(Closed) Invitations – hand write return address?

posted 11 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
3928 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: March 2011

Yes, you need to keep it consistent. If you hand write the recipients address, you need to hand write the return address.

Post # 4
6610 posts
Bee Keeper

I’ve had plenty of friends who have had formal, handwritten invitations, with the return address printed on the back flap. They were beautiful and traditional. In my book, there’s nothing wrong with that.

Post # 6
4460 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I don’t see why it matters. Your return dress is there for the post office mostly so if something happens, they return it. I don’t think your wedding will be looked down on if you did return labels. I’m going to do it that way. My handwriting is starting to look like doctor’s handwriting. I now type 99% of my day and it’s painful to write with a pen for more than 5 minutes. Crazy, I know. 

Post # 7
3683 posts
Sugar bee

Wow, I never even realized how fancy wedding invitation envelopes were til I joined WB. I’m guessing the invites I’ve gotten over the years have had fancy handwriting but I just never noticed. So I’m guessing my labels for addresses is a horrible idea… 

Post # 8
2076 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2010 - Ceremony - First United Methodist Church; Reception - My parents' house!

You can also get custom stamps made inexpensively, either with type or your own hand-writing, and then you could just stamp them all! Sort of a good average between the two. 🙂

Post # 9
242 posts
Helper bee

I have horrible handwriting, so I’m printing labels for both the return address and the guests’ addresses.  The post office wouldn’t know where to send them if I hand wrote the addresses.

Post # 10
1094 posts
Bumble bee

Traditionally, a lady always had her own personal stationery (some of us still do). The letter sheets were engraved with her home address and (if she had one) with her personal crest or monogram. They were of heavy white or ecru paper, folded once along the left side (the better quality was folded twice: first along the top and then along the left side) were about four by six inches after folding. She would have envelopes to match in size, and the envelopes would be similarly engraved with her return address.

Sounds a lot like a wedding invitation, doesn’t it?

That’s because a proper formal wedding invitation *is* nothing more than formal lady’s stationery, with an invitation already written on it at the printers. If a lady were having a party with few enough guests, she would write her invitations by hand (which is actually considered MORE formal and correct than having them mechanically printed). Engraving the invitation is a compromise reached in the nineteenth century between practicality and etiquette. Check out your Jane Austen, where ladies are described hand-writing every single invitation for grand balls and similar events. Engraving is still, according to Protocol, the only approved alternative to hand-writing, but just try to find a real engraver in most cities! So most of us unhappily resort to letterpress or ink-jet printing.

But, even after hand-writing those invitations, you put them into engraved (or nowadays, printed) envelopes. You couldn’t have the actual addresses engraved (even thirty years ago) because engraving is done by hand-etching a copper plate and then using it to apply the ink to the paper. You’d have had to individually set up every single envelope! You couldn’t even have done it weith printing, because mail-merge and personal printers were non-existent or rare: that’s why you’re stuck with hand-writing the addresses. But engraving the return addresses has been done since *my* great-grandmonther’s time. In fact, HAVING personal stationery nowadays is one indicator of an old-fashioned etiquette-stickler.

If you really want to do things proper, get the second basic stationery element all ladies used to have: little half-size engraved fold-over notes called “informals” and little matching half-sized engraved envelopes. A lady would use those for her thank-you notes, or for sending with flowers, or for issuing informal invitations to things like tea or lunch.

Post # 11
7039 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2010

To protocol I say this:


I made great labels for our return addresses. We had very modern, clean invites, and didn’t want handwriting mucking it up. Arbitrary, outdated rules don’t have to be followed. If someone is offended by your return address type, well, there are about 80 billion mor eimportant things to be in ahuff about ;-P

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