Frequently Asked Everyday Etiquette… Correct Personalization for Stationery

The time has come to order some personalized stationery for you, a family member or close friend.  By the way, stationery makes a GREAT gift!!!  You have picked out the style of stationery (letter sheet, folded note or correspondence card), the paper color, the printing method (thermography, blind embossing or flat print) and the color of ink . . . now comes the proper personalization!!!  I will break this down by the person who will be using the stationery and give you options ranging from very formal and traditional to casual and most often used.

Single girl or young woman
    Miss Ashley Anne Jones            Most formal & traditional
    Ashley Anne Jones
    Ashley Jones                Popular Choice
    Ashley                    Casual & Popular Choice
    AAJ                    Initial – with or without periods

        AJA*                    Monogram & Popular Choice

*When creating a monogram, the center letter is the initial of the last name and always larger.

The right hand letter is for the first name and the left hand letter is for the middle or maiden

name.

Married lady using her name only
    Mrs. William C. Jones            Most formal & traditional
    Mary Louise Jones
    M
JL                    Monogram with middle name initial
    Mary Watson Jones*            Popular Choice
    M
JW*                    Monogram with maiden name initial & Popular Choice
    Mary W. Jones                Popular choice
    Mary Jones                Popular Choice
*I would say that more married women use their maiden name than their middle name.

Widowed lady
    Mrs. Jonathan Alan Smith        Most formal & traditional
    Rebecca Watson Smith            Using maiden name & popular choice
    RSW                    Monogram using maiden name initial & Popular Choice

Divorced lady
    Mrs. Rebecca Watson Smith        Most formal & traditional
    Rebecca Watson Smith            Using maiden name & Popular Choice
    R
SW                    Monogram using maiden name initial & Popular Choice
Before I go any further, you may be wondering why I did not use Ms. in any of the above examples.  Traditional etiquette says that the title Ms. should be reserved for business & professional use & for social correspondence.  This is all well & good, but Ms. is becoming more frequently used especially when addressing an envelope for a letter or invitation.  Mature single women opt for Ms. instead of Miss also some divorced women prefer Ms. instead of Mrs.   I say let good judgment and personal preference determine the use of this social title.

Here are more FREQUENTLY Asked Questions . . .

Whose name comes first for Married Couples?
Of course, the only proper way to write Mr. and Mrs. is just this way. There are many differing opinions on whose name goes first when social titles are not used.  I am a firm believer of “LADIES FIRST”.  Now you are asking WHY?!!?!!  The man’s first and last name really should not be separated.  Another one of my favorite reasons is that it is the lady who usually uses this stationery.  

    Mr. and Mrs. William Conley Smith    Most formal & traditional
    Mr. and Mrs. William C. Smith        More formal & traditional
    Mary and William Smith        Popular Choice
    Mary and Bill Smith            Popular Choice
    MSW*                    Joint Monogram & Popular Choice
*The first letter of the joint monogram is the lady’s first name – the middle letter is the last name & larger – the last letter is the husband’s first name.

What should married couples with different last names do?
Today this is becoming a more common practice.  It can be a real challenge to make joint personalization work.  Below would be the traditional recommendation:
   
    Lauren Williams and Jason Davis

I find this rather cumbersome & it can overpower the stationery you have chosen.  Most often I suggest that each person get his own personalized stationery.  Another alternative (very casual) is to drop last names:
   
    Lauren and Jason

The above personalization can also be used by an unmarried couple who is living together or engaged & has need for stationery for joint correspondence (thank you notes, etc.).

WHEW!!!!    Once I get started it is hard to stop.  This article really touches on two or three of frequently asked questions.  

Ms. Carey 

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