the do's & don'ts

Please welcome Kelle from designsgirl, our first guest blogger! Kelle is a local artist and calligrapher who creates drool-worthy hand lettered art. Naturally she is an expert at all of the nitty gritty details of proper etiquette. Below she outlines some of the do's and don'ts of addressing your wedding invitations. Or if like me, you find this a bit overwhelming you could enlist the expertise of Kelle for your wedding invites!

As a wedding calligrapher, I serve the role of hand lettering a bride's wedding envelopes as well as serving as etiquette guide, assisting the bride with the proper form of addressing her guest's name on each envelope.

With more modern calligraphy styles and less formal weddings comes the temptation to be less formal in the form of address. I always tell brides that they should not confuse "formal" with "proper". Proper is always the standard by which you address your envelopes.

It is a sign of respect for a recipient to receive an invitation that is properly addressed and this is the perfect occasion in which the bride can show her grace and elegance.

Today, there are many etiquette resources but the definitive rules can be found in Crane's Wedding Blue Book and the time honored words of our leading ladies of etiquette- Emily and Elizabeth Post and Judith Martin (Miss Manners).

These are some of the lesser known guidelines for situations that invariably arise:

It is customary never to separate the husband's first name from his surname. Mr. and Mrs. Michael Logan could also be addressed as Jennifer and Michael Logan but not Michael and Jennifer Logan.

When inviting families and the children's names are not known or when there are more than three children, it is fine to write Mr. and Mrs. Michael Logan and Family. When the children's names are known, use first names only, in order of age, starting with the eldest, as in Mr. and Mrs. Michael Logan, Michael Jr., Rachel and Lilly.

If a married couple includes a woman doctor, write Dr. Jennifer Logan and Mr. Michael Logan. If both are doctors, state The Doctors Logan or Drs. Jennifer and Michael Smith. Most agree that you do not need to spell out the entire word "Doctor" for the title.

Always address a widow as Mrs. John Williams; never use her first name i.e. Mrs. Jacqueline Williams.

Invitations to girls under age eighteen should be addressed Miss Rachel Logan. For ages eighteen and over, Ms. is preferred. Boys under age nine are referred as Master. Between ages nine and seventeen, no title is needed. At eighteen, Mr. is used.

And, you are not required to spell out the word "and" between the words Mr. and Mrs. You may ask the calligrapher to use a decorative ampersand to give the lettering a bit of flourish."

- Kelle Anne McCarter, designsgirl.com