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Etiquette

 

ACCOMMODATION CARDS
Accommodation cards are enclosed with the invitations sent to out-of-town guests who are unfamiliar with the area and need to make hotel reservations. They list the names and phone numbers of nearby hotels. If you’re paying for your guests' rooms, a notation to that effect is made on the cards.

ADMISSION CARDS
Admission cards are a lot like tickets to the theatre or to a ball game — you need to present them to gain admittance. Admission cards are generally used by well-known people who want to make sure that only invited guests are allowed to attend their wedding. They are sent with the invitations to all guests and may be personalized.

AT-HOME CARDS
Let family and friends know where to reach you after the wedding by including at-home cards with your invitations and announcements. The card stock, lettering style and ink color of these small enclosure cards match the invitations with which they are sent. At-home cards let people know your new address and the date after which you’ll be there. Many couples now have their phone numbers engraved on these cards, a relatively new practice.

The wording for at-home cards sent with the announcements differs from the wording for at-home cards sent with the invitations. At-home cards sent with announcements show your names together as "Mr. and Mrs.," since you’re already married when they are sent. When sent with invitations, your names are not used because you’re not yet married and cannot use "Mr. and Mrs."

While the principal purpose of at-home cards is to let people know your new address, when sent with announcements they can also let people know that you have chosen to continue using your maiden name. Your name appears on the first line followed by your husband's name on line two. The remainder of the card reads as it normally would. Since you could have presented yourself as "Mrs." but did not, recipients will assume you’re still using your maiden name.

The date that most couples use on the card is the date on which they return from their honeymoon.

AT THE RECEPTION
Many times, it’s the little things that make a reception special. While the meal, the dancing and the company are the biggest factors in determining your reception’s success, menu cards, place cards, table cards and escort cards can also add elegance to your affair.

Escort Cards
These small cards tell a gentleman which lady he is expected to escort into the reception. The gentleman's name is written on the envelope, and the lady's name is written on the enclosed card.

Table Cards
Table cards and envelopes are efficient tools for directing your guests to their appointed seats. Placed in the entryway to the reception hall, the envelopes have your guests' names written on them. Inside each envelope, the card has the appropriate table number written on it. When it’s time to be seated, your guests open the envelope with their names on it and head to the table indicated on the card.

Place Cards
When they arrive at their tables, your guests will notice place cards at each place setting. The place cards have your guests' title and last name written on them. When there’s more than one "Mrs. Smith" seated at a table, the first name is added. Traditionally place cards are small white or ecru cards that may be trimmed in gold, silver or in a decorative pattern. A small monogram — either the hosts' or the couples' — may be engraved at the top of these cards.

Menu Cards
Your guests may also find menu cards at their place settings. As the name suggests, menu cards list the menu items being served. The menu is listed in the center of the card. If wine is being served, the wines are listed alongside their appropriate courses. As with place cards, a monogram may be engraved at the top of the cards. Menu cards are usually shared by two people, but you may also have one for each guest. Traditionally menu cards are white or ecru cards that are usually trimmed in gold or silver and must match the place cards. For small receptions, menu cards may be handwritten. For larger receptions, they should be engraved.

BRIDE’S STATIONERY
The Bride’s Stationery is only used AFTER the actual marriage since her “new” name is printed on it.

Informal Note.
Contrary to its name, informal notes are rather formal. An informal note is a small folded note card, personalized on the front with a name or monogram. It may be used for many purposes such as thank-you notes, gift enclosures, informal invitations and any brief correspondence.

Correspondence Card.
More informal than a note, these cards are used for thank-you’s, informal invitations and short notes. Correspondence cards are flat, heavy cards which have a name, monogram or coat of arms at the top.

Gift Acknowledgment Card.
This card is used as a courteous and quick way to acknowledge that a wedding gift has been received. Gift acknowledgement cards are sent when the bride is going on a long honeymoon or when she has a very large wedding and is unable to reply promptly with personalized written notes. Personalized notes should be written at a later date.

PERSONALIZED CALLING CARDS     
When the moment calls for a card, but a business card is too formal, consider a personalized calling card. These cards have many uses; enclosure cards with invitations, gift tags, address cards to keep on hand, etc.

CEREMONY CARDS
For large receptions with small, private ceremonies, invitations are sent to the reception. Guests invited to the ceremony are sent smaller ceremony cards enclosed with their reception invitations. The same size as reception cards, ceremony cards serve as invitations to the ceremony. They are usually engraved to match the reception invitation, but they many be handwritten when the guest list is small.

Despite the size of the card, a formal invitation format is used. "Request the honour of your presence" is used when the ceremony is held in a church, while "request the pleasure of your company" is used when it’s held elsewhere. Both "marriage ceremony" and "wedding ceremony" are proper. Whichever word ("marriage" or "wedding") is used on the reception invitations must be repeated on the ceremony card.

DIRECTIONS & MAP CARDS
Out-of-town guests will appreciate receiving directions cards or map cards.

Directions cards give simple yet explicit directions to your wedding, while map cards are maps with the routes to your wedding highlighted. Map cards generally feature major roads and landmarks to help your guests find their way. When directions cards or map cards are used, the street address is not give on the invitations.
As with other enclosures, directions cards and map cards should complement the wedding invitations. Traditionally they should be engraved in black ink on cards that match the invitations. To make them easier to read while driving, a sans serif (block) lettering style is usually used. Directions cards and map cards are usually sent with the wedding invitations, but may be sent afterwards in an envelope or as a postcard to those who accept your invitation. When sent afterwards, a line reading "We are looking forward to having you attend" may be added to the top of the cards.

INVITATIONS
Invitations not only inform your guests of the date, time, location and hosts of the wedding, they set the tone for your entire celebration. Your wedding invitation may also include the time and location of the reception. Mail announcement six weeks before the wedding and be sure to have your invitations weighed at the post office to determine the proper postage.

Invitation Assembly
The invitations have been addressed and are ready to be mailed. Our easy 1-2-3 guide will help you ensure you get all of the pieces into the appropriate order.

Step A
Lay the invitation face up. This is the bottom piece.
Step B
Lay the tissue (if applicable) on top of the invitation.
Step C
Slip the response card underneath its envelope flap. The text on the response card should be face up. During this step, ensure you have remembered to place the first class postage on the envelope.
Step D
Arrange all other components of your trousseau – reception card, response card/envelope, direction/map card in order of size. Largest (bottom) to smallest (top).
Step E
Slip all pieces from steps 1 – 3 into the inner envelope with the top of the invitation to the left side.
Step F
Turn the inner envelope over so that the guests’ names are face up and insert into the outer envelope.
Step G
Congratulations! You are now ready to seal, stamp and mail!

ENGAGEMENT CARDS
When you become engaged, it is only natural for you to want to share your happiness and exciting news with the ones you love. There is no better way to do this than to throw a magnificent engagement party. Engagement parties are NOT held without both members of the engagement being present!!! Once you have the two "basics" out of the way an engagement party really has no "timing" - other than "sooner than later."
The bride's parents often host this party (surprise or not) and gifts are NOT given at an engagement party. This doesn't mean gifts aren't given - they just aren't given at the party; here's why - tradition has it that engagement gifts usually go to the bride only and are usually only given by family members and very, very close personal friends - these gifts are often mailed to the house or brought along on a personal one-on-one visit.

If a party is not going to be held then an Announcement can also be sent, announcing the happy news.

PEW CARDS
Pew cards are used when specific pews have been assigned for some or all of the guests. This helps the ushers efficiently guide their guests to their assigned seats. Pew cards are sent with the invitations. A space on the card is filled in by hand with the appropriate pew.

RECEPTION CARDS
Reception cards are used whenever the wedding ceremony and reception are held in different places. Because they are at different locations, they are considered separate events. Therefore, they each require their own invitations. Reception cards are not necessary when the ceremony and the reception are held at the same place.

The first line on the reception card indicates the occasion. It reads "Breakfast" when occurring before one o'clock (regardless of the menu) and "Reception" when held at one o'clock or later.
The next line indicates the time and usually reads "immediately following the ceremony." This phrase should not be taken literally, as it simply means the reception will start in, more or less, the amount of time it takes to get from the ceremony to the reception. If the reception is scheduled to start two or more hours after the ceremony ends, the phrase "immediately following the ceremony" should be replaced with the appropriate time (e.g., "at eight o'clock").

The name of the facility at which the reception will take place is given on the third line. The address is usually shown on the fourth line, although it’s omitted whenever the facility is very well known or when directions and map cards are used.

The city and state follow on the next line if they are not the same as those shown on the invitation. If the city and state don’t appear on the reception card, it’s assumed the reception is in the same town as the wedding. Likewise, if the city is different but the state is the same, you need only mention the city. These are options. You may, however, choose to use both city and state. When reply cards are not being sent, a reply is requested in the lower left-hand corner of the reception card. Corner lines are engraved in a smaller size than the body of the reception card. The top line asks your guests to reply by stating either, "The favour of a reply is requested," "R.s.v.p.," or "R.S.V.P." All three are considered proper. However, in some regions, such as the southern United States, "The favour of a reply is requested" is preferred and "R.s.v.p." is frowned upon.

The address to which you’re sending the replies appears on the next two lines. The address shown is the address of the person whose name first appears on the wedding invitation. So if the invitation was issued by your parents, the lines would contain your parents' address. If you’d like to have the replies sent to you, you must put your name, preceded by your title, on the lines beneath the reply request. Whether you use your address or your parents' address, you should always include an address on your reception cards for reply purposes — even when the same address appears on the invitations outside envelope. (The one exception: when also sending reply cards.) People tend to discard envelopes, especially when there’s an additional inside envelope. If some of your guests throw out their envelopes and there’s no address inside, they may not be able to reply. This could result in your having to make some unnecessary phone calls.

REPLY CARDS & ENVELOPES
Traditionally reply cards can be designed in a number of different formats. All formats, however, share similar features. Spaces are always provided for the guests' names and for their responses. A request for a response is always included as well, usually before a specific date. The reply request may be made in either the first two lines of the reply card or in the lower left-hand corner. Some brides choose not to include a date in their reply request, as they feel it might insult guests who know very well when to reply.
The name and address of whoever will receive the replies is engraved on the face of the reply envelopes. The copy may be center or staggered.

SAVE-THE-DATE CARDS
These cards provide your guests ample time to plan and prepare for your upcoming wedding. They are extremely important for weddings held on or near national holidays or those requiring guests to travel in from out of town. The save-the-date cards are typically mailed out six to nine months prior to your wedding.

TRANSPORTATION CARDS
When a large number of out-of-town guests are attending a wedding, especially one in a big city, transportation from the wedding to the reception is occasionally provided. Sent with the invitations, transportation cards let your guests know you have taken care of their local travel plans. The cards generally read "Transportation will be provided from the ceremony to the reception."

THANK YOU NOTES
Writing notes of thanks is an etiquette must. Thank you notes are available blank for you to write your personal note of thanks, or you may choose to have them printed in order to acknowledge your wedding gifts quickly.

WITHIN-THE-RIBBON CARDS
Pews may be cordoned off with white ribbons or cords to indicate a special seating section. When this is done, small cards reading "Within the ribbon" are sent with the invitations to those guests who will be seated in that section. The guests then bring the cards to the ceremony, which enables the ushers to seat them in the appropriate section.

WEDDING ANNOUNCEMENTS
Printed announcements are usually sent out the day after your wedding to notify people of your marriage. Ordered at the same time as the invitations, they essentially repeat the invitation information, and are sent to people who were not invited to the wedding.

WEDDING PROGRAM

The wedding program is a complete outline of your ceremony. Generally the program includes, in chronological order, readings, poems and musical selections performed during the ceremony. Wedding programs are wonderful keepsakes for yourself and your guests.

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