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Discussion Forums

The Etiquette Queen

Invitations & Mailings


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Ask your questions of the Etiquette Queen now.
You may even see your question and answer posted in the space below.


Christine asked:

Regarding a formal response card to a wedding. Sometimes there is an "M" followed by a blank line. Are you to use the "M" as part of Mr. writing r. and the name, followed by accept and decline? How do you use the "M".

The Etiquette Queen says:

The M with the line allows the recipient to respond, regardless of gender. If a male you add the "r" and a period followed by the name. If a female, add the "s" and a period followed by the name. If a married couple, complete Mr. & Mrs. and if a couple, put both names.


Jackson asked:

What is the proper way to address my college graduation announcements?

The Etiquette Queen says:

If going to a married couple - Mr. & Mrs. If going to a single male - Mr. If going to a single female - Ms. If going to a co-habituating couple, use both of their full names (Mr. John Smith & Ms. Jane Doe.


Crystal asked:

I'm having my sweet 16 in April and my theme is "holly wood" but I don't know what type of invitations to give out! please help!!=)

The Etiquette Queen says:

Choose some of your favorite stars and scan their photos and create the cover of your invitation with a cut and paste method. Or you could use a picture of an awards trophy.


Robin asked:

My boyfriend and I have been together for over 10 months, do I need to invite his parents to my college graduation party? I have met them but under a dozen times. Do I need to?

The Etiquette Queen says:

It depends. Are there going to be other adults invited besides you family? If so, invite them and let them decide whether to come or not. If it will be mostly people your age, you probably don't need to invite. Why not include your boy friend in this decision.


Peggy asked:

What is the proper wording for an open house invitation for celebration of an 80 year old birthday regarding no gifts please. Thank you

The Etiquette Queen says:

I would just say what you just said to me. The family of Mrs. Jane Doe proudly invites you to celebrate her 80th birthday on (date), (place), any time between (hours of party). In lieu of gifts, please just bring yourself. That's the best gift of all. You might want to have everyone write down a memory of her and collect them and put them in a book.


Mary Anne asked:

My fiancé is a widower. He would like to have his deceased wife's name mentioned somewhere on the Bar Mitzvah invitations he is planning to send out for their son. Is there any way of including her name on the invite?

The Etiquette Queen says:

You could put Mr. and Mrs. John Doe and Jane Doe


Lisa asked:

I'm throwing a 30th birthday party for my fiancé and want people to just bring jokes gifts. I don't want people to feel like they have to by something for him if they generally don't for his birthday. How should I word this on the invitation?

The Etiquette Queen says:

First of all, use a funny invitation, maybe one that ties into a theme you will be using. On the invitation just put "gag gifts only please".


Denise asked:

New to the children's party scene some mothers of children (ages 3-8) mail a thank you to my child from theirs after the party. Is this necessary since the child was thanked in person and with the rising cost of postage these days? I know is proper and a way to teach children manners, but it appears to me more of a coup for the parents.

The Etiquette Queen says:

The motive of any gesture is strictly up to the person making the gesture. How can anyone be offended by a thank you note. My grandchildren's mothers sent notes for every present received. As the person getting the note, I was pleased. But you can do whatever you want.


Gloria asked:

I am planning a 50th. Birthday for my husband. I work at a reputable restaurant/lounge in the area we live in. I want to have a Sunday afternoon into the evening party on the terrace with hot appetizers, pasta, pizza, etc......but I can't afford to supply cocktails for 70 people. Is it tacky to include "Cash Bar" on invitations to a party where people feel compelled to bring a gift?

The Etiquette Queen says:

I don't think so. If you are providing the food, decorations, location, party plans, it is just find to put BYOB. You supply the ice, set ups and soft drinks.


Ana asked:

My ex husband ,myself, and my current husband are giving my 5 year old a birthday party. My ex is now upset because the my name and my new husbands along with our phone number is on the invite. My ex had agreed that the RSVP should go to me, since I was in charge of all the planning and he was only going to contribute monetarily. I feel since there was no 'given by' blank to fill out, there was no harm done by not having his name on the invites.

The Etiquette Queen says:

I have to say that you were wrong not to put his name on the invite. If he is contributing, he is a host, along with you. Remember, this is for your child, leave your personal feelings down the road. Apologize to him, and have a good party with good feelings. You might want to announce to the adults at the party that he is a host also.


Kayla asked:

I'm giving my parents a 25th wedding anniversary party and I'm still in college and cannot afford to pay for over fifty(50) people to eat. So my mom's friend suggested that we have it at a place where everyone would pay for there own meal. What is the proper way to word this on the invitations? You are invited but need to pay for your own food.

The Etiquette Queen says:

Put 3 food choices and their prices on the invitation RSVP to indicate which they want. Anyone who doesn't get the hint will have to be reminded at the dinner. But then you should pay for wine, beer and soft drinks and dessert. If anyone wants hard liquor, cash bar.


Betty asked:

I have two questions: 1)My friend daughter is graduating and she wants to celebrate on a dinner cruise, however she wants her guests to pay $75 each, is this appropriate?  2) My husband and I will be married 20 years and would like to treat our family and friends to a dinner cruise to celebrate with us? Some say that you only do this when you make 25 or 50 years is that so? Also we don¹t want them to give gifts?

The Etiquette Queen says:

1) Only if you want to go and if you want to pay that much. 2) You can celebrate any anniversary you choose. In today's world, 20 years can be a lifetime. Just put "no gifts please" on the invite.


Andrea asked:

What is the proper way to address an  envelope to a long-time widow?

The Etiquette Queen says:

How does she like to be referred to, Mrs. John, Mrs. Linda, etc. Find out.


Andrea asked:

What is the proper way to address an  envelope to a long-time widow?

The Etiquette Queen says:

How does she like to be referred to, Mrs. John, Mrs. Linda, etc. Find out.


Andrea asked:

What is the proper way to address an  envelope to a long-time widow?

The Etiquette Queen says:

How does she like to be referred to, Mrs. John, Mrs. Linda, etc. Find out.


Doris asked:

What is the proper way to address an envelope to a couple a) both of whom are doctors and have the same last name and b) both of whom are doctors and have different last names?

The Etiquette Queen says:

If they have the same last name write Drs. John and Jane smith. If they have different last names write one above the other (I assume they live together as a couple.)


cskirkley asked:

When a husband and his wife are both  medical doctors, how do you address the  envelope of a wedding invitation?  thanks.

The Etiquette Queen says:

I might try "Drs. John and Joan Smith.


Mom asked:

I am the mother of the bride. Remarried and her in-laws want to be included on the invitation. This wiil mean three different last names. How do you word the invitations?

The Etiquette Queen says:

I'm not sure of the question. Which name's) are you asking about?


Grace asked:

Every year we give a gala for our area historical society. Every year the same question concerning wording for the attire comes up! Is this such a thing has black tie optional? We want people to know that they need to dress up can wear "black-tie" attire but can also wear cocktail attire. So what would be the wording? Thanks.

The Etiquette Queen says:

You could put either black-tie optional (some will wear a tux and some won't) or put cocktail attire (no one will wear a tux but will be dressed).


Susan asked:

Is it appropriate for a colleague to call and invite me to a professional dinner at 10:30 AM the day of the dinner, and inform me that other colleagues have already been invited and are going to attend?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Well it is last-minute notice but unless you know the circumstances of the late invite, don't loose it. Could be that someone just forgot to tell you. I would go.


Julie asked:

I am having my son's first birthday party (for all of the kids) at Chuck E. Cheese Pizza. My husband and I are paying for the 13 children to attend which are $8.99 each. Which is well over $100.00. My question to you is, how should I let the parents know that they aren't paid for? We are only treating the children. Should I write a little note on the invitation or call them personally? They are all family. Thanks a bunch!

The Etiquette Queen says:

If they are family, just tell them. No need to beat around the bush.


Kelly asked:

Help! I am planning a surprise 80th birthday party for my grandmother. I am inviting approx. 60-70 of her friends and family. Is it appropriate to supply the main course and drinks/desert and ask guests to bring a dish to share in lieu of gifts. I know that my grandma would not want gifts, and this would certainly help with the cost. How do I word the invitation? Thanks a lot!

The Etiquette Queen says:

With that amount of people coming, you probably don't need to supply the main dish, just drinks, mixes, tableware, decorations, etc. Put that it is a pitch-in dinner and ask each person to let you know what they will be bringing so that you don't have all desserts, etc. Then you can manage the menu and fill in the gaps. Happy Birthday.


Nadine asked:

We (3 children, and our spouses) are planning on throwing a 40th Anniversary for our party parents this summer. They have had some health issues so we did not want to wait until the 50th.) We plan on doing it in a church hall so they can renew their vows at the mass, then have a party with their closest 150 friends, and our favorite family band. (Note they are Polish, blue collar from Detroit.) They gave up a lot for my brothers and I and never got to go to Hawaii, their dream. They also did a lot for my cousins and many relatives and friends. Would it be out of place on or in the invitation to suggest that in lieu of gifts we recommended AAA travel gift certificates. And if it would be OK, how would we word this? My two brothers and I are donating for the mass, renting the hall, sit down caterer and band. Mom and Dad threw us all big Polish weddings, fun but very classy and traditional. They love to socialize and mom is the Martha Stewart party queen over the holidays. What do you think?

The Etiquette Queen says:

I think you are great kids and it's a great idea for your parents. There is nothing wrong to ask for that. Make the invitation and theme for the party all Hawaiian. Put a like in the invite just saying "Please help (parents' name) get to Hawaii for real. We are collecting AAA gift certificates for their trip". Look at www.oriental.com for great decorations. Go with the Hawaiian theme for the entire party.


Robin asked:

My 4 year old received a lot of very nice gifts for Christmas this year. As I have always believed in the importance of thank you cards, we have in past years (since he was too young to write them him selves) created a fun picture or drawing (last year I painted his hands with finger paints, and used the prints as the antlers for a really cute reindeer picture) and then included a handwritten thank on the back of the drawing telling the recipient how much he like their gift, etc, etc. My predicament this year is that I have run out of cute thank you card ideas....and yet my son is still too young to actually write them out himself. He is getting really good at writing his name. Is it appropriate to just get a simple thank you card, write a message myself, and have my son sign it? any other ideas?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Why not get creative with your computer. If you have a scanner, scan his self-written name. Have him do it with a different color for each letter. If you have a print-shop program use the card part. If not, make a template yourself, duplicating his name slanted at all four corners and you print a big Thank You in the middle. Use the inside to write a personal message.


Wondering Windy asked:

1. Is it tacky or inappropriate to have a "wishing well reception" for a couple that has everything already and doesn't want gifts?  2. If the answer to question #1 is no, how would you write this on your wedding invitation to let people know that you would like to have a "wishing well reception" in lieu of gifts?

The Etiquette Queen says:

1. Not if you tell the guests first. 2. Find invitations or have invitations made that show a wishing well on the front. Call it a wishing well party. On the inside, along with the facts (time, date, place, etc.) put RSVP for details. hen explain it when they call to respond.


Sharon asked:

I am going to be giving my sister and her husband a 50th Wedding Anniversary Party and it has been suggested that we have a Money Tree. How do I address this on the invitations?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Until I started writing this column, I never heard of a Money Tree. Once I understood what it was, I couldn't believe it. I guess I'm so old fashioned that the thought of asking for money is against my principles unless I'm raising funds for charity. So I guess what I'm saying is that I'm the last one to ask about this.


William asked:

When should you give out the invitations to a party? Two weeks before? One week before?

The Etiquette Queen says:

At least 2 weeks before, I would say the earlier the better.


Sarah asked:

I am in a group of 7 couples that meets once a month for dinner. One couple has cancelled at the last minute the past 3 times when it has been my turn to host the party. They have also done this to another couple. Do I have to keep inviting them despite their rude behavior in order to not offend the other members of the group that they apparently like?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Well, you could continue to invite them and just know they aren't coming looking like the "good" guy. Don't let this get to you, their rude behavior isn't your problem, it's theirs.


Kathy asked:

What is the proper wording for a formal 50th birthday party invitation and RSVP card?

The Etiquette Queen says:

There is no one "wording" form for an invitation. You can get them ready made, or go to a stationery store and look at their samples. That goes for an RSVP card as well.


Stephanie asked:

I wish to ask for money instead of gifts how do I put this on invitations without upsetting people?

The Etiquette Queen says:

You can't do it without offending people. You might spread the word verbally among your friends but you can't ask.


Cathy asked:

I am hosting a Bachelorette Party and would like the attendees to bring lingerie and/or sex toys for the bride to be. How should I word the invitations?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Make it a "fun" invitation and use pictures from Victoria's Secret and other catalogues. Just say what you would like.


Cathy asked:

I am hosting a bridal shower in Feb of 2000. Is it proper to have "RSVP" (assume that those attending will call to confirm), or "Regrets only" (assume everyone is coming unless they call)??

The Etiquette Queen says:

You could go either way but personally I prefer RSVP. You definitely hear from most people one way or another. Regrets only is easy to forget and could make for surprises.


Taryn asked:

My parents are going to Ireland for their anniversary and I am going to throw them a party, how do I politely ask people to give money as a gift, I was thinking a money tree or something to that affect, but I don't want it to sound like they need a hand out or that I'm asking in an inappropriate manner  Please help!

The Etiquette Queen says:

It is never easy to ask for money for these occasions. Maybe you could write a humorous poem saying that in order for them to get "home" from their trip, we all need to contribute because they have only saved up enough for the trip there.


Melissa asked:

Do the hostesses of a baby shower get invitations, too?? Maybe for keepsakes??? There's three hostesses, I'm in charge of invites.

The Etiquette Queen says:

If you would like a souvenir, why not. But hand it to the other hostesses, save the postage.


Stacy asked:

What is the proper way to put a card in an envelope, with the fold on top and the front of the card facing the front (the part where you address the card), or with the fold at the bottom and the front of the card facing the back? What if the card has money in it, does the etiquette change?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Keep the fold at the bottom, especially if enclosing money or a check. Have the front of the card face the back of the envelope.

See more Etiquette Queen Questions on Invitations & Mailings

 

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Subscribe to the FREE monthly Party Talk Newsletter
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*            *
     

Email Marketing by VerticalResponse

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Toll Free Party Line 1-877-514-8411.
4949 Galaxy Parkway, Suite G
Cleveland, Ohio 44128

© 411Unlimited, LLC. All rights reserved.
powered by dynamics online