Social Etiquette Basics: Handwritten Thank You Notes

In this day and age where everyone seems to be engrossed in social media, smart phones, and the like, manners and social interaction are at an all-time low. Now, I can’t write this post and pretend that I don’t fall into this category most times; however, I do acknowledge how important it is to slow down and take a moment to express love and gratitude to the people around me. I think we can all take pointers in this area.  That said, let’s talk about the importance of handwritten thank you notes. All of my blog posts thus far have been geared towards brides and pointers for wedding stationery. While this post does apply to weddings, it mostly applies to the day-to-day interactions we have with those we love and care about.

In the hustle and bustle of life, it can be easy to overlook the need to show gratitude. If someone holds the door for us while entering a store, of course, we say thank you.  Or when you’re driving through an intersection and another driver waves you on, you give a return hand gesture as a thank you. But when’s the last time you took the time to write a personalized note to someone to show your gratitude for something they’ve given you or something they’ve done for you? Handwritten notes have a certain charm about them that shows your genuine appreciation for that person. Below are some tips for writing “the perfect thank you”.

  1. Purchase stationery – This may seem a bit much, but if you have a nice set of note cards or thank you cards in your desk or on your table, you’ll be more inclined to send them out. It also helps if the stationery is personalized! 
  2. Use a nice pen – With your stationery, you should have an ink pen that writes well. I don’t know about you, but I am very particular about the pens I write with. When the ink flows better, your penmanship tends to be neater.
  3. Short and sweet – There’s no need to write a 3 paragraph letter.  Keep your note short, sweet, and to the point. Address the person by name, and get to the gist of the note by stating your thanks for whatever it is you’re writing about.
  4. Be sincere – It’s important to be sincere and not too general. If you’re thanking them for a wedding gift, you don’t want to say, “Thank you for the lovely gift, we appreciated it”. Say something along the lines of, “Thank you for the beautiful set of porcelain china. We can’t wait to use it at the holidays!” It personalizes the note and makes the thank you more genuine.
  5. Be prompt – If you’re writing a thank you in response to receiving a gift or other kind gesture, try to be as prompt as possible. Your thank you should be mailed within the same week if possible. If you miss that timeframe, you still want to get the note out as soon as you can. Better late than never. 

I hope these pointers have motivated you to write a note to someone you love and care about. You’d be surprised at what kind of impact this small gesture could have. If you have any questions about this topic or any other social/wedding etiquette topics, please feel free reach out. Also, if you liked the idea of a personalized set of stationery and you’d like for Penned by Pink to design one for you, contact us at info@pennedbypink.com. We would love to get you started on this journey to mastering the art of social etiquette!

Until next time, friends!

Love Always, 

 

Anatomy of the Wedding Invitation

It’s a little after midnight as I sit here to begin this post. I am recovering from a bout of pneumonia which is both fortunate and unfortunate at the same time. I’ve been sick for a couple weeks with what I thought was the flu, but after time had passed and I still wasn’t getting better, I became a little suspicious, but still wasn’t too concerned. A couple people suggested I go to Urgent Care which is something I never do. But the other day on the way home from work I decided to “stop in for a visit” since the center was on my way home. At most, I thought they’d give me some medicated cough suppressants and send me on my way. To my surprise, after performing a chest x-ray, the doctor informed me that I had pneumonia. She prescribed me many antibiotics and sent me home to get much needed rest. That was 3 days ago. With the help of my mother and husband, I am starting to feel a little better. Now, why would I say that I am fortunate because I have pneumonia? I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s because I have it, but because of the way I found out. Like I said, I very rarely visit the doctor when I’m sick. I kind of just self-medicate until I’m all better (I know that’s probably not best, but I’m being honest here). In this situation, the Holy Spirit urged me to do something out of the norm because my life pretty much depended on it. Can you imagine if I had continued to self-medicate and continued to convince myself that I was just getting over a cold or the flu? That could’ve been disastrous. But God, being the loving God that He is, sent the Holy Spirit to abide in us and he interceded for me in a time where I desperately needed him. How fortunate is that?! I’m so thankful. I really wanted to get that off my chest, so thanks for reading through it. I hope it blesses you to know that the Holy Spirit will show up for you in your time of need, just as he did for me! Now, let’s get to the nitty gritty!

So, if you’re planning a wedding, it’s inevitable that you’ll get to the phase where you need to select wedding invitations and matching stationery. With so many different options and styles available, it might be a little overwhelming to select exactly what suits your wedding needs. My hope is that this post clarifies some things for you and lessens the burden a little. After all, selecting wedding invitations is one of the fun parts of wedding planning!

  1. The Invitation – First and foremost, you have your invitation. In a previous post we discussed the appropriate wording for your invitation, including what to say and what not to say, what important information should be included, etc. If you haven’t read that post already, take a moment to check it out! (The Wording Matters) All in all, the invitation states who is hosting the wedding; names the bride and groom; gives the date, time, and location of the ceremony; and lastly, it indicates whether there will be a reception to follow.
  2. The Reception Card – Next, you have your reception card. Typically, this card is only included if the reception is held at a different venue than the ceremony. If this is the case, your reception card will name the venue, the address, as well as the start time of the cocktail hour and/or reception.
  3. The Accommodations Card – This card is a popular option, but not all brides opt for it. It can be convenient if you are having lots of out-of-town guests and you have room block information that you want to convey. The accommodations card includes the name and address of the hotel where your room block is held, as well as contact information where your guests can reserve their rooms. It’s also a great idea to include on this card the deadline that reservations must be made by, as well as the name of the room block in case there’s a discount associated with the wedding (i.e. “Please reference the Jones-Harris wedding for discount pricing”).
  4. The RSVP Card – Here’s our good pal “the RSVP card”. This card is essential, but often times ends up being a brides worst nightmare (sorry, ladies!). The card includes lines for guests to say “attending” or “not attending”, as well as gives them the option to put the name(s) of the attendee(s) and select meal options. Most importantly, this card provides the date that the RSVP must be received by. For my non-brides and grooms that are reading this post, just to clarify, the date displayed is not the date that the card should be dropped in the mailbox to get back to the host, nor is it the date that you should pick up the phone and ever so graciously inform the bride that you forgot to mail back the RSVP, but you’ll in fact be in attendance at the wedding! Please, please, please be so kind as to mail your RSVP card back to the host several days/weeks before the requested date. This will help eliminate lots of stress as they must have final guest numbers to their caterer by a certain date. Please, don’t make the host have to hunt you down for your RSVP!

Of course, this is not an exhaustive list, but these are the key players when it comes to the anatomy of a wedding invitation. These enclosures will convey all the necessary information your guests will need for your wedding. And if you want to add a few additional enclosures, the more the merrier! Don’t forget to contact us if you have invitation or wedding etiquette questions you’d like us to address! And of course, don’t forget to contact us when you’re ready to start planning your wedding invitations and stationery!

Until then, Happy Wedding Planning!

Love Always,

The Wording Matters

Funny seeing you here! It certainly has been a while! One thing I’ve learned about running a small business while also working full-time is that flexibility is key! I’m the type of person that tries to plan everything to a T, but something I’ve learned is that no matter how much prior planning you do, you have to roll with the punches! That said, between fulfilling stationery orders, working my 9-5, and a host of other obligations, I haven’t had much time to blog ๐Ÿ™ But, I’m back now and I plan to make it worth your while!

One topic I really want to cover is how to word your wedding invitations. This is a seemingly innocent topic to discuss, but I must say, your invitation wording has the potential to create real drama! Let me explain. Traditionally, the brides parents are the wedding hosts and are named on the invitation preceding the bride and groom. However, in recent years, this is no longer the norm!  Rule of thumb is that whoever is hosting (i.e. paying for) the wedding should be named on the invitation. Nowadays, many couples are paying for their own weddings and opting not to name anyone on the invitation except for themselves! This is technically the appropriate thing to do, but watch out! Here’s where it gets tricky.

Weddings are a time of togetherness and sentimentality in the family structure. Parents, although they may not be contributing financially, are still looking to be acknowledged on this special occasion. Even if you don’t want to name your parents on your invitation, consider acknowledging them in a more passive way by saying “Together, with our parents, we request your presence” or “Together, with our families, we request your company” to show that while you are very much independent, you do still have an awesome support system that is with you.  Now I do understand that not all families are created equal. That said, I always encourage my brides and grooms to do what’s best for them!

Below are a few other things to consider when it comes to formal invitation wording:

  1. The Bride’s name comes before the Groom’s.  In fact, the Bride’s name is listed on all wedding stationery first, until after vows are exchanged (we’ll explain this in detail in a follow-up post).
  2. Date and time should always be spelled out.
  3. Abbreviations should not be used.  Street names, cities and states should be spelled out as well.
  4. The zip code of the venue does not go on the invitation. This can be reserved for the Directions Card or website.

So again, put some thought into the wording you chose for your invitation. It’s not enough to just have a pretty invitation, it must also convey the proper message to your guests. 

I hope you enjoyed this post! Remember, if you have a stationery etiquette question or would like to inquire about having us design your wedding stationery, I can be reached via email at info@pennedbypink.com. Don’t forget to check out our photo gallery and the rest of the website too!

Love Always,

 

A Brief History of the Wedding Invitation

Some of you may know this, but for those of you who don’t, I am obsessed with history. There’s something fascinating about going back in time and examining how people did things back then. How they dressed, spoke, their manners, and just how they maneuvered in general. One thing in particular that I love researching is how correspondence was handled back then. Take wedding invitations for instance (nice transition, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). The history of the wedding invitation is quite an interesting one. In 15th century England, before they were printed by hand or press, the Town Crier would be tasked with walking about the streets and announcing wedding details for all to hear. Flash forward a couple hundred years and the announcement style would change to various paper mediums via Calligraphy, printing-press, engraving, and thermography. All of these styles, plus many more, are still common today. 

Compliments of http://invitationsbyajalon.com/blog/designs-keri/

When the transition came about for wedding invitations to be printed, the custom was for the invitation to be hand-delivered by courier to the house butler. In this time, invitations were mainly used by the well-to-do as a way to be distinguished from commoners, who were oftentimes illiterate. Once the butler received the invitation, it was then removed from its outer envelope and presented on a silver tray to the master or mistress of the house, still enclosed in its inner envelope (fancy, right?!). The envelope would then be opened, revealing the invitation covered with a light tissue. The purpose of the tissue was to prevent the ink from smudging as it was likely printed and delivered in haste and not fully dried. This technique was abandoned in later years as printing options became more sophisticated, although some traditional brides still like the tissue feature as an ode to “the olden days”. I know I did! 

Flash forward to today, where most brides and grooms prefer more contemporary-style wedding invitations. While some traditional features still remain, things have evolved quite a bit. Most invitations nowadays are ordered online and printed digitally which allows for printing en masse. Some are even sent virtually via e-mail or through other online communications.

Although wedding invitation techniques have come a long way, one thing still remains certain. The way you decide to announce your wedding to your family and friends truly sets the tone for your wedding event. So, be sure to plan out your invitation carefully and thoroughly. This will be the first impression that your guests have of your wedding, so let’s make it a lasting one. I think Penned by Pink can help with that ๐Ÿ˜‰ We hope to hear from you on how we can make that first impression an incredible one!

Until then, Happy Planning & Love Always,


 

1st Blog Post!

So I finally have the time to sit down (with a nice cup of tea) and do my first blog post. I’m really excited about this — it’s the little things ๐Ÿ™‚ I promised that my first post would be specially geared towards my future brides (and grooms) to address some of the concerns you have about wedding invitations. The wedding planning process in general can be quite overwhelming at times, even without all the wedding and stationery etiquette thrown in the mix. Hopefully I can lessen the burden a little and clear some things up for you. In this post I will address 3 of the most pressing questions I come across regarding wedding stationery.

One of the many questions I run into is, “when should I mail my invitations?” I decided to address this first because if you don’t stick to a strict timeline with notifying your guests, you could run into real problems down the road. I always tell brides to plan to mail their invitations 6-8 weeks before the wedding, and 12-16 weeks before if you’re having a destination wedding or if your date falls on a holiday. By adhering to this time frame, you’re allowing your guests ample time to RSVP, plan and make travel arrangements. You’re also eliminating stress from your own plate by giving yourself time to collect RSVP’s (this is arguably one of the most stressful parts about wedding invitations, but we can address ways to make this process easier in a future blog post).

Another common question is, “how many invitations do I need to order?” Many brides and grooms assume that because they have a guest list of 150, that means they have to mail 150 invitations. Not the case at all! Think of it this way, you’re sending invitations per household, not per person! Depending on the style you choose, an invitation could easily cost you between $3 and $10 each, so you want to make sure you’re not being wasteful. Rule of thumb is, each household receives one invitation, unless there are teen or adult children living in the home. In that case, they would receive their own invitation. Most couples choose not to do this, and just send one per home. It’s totally your call, but I will say this. Please, please, please do not address the invitation to “Mr. and Mrs. John Doe & Family”. It’s just not the proper thing to do and it leaves the door open for all ten members of the Doe family to crash your wedding. You want to be specific on your invitation in exactly who you are inviting. We can also address this on a future post.

Lastly, I’ll address the question of, “can I add my registry information to my invitation?” No, no, no (that was easy, haha)! No, but in all seriousness, this is an etiquette faux pas. It’s extremely poor taste to mention anything about gifts on any type of invitation, let alone a wedding invitation. Mentioning gifts or a registry implies that your expectation of your guests is that they send or bring gifts. While this may be an actual expectation of yours, it’s kind of rude to suggest it. You’re inviting your guests to your wedding because you love them and want to share this special time with them — not because you’re expecting a gift. If you are doing a wedding website (which I strongly suggest), think about including the website link on your invitation and have your registry info listed there. Or, task your mother or bridesmaids with sharing registry information with your guests, but only if they inquire about it. It will leave a bad taste in peoples mouths if you have your entourage calling to remind them that you’re registered at Bloomie’s, Tiffany’s, or Williams-Sonoma.

I could go on and on about wedding stationery etiquette, but these are definitely the top 3 concerns that I come across. If you have a stationery etiquette question or topic you’d like me to address, don’t hesitate to reach out! I can be reached via email at info@pennedbypink.com. I hope you enjoyed my first blog post. I’m looking forward to the many amazing topics we’ll cover in the future!

Love Always,