Correct Correspondence – Reader Q&A

Q. I wanted to see if you would be willing to give a little clarification on how to address people on an envelope. Specifically, with titles and without titles. Also, what about women who don’t change their last name after marriage? I appreciate your help!

A. Thank you for reading! I am more than happy to help. Let’s start with the basics. If John Smith and Jane Smith are married and are of equal ranks, it would Mr. and Mrs. John Smith. If you choose a more informal approach it would be Jane and John Smith. The old adage is, “you never separate a man from his name.” Yes, it’s a little dated, but it’s a decent way to remember which name goes first. If Jane had kept her maiden name of Johnson, it would be Mr. John Smith and Ms. Jane Johnson. She would never be addressed as Mrs. Smith, as she didn’t take that name. She would be Ms. Johnson. Now, let’s say she did take his last name of Smith. Traditionally, she would always be referred to as Mrs. John Smith and not Mrs. Jane Smith. Nowadays, it is completely acceptable to list Mrs. Jane Smith, if that is her preference.

If Jane is a doctor, and her husband is not, on the envelope it would be Dr. Jane Smith and Mr. John Smith. If they are both doctors, it may read Drs. Jane and John Smith.

If children are included on the envelope, they are addressed on a separate line below their parents’ names. For a boy, traditionally under the age of 10, the title of Master is to be used. He drops having a title after 10 until he turns 18, at which time he becomes a Mister and warrants his own invitation, even if he lives with his parents.

Girls traditionally did not have a title until age 10. It’s very common now, though, to refer to a female as Miss from birth on. At 18, she, too, receives her own invitation, even if she resides with her parents. I hope this helps!

 

 

Married Monograms!

In honor of #weddingwednesday, I wanted to touch base on married monograms. It’s easy to want to jump the gun and present your married monogram sooner than etiquette dictates; however, it really is best to save it for your wedding day – speaking of monograms, of course. Ahem.

Anytime before “I now pronounce you man and wife” is uttered, you should use your maiden monogram. Once those magic words are said, feel free to flaunt your married monogram! Just a few notes: the wife’s initial is first on about 99.999999999999% of things. In the rare case you are monogramming your beer mugs or anything similar, his initial would do first. Here are a couple of ways to use your married monogram.

married-monogram1

Now, what about if there’s a title, as in the case of stamps? Yes, I know what you’re thinking: “What about the rule that you never separate a man from his name?” Well, in this case, the “Mr. and Mrs.” trumps this rule. Thus, if there is a title, his name would go first.

So, to break it down: John Brown and Anna Brown.

You could write Mr. and Mrs. John Brown or Anna and John Brown. Their monogram would be ABJ, with the “B” larger than the other letters.

I’d love to know your thoughts! Do you monogram anything? Why or why not?