Originally created 05/12/02

Formal invitations should be addressed in the proper order



Dear Carson: Please advise me on the proper etiquette for addressing graduation invitations.

Which way is the inner envelope placed in the outer envelope? Does the return address go in the upper left-hand corner of the outer envelope or on the envelope flap? Do you use personalized seals on just the inner envelope, outer envelope, both or none? Do you address the inner envelope: "Mary and John" or "John and Mary"? What if there are children to be included on the inner envelope? - Invitation Angst

Dear Reader: Invitations for formal events come with an outer envelope, the invitation, a tissue for engraved invitations (to keep the ink from smearing) and perhaps a reply card with its own envelope. The invitation faces the flap (with protective tissue enclosed) and all other enclosures also face the flap, so that the person stuffing them can read them.

Even though the postal service prefers the return address on the upper left-hand corner of the envelope, formal invitations should have the return address on the back flap.

I do not use seals. As for the address on the inner envelope, use "Mr. and Mrs. Smith," not first names. If children are included, add "and Family" on the outer envelope and the inner one as well.

Dear Carson: Is the family of the groom required to throw the bride a shower? - Shower Shoulds

Dear Reader: Bridesmaids or close friends should host a bridal shower. It is highly inappropriate for close family of the bride or the groom to host a shower.

Dear Carson: A group of us is planning a surprise get-together to celebrate a close friend's birthday. We, her family and friends, have scheduled events on the majority of the days and have a few free days.

Would it be appropriate on one of the free days to take the guest of honor (who is also my business partner) away to do business? She knows that her family is going and some of the things being planned, but does not know I am going, ergo the surprise. - Wanting to Do What's Right

Dear Right: If I were you, I would leave business to business and not introduce something that does not include the other guests. Only you know if it is appropriate to ask if this would cause your partner any discomfort for this occasion.

Write to Ask Carson, The Augusta Chronicle, PO Box 1928, Augusta, GA 30903-1928. Send e-mail to askcarson@comcast.net. Carson Elliott's Web site is at www.theproperthing.com.