After the Wedding

You’ve said I Do. Been pronounced Mr. & Mrs. And kissed to seal the deal. Now it’s time to show off your shiny new titles. Here’s what to include in your couples' stationery wardrobe.

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Thank You Notes
Informals
Gift Acknowledgement Cards
Calling Cards

Thank You Notes


The couple that is gracious together stays together. Here are the answers to some of the most common questions about thank you notes:
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When should I send my thank you notes?
You should send thank you notes as soon after the wedding as possible. They will seem more sincere if sent in a timely manner.

Should my thank you notes match my wedding invitations?
Yes. Wedding Thank You Notes are ecru or white fold-over notes that match your wedding invitations. Referred to as Informals, they are actually quite formal notes. Your monogram is usually blind embossed or engraved in a conservative color on the front of the notes, or your full social name is centered on the front.

Is it appropriate for me to send thank you notes before my wedding?
Yes. Sending them as you receive the gifts is a courtesy to the people who sent the gifts and also cuts down the number you’ll need to send afterwards. However, remember if sent before the wedding, you still need to use stationery engraved with your maiden-name monogram.

How should my monogram read?
The thank you notes you send after your wedding feature the initials of your first name, maiden name and married name. If all the initials in the monogram are the same size, your initials appear in order (first, maiden, married).

When the monogram has a larger center initial, the center initial represents your married name. The initial on its left represents your first name, while the initial on its right represents your maiden name (first, MARRIED, maiden).

Thank you notes sent before the wedding should have your maiden-name monogram engraved on them. Your first name, middle name and maiden name appear in that order in monograms in which all of the letters are the same size.

In monograms with a larger center initial, the center initial represents your last name. It’s flanked on the left by the initial representing your first name and on the right by the initial representing your middle name.

On what page do I start writing my thank you notes?
Monograms appear in the mid-center of the first page of most wedding Thank You Notes. When that is the case, you begin and end your note on page three.

On some thank you notes, the monogram may appear at the top of the first page. If your monogram is at the top, you have the option of either starting on page one or page three. Your message should end on page three. (The whole point of using a small note is to limit the amount of verbiage you have to write.) If you have more to write, however, you’d continue your message on page two.

You should never write on the back of the note.

My husband-to-be will be writing some of our thank you notes. How should our monogram read?
Thank you notes, like any other social correspondence, are personal messages written by one person. The thank you notes you write may be written on behalf of you and your husband, but they are still written by you and you alone. Therefore, only your monogram appears on them. Likewise, you sign just your name at the end of your note.

If your husband-to-be will be writing his share of thank you notes, he should do so on his own stationery. Men most often use correspondence cards instead of fold-over notes.

What are correspondence cards?
Correspondence cards are flat cards that are mailed in their own envelopes. Your fiancé’s name or monogram appears at the top of the card. He should only write on the front of his correspondence card, a rule he will come to appreciate after writing his first few Thank You Notes. The separate stationery that you and your husband-to-be use for your wedding Thank You Notes can be used afterward for any other short correspondences.

I’m keeping my maiden name. My husband-to-be will be writing some of the thank you notes. How should our monogram read?
Your best bet is to use two small, separate, matching monograms — yours on the left, his on the right — joined by a motif of some sort. 

I’m getting re-married. What initials do I use on my thank you notes?
Second-time (and third-time) brides use the initials representing their first name, maiden name and new married name. The initial representing their first married name is not used.

I’m keeping my maiden name. What initials do I use?
Since your name is not changing, your monogram stays the same. You continue to use the initials of your first, middle and last names.

Is it proper for me to use my middle name instead of my maiden name?
While some women continue to use their middle names after they are married, it’s customary for them to use their maiden name as a middle name instead. By using their maiden names, married women can retain their identities as members of the families into which they were born.

I’m hyphenating my maiden and married names. How does my monogram read?
The initials you use represent your first name, middle name and hyphenated maiden and married names. All four of your initials appear in order in monograms in which all of the initials are the same size.

Your hyphenated maiden and married names appear in the center of monograms that normally have a larger middle initial. The initial representing your first name appears to the left while your middle initial appears to the right. The hyphen does appear between your maiden and married initials.

Since most monogram styles are designed for three initials, you should make sure the monogram you choose looks good with four initials. Before ordering hundreds of notes, you should ask to see a proof.

My new last name is McHenry. What initial do I use in my monogram?
You may use either M or McH. It’s a matter of personal preference.

I’d like to use single-initial notes for my pre-wedding thank yous. Should I use my first or last initial?
Although there’s no set rule, most women use the initial representing their last name on single-initial notes.

Is it proper to have our return address engraved on the envelope flap?
Years ago, it was not considered proper for the return address to be engraved on the flaps of the envelopes in which wedding thank you notes were sent. The return address was either handwritten or left off entirely.

Today, the postal service requests that all mail carry a return address, so it’s now appropriate to have the return address engraved. It’s also a great convenience.

How many Thank You Notes should I order?
After you finish writing your thank you notes, you may use your wedding notepaper for any short correspondence. Therefore, you should order enough to cover all your thank yous plus extra for later on. It’s a good idea to think ahead since stationery is less expensive per piece when ordered in larger quantities.

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Informals


Despite their name, Informals are rather formal notes. Informals are small, fold-over notes that have a woman’s full social name centered on the front. They are always ecru or white and engraved in black ink. To deviate from this format is to create something other than an Informal. Informals were originally used for invitations to informal events, responses to informal events, reminders and gift enclosure cards, but now they can be used as thank you notes.

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When used as wedding thank you notes, informals read, “Mrs.” followed by the name of the groom. Since the Informals will be used by the bride only, “Mr. and Mrs.” should not appear on them. Informals that have “Mr. and Mrs.” on them are appropriate only for informal invitations issued by both husband and wife.

Can the engraving plate I use for my “Mrs.” Informals also be used for “Mr. and Mrs.” Informals?
Yes, since in most cases the “Mr. and” can be omitted. In fact, it’s a good idea when ordering “Mrs.” Informals to order an engraving plate with “Mr. and Mrs.” for future use.

I’m keeping my maiden name. How should my Informals read?
Despite their name, Informals are rather formal notes. Therefore, they normally require the use of a title. Unfortunately, there’s no appropriate title for a married woman who uses her maiden name. “Miss” is not appropriate because it indicates you are not and have never been married. “Mrs.” is only correctly used with your husband’s name, and “Ms.” is not considered acceptable on social stationery.

Your only option, therefore, is to use your maiden name without a title.

Is it proper for us to use our first name on Informals?
Since informals are actually formal notes, the use of first names on them would create “informal” Informals. If you’d like to use first names on your notepaper, you should use less formal stationery such as a colorful note or correspondence card.

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Gift Acknowledgement Cards

Back in the day, when a honeymoon might mean a cruise around the world or a summer in Europe, gift acknowledgment cards were used to postpone the bride’s obligation to send personal thank you notes.

Today, however, the reason is more likely an extraordinary number of gifts or pressing professional responsibilities.

Nevertheless, gift acknowledgment cards are still sent — sometimes even by the bride’s mother — to buy the bride and groom additional time to send their Thank You Notes.

Gift acknowledgment cards don’t take the place of thank you notes. They merely acknowledge that a gift has been received and mention that a personal thank you note is forthcoming.

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Calling Cards


Traditionally, calling cards were used as a way for the bride to announce her new identity and all the contact information that may go with it.
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Today, however, calling cards are used by both the bride and the groom at social occasions to share their contact information — hopefully to ensure future social occasions.

Since many young professionals change jobs frequently, a calling card is also a good substitute  for the business card, ensuring all their pertinent information is up-to-date. This also allows a bride or groom to have separation between their work and social lives.

The etiquette for formal calling cards is the same as the etiquette used for weddings. For formal social cards, names and social titles are used. Men and women under the age of 18, however, don’t use titles. Some older women, especially those who are divorced, choose not to use their titles either. Calling cards should be ordered with envelopes if they will be used as gift enclosures.

Is it proper to use “Ms.” on calling cards?
Since calling cards are formal, “Ms.” is not used. Women, however, may drop their titles altogether.

Is it proper to use abbreviations?
All titles except “Mr.” and “Mrs.” should be written out. Some titles, however, may be abbreviated when space is a problem (with the exception of “The Reverend,” which is never abbreviated). If additional space is needed, the middle name may be omitted.

Is it proper to use initials?
Initials are not properly used on calling cards. All names should be written out.

Is it proper to put addresses on calling cards?
While it’s proper to have your address engraved in the lower right-hand corner, it’s more personal to add it in your own handwriting. This honors the recipient by implying you don’t give out your address to just anyone.

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Have more questions about wedding etiquette? Email our Crane Concierge at concierge@crane.com.​​​