Tuesday, September 8, 2009

addressing the envelopes

OK, so it's actually a lot more complicated than (not my) boyfriend to the left would have you believe!

We are getting close to really taking action with our invitations. Enough planning, plotting, discussing and designing, we're ready to print these mothers!

While we're cooking with that, I want our calligrapher to get started on the envelopes. We decided to hire Fran Heider at Little Flower Calligraphy, who I discovered from Mrs. Swan! We're even using the same font as Mrs. Swan, "social butterfly."

I have to get our addresses all ready for Fran, and a whole host of questions have come up, most of which, from my perspective, require a good balance of etiquette, patience and feminism*.

What? Oh, yes. See, one little nagging issue is the "Mr. & Mrs. His-first-name His-last-name." I plan to take Garth's last name, but that's it! I am still Julia. I'll just be Julia His-last-name. I'm me! I am not becoming Garth.

The reason why this bothers me is that when names are phrased in that manner, it suggests:

Individual Man with His Own Identity + Wife.

Uh-uh! I will be more than "wife," and all the wives I know are more than "wife."

However, I am putting these feelings aside for the most part. For folks who are my parents age, I am going easily with "Mr. & Mrs." Heck, my mom prefers that, and she is a wicked feminist.

It turns out, most of our married friends do not share the same last name. I did some checking, and discovered that you address married people with two last names in this manner:

Mr. Donald Draper & Ms. Betty Friedan

Though I suppose you would call her "Elizabeth," not "Betty," and lose the ampersand. If you want to be really correct, you write:

Mr. Donald Draper
Ms. Elizabeth Friedan

Also correct is to list the names in alphabetical order, as above.

In our case, we're listing couples in the order that we most like each member of the couple:

Mr. Bradley Pitt & Ms. Angelina Jolie

Just kidding. We're listing them in the order of who we were friends with first. I have a girlfriend whose boyfriend's last name falls before hers in the alphabet, but I have never even met him. I am certainly not putting his name first.

I also found out that if one member of the couple is a doctor, you list that person's name first, even if (gasp!) it is the woman:

Dr. Jill Biden & The Hon. Joseph Biden

Ok, kidding again -- a senator would probably come first. But I couldn't think of another famous couple where the wife was a doctor and the husband was not. Hopefully, you get the point.

Other points:

The if a child is invited, and lives at home, the name goes on the next line after the parents' (this was an issue for me because I am inviting my 19 year-old cousin, who for all intents and purposes lives at home).

What to do about middle initials? I have generally read that you either use the middle name or leave it out together. No initials.

What tricky envelope addressing issues have come up for you?

*At the risk of calling out an entire paper company, I would avoid consulting Crane's for etiquette advice. They are in the dark ages, man. If a husband and wife are both doctors, they still have the woman using her "social title," which is "Mrs." To hell with that!

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