One of my favorite traditions of the holidays are cards of well wishes to loved ones and call me old fashioned, but I think it is important to address them correctly. By addressing the envelope correctly, you are honoring the recipient. I have the privilege of knowing Mr. Robert Hickey, the premier authority in the United States on forms of address. He is a wealth of knowledge and has written his own book, HONOR &RESPECT The Official Guide to Names, Titles and Forms of Address. You can order the book on his website, www.formsofaddress.com. I just ordered a few myself as Christmas gifts.
In the meantime, I will give you a few quick tips of basic forms of address for some sticky situations. As Bob Dylan said, “the times, they are -a -changin’ “. Etiquette rules change with the time, but below are a few of the latest rules. Who knows where we will go with forms of address. One HUGE topic right now amongst women is whether or not to include their first names in proper forms of address.Once etiquette rules become offensive, it is usually time to rethink the rule. However, traditionally, the correct way for a married couple’s name to appear on an envelope is Mr. and Mrs. Joe Brown, keeping in tradition of not separating a man’s first name from his family name. Here are a few examples:
Divorced Woman: Mrs. Jane Smith
Widowed Woman: Mrs. John Smith
Same Sex Couple: Just list each name fully on two lines listing them alphabetically by family (last) name
Two Doctors with same last name: The Doctors Smith
Married couple, but woman kept maiden name: Mr. John Smith and Ms. Jane Doe or use two lines and indent. Either name may be used first.
A woman who outranks her husband: The Honorable Jane Doe and Mr. John Doe
Unmarried couple at the same address: Ms. Jane Doe
Mr. John Smith (use two lines and do not use the word “and”
A woman who outranks her husband professionally: Dr. Jane Smith and Mr. John Smith
Girls are always addressed as Miss until teenage years, then Ms. is acceptable.
Boys have traditionally been addressed as Master until they are 8 or 9, but that is becoming old fashioned and Mr. is just as appropriate.
If you have any specific questions, please ask!!! I will be happy to answer any question you might have!!