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letterpress-cards-with-crane-s-lettrar-paper-with-monogram-9583mWhen it comes to the dos and don’ts of using stationery, there are several key tips to keep in mind.  To ensure your letters, thank you cards, and invitations follow the rules, we present the top tips in stationery etiquette.


The first tip has to do with addressing your card, letter, or thank-you card.  When it comes to names, in formal occasions you do not want to use abbreviations.  Here is an example:

Do:           Doctor James Brown

Do Not:  Dr. James Brown

Using standard etiquette rules, if you address an invitation or card to a couple, you always want to start with the husband’s name and title, followed by his wife.  Here is another example:

Do:        Doctor and Mrs. James Brown

Judge and Mrs. James Brown

If middle names are included, spell them out, too.

Do:           James Crawford Brown

Do Not:   James C. Brown

Yet another tip has to do with addressing children.  As long as a child is over the age of 18, they should receive their own invitation or announcement.  A child younger than 18 would not receive their own invitation.

Addressing Envelopes

When it comes to the envelope your note, card, or letter is enclosed in, make sure that you address the envelope by following a few key tips.

First of all, always make sure you use dark blue or black ink on an envelope.  Like the examples above, also make sure you are not using abbreviations.  This includes not using a symbol for the word “and.”  Instead, write it out.  Also, do not use abbreviations for professional titles.  It is acceptable to use an abbreviation for a non-professional title, such as Mrs. or Mr.

Another tip in stationery and envelope etiquette has to do with the address, itself.  If the address includes numbers, you typically write them in numeral form.  The exception is the number one when it stands alone.  Here is an example:

Do:  One Elm Street

Do Not:  1 Elm Street

Any apartment numbers, zip codes, or suite numbers should also appear in numeral form.  When you get to the state, do not abbreviate it, either.

Do:          California

Do Not:  CA

Also, do not abbreviate any common addresses, like Boulevard, Avenue or Street.  They should always be written out in long form.

As for your return address, it should be printed on the back flap of the envelope, visible when your envelope is sealed.  You should not include your name here, only your address.  On the front of the envelope, center the address of your recipient.  You want to make sure you have used the same style of font and the same color of ink on the outside of your envelope that you used on the inside.

Stuffing Envelopes

When you are ready to stuff your card or letter into the envelope, make sure the printed side appears when your recipient opens it.  In other words, they should see the writing on the invitation immediately, without flipping it over, so make sure the announcement faces the envelope flap when you put it inside.

Which Type Is Appropriate?

When it comes to which type of stationery you should use, it depends greatly on the situation.  Correspondence cards, also known as flat cards, work well for a variety of occasions.  They are useful for thank-you cards, invitations, or even as postcards.

Fold notes, also known as fold over notes, are appropriate for thanking friends and family members for birthday gifts, wedding gifts, and non-occasion gifts.

If you have a lot to say, choose a letter sheet.  This type of stationery is appropriate for a long-form letter, especially if you need to update family members about something or write to a friend you have not spoken to in some time.

Have Some on Hand

Finally, one great tip when it comes to stationery etiquette is to always have some on hand, just in case you need it.  While weddings and birthday celebrations are often planned out well in advance, sometimes you become the recipient of a gift or a good deed just out of the blue.  In this case, it is always nice to be able to thank the person behind the gesture as soon as possible.  In fact, it is considered in good form to write and deliver a thank you quickly, to show your appreciation.  Having a few extra, classically designed cards can be a real blessing.

American Stationery provides a large and unique collection of products aimed at working for all occasions.  From wedding showers to birthdays and holidays, American Stationery offers the products you need.

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