting them makes them more personal, especially if the envelope doesn't scream invitation. I know a few people who did not open invitations thinking they were junk mail.
posted by SuzySmith at 10:06 PM on August 3, 2004

I think this can be answered with another question: How formal will the wedding be? If the ceremony and reception will be extremely formal, then you should/would want to hire a professional calligrapher to do the addressing for you. If you are gettin' hitched in Vegas, a few phone invitations would be fine. Find your level of formality in between and act accordingly.

Me? I had my mom address the envelopes. Her handwriting was better, and she felt needed. Do you have a friend or obscure family member who really wants to be a part of the wedding but you have no place for them to help out? Hand them your envelopes, invitations, and a spreadsheet and ask them to assemble, address, and mail them for you.
posted by rhapsodie at 10:35 PM on August 3, 2004

Kobayashi: You would write in "not" if you couldn't make it. Although if you could make it, and you want to write in "joyfully" or something, I'm sure the couple would get a chuckle out of it.
posted by GaelFC at 7:50 AM on August 4, 2004

Kobayashi I've written "2" to indicate that I and a guest (as invited) would attend. It's possible I've committed a huge faux pas though.
posted by callmejay at 8:24 AM on August 4, 2004

rhapsodie is right on. If your wedding and invites are formal, handwrite the envelopes. If not, nobody will care. Our invites and wedding are both informal, so I did a mail merge off excel and printed the envelopes with a font we liked. They looked great.
posted by widdershins at 8:59 AM on August 4, 2004

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