I’ve been intrigued by etiquette and writing my whole life. My grandmother was a writer and a bona fide Southern lady. My mother has a particular gift for writing, as well, and she’s a stickler for the rules and perfect grammar. I have always loved English and Emily Post, and I married a grammar-obsessed lawyer who has only helped me hone my skills.
The English language can be difficult, and some of the smartest people I know can still get it wrong from time to time. I know I
have still do on occasion. Because I design wedding invitations, I’ve had to dig deep to make sure the small wording details are handled (or at least mentioned to the client) correctly, so I thought I would share some things that could be of possible use to you, as well.
Make Your Last Name Plural
People miss this one all the time, so I thought it was worth mentioning first. This will be especially helpful with Christmas cards and envelope addressing.
If your name ends in ‘s’, you should make it plural by adding ‘es’. I know. It sounds weird. You’re not used to it, because, frankly, so many people miss this one. But it is correct. And that’s the goal here, right?
Correct: The Parkses
Incorrect: The Parks
Also correct: The Parks Family
Also incorrect: The Parks’
Slate has a great article on this that made me scream, “Amen!”, and I found this handy-dandy chart within the article, so you can figure out how to “pluralize” your name depending on the last letters of your last name:
Put a Married Couple’s Name Together
I didn’t know this one until I got into the wedding business.
This one is the traditional rule, although it’s technically acceptable in modern-day world to write it either way. I prefer the traditional way, because it just feels fancy.
If you are writing a couple’s name formally, you would write it like so:
Example: Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan Cobb
If you are writing both names of the couple out, you would write it like this:
Example: Sara Beth and Jonathan Cobb
instead of this:
Jonathan and Sara Beth Cobb
Now why would you not put the male’s name first? Because, traditionally speaking, you never separate the male’s first name from his last name. Write this one out correctly, and you’ll get a gold star from the people who also know this rule.
Addressing Married Doctors
|A woman who outranks her husband:
professional or educational degree
|Dr. Jane Kelly and Mr. John Kelly|
|Both are doctors (PhD or medical) and use the same last name||The Doctors Kelly (omit first names)
Drs. Jane and John Kelly / Drs. John and Jane Kelly
Dr. John Kelly and Dr. Jane Kelly / Dr. Jane Kelly and Dr. John Kelly
|Both are doctors (PhD or medical), she uses her maiden name||Dr. Jane Johnson and Dr. John Kelly
Dr. John Kelly and Dr. Jane Johnson
Registries on Wedding Invitations
A lot of brides ask me if they can include their registries on the invitation or a separate card. The simple answer is no, as it is considered rude.
I have encouraged modern brides to include a separate card on which you can direct guests to the wedding web site. You can include your registries on your site, so they would naturally find it there. Let the site do the talking for you.
I hope these help! They are simple rules that will show that you’re “in the know”!
Please share some of your favorite rules in the comments, too! We all might learn something! :)
registry no-nos: Emily Post
pluralizing your name: Slate