The art of the envelope

Do you go to your happy place when you see a handwritten envelope in your mailbox? Do you love sending and receiving cards and letters? Then you’ll appreciate the below set of  guidelines on how to formally address envelopes. This etiquette applies to all types of communications like thank you cards, birthday invitations, party invitations, and baby shower invitations.

I am so excited to apply my envelope addressing know-how that I have purchased a brand new pen set dedicated to letter writing, card sending, and invitations only. No shopping lists allowed!  That’s how nerdy and excited I am – and what’s now to be excited about? Want to join me? Check out the art of envelopes!


• Avoid abbreviations in your social stationery. Non-professional titles such as Mr., Mrs., Jr., etc. are exceptions.
• Spell out professional titles such as “Doctor”.
• Do not use symbols for words like “and.”

• House numbers should be written in numerical form (1, 2, 3…). The number “one,” is the only exception. When it stands alone, spell it out (example: One Maple Drive).
• Apartment numbers, suite numbers and zip codes should be in numerical form.
• Do not abbreviate the names of states.
• Avoid abbreviating address words like “Street,” “Boulevard” or “Avenue.”

Return Addresses
• If you are using formal stationery, print the return address on the closed back flap of your envelope.
• The recipient’s address should be centered on the front of the envelope.
• The envelope’s ink color and font style should match what you used for the invitation or announcement inside.
• Your name should be excluded from the return address.

• We recommend addressing your envelopes with black or dark blue ink.

Stuffing Envelopes
• Stuff your envelopes with the printed side of your invitations and announcements facing the flap of the envelope. This will ensure that the printed side of the announcement or invitation faces the recipient when he or she opens the stationery.


  1. Joey says

    Great tips Rachel. My writing is rather sloppy, so I go the type route. Sometimes I’ll write a short note. I LOVE receiving happy-fun mail. I love sending letters as well.
    I really like Shutterfly’s stationary and address labels. I like the tip about when you put your greating in the envelope, to make sure the printed side is facing them. I have always done the opposite in case i lick the envelope too much. LOL – I’m going to change it this year.

  2. rsheedy says

    Wow, this is wonderful information! I always look forward to Christmas because of the awesome mail. I like being rewarded for checking my mailbox. :)

  3. Earl J says

    I love practical stuff like this. Thanks for doing it — I’m glad to have a supply of Shutterfly “Thank You” cards, plus ones using my photographs. Email has its place, but a place with limits, I think.

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