Invitation Etiquette Part 2 – Salutations…Addressing Your Envelopes

Ready to throw your own party? Addressing the invitations doesn’t have to give you a headache. Reference this quick and easy chart for perfect etiquette.

Forms of address…



Addressing a Woman

Maiden name

Ms. Jane Johnson
Miss Jane Johnson*
*Usually for girls under 18

Married, keeping maiden name

Ms. Jane Johnson

Married, uses husband’s name socially

Mrs. John Kelly
Mrs. Jane Kelly*
*Today this is acceptable


Mrs. John Kelly*
Mrs. Jane Kelly
Ms. Jane Kelly

     *If you don’t know the widow’s preference,   this is the traditional and preferred form

Addressing a Couple

Married, she uses her husband’s name socially

Mr. and Mrs. John Kelly

NOTE: Traditionally, a man’s name preceded a woman’s on an envelope address, and his first and surname were not separated (Jane and John Kelly). Nowadays, the order of the names—whether his name or hers comes first—does not matter and either way is acceptable. The exception is when one member of the couple ‘outranks’ the other—the one with the higher rank is always listed first. (see below)

Married, she prefers Ms.

Mr. John Kelly and Ms. Jane Kelly
Ms. Jane Kelly and Mr. John Kelly
*Do not link Ms. to the husband’s name:
      Mr. and Ms. John Kelly is incorrect

Married, informal address

Jane and John Kelly
John and Jane Kelly

Married, she uses maiden name

Mr. John Kelly and Ms. Jane Johnson
Ms. Jane Johnson and Mr. John Kelly

If you can’t fit the names on one line:
Mr. John Kelly
and Ms. Jane Johnson

*Note the indent, either name may be used first


Invitation Etiquette Part 1 – RSVP…You Are Invited

Whether it’s to a wedding, a dinner party, a shower or a gala event, an invitation comes with some important obligations.

Here’s a quick guide to keep you on the guest list:

From the French, it means “Réspondez, s’il vous plaît,” or, “Please reply.” This little code has been around for a long time and it’s definitely telling you that your hosts want to know if you are attending. Reply promptly, within a day or two of receiving an invitation.

2. How do I respond? Reply in the manner indicated on the invitation.

  • RSVP and no response card: a handwritten response to the host at the return address on the envelope.
  • Response Card: fill in and reply by the date indicated and return in the enclosed envelope.
  • RSVP with phone number: telephone and make sure to speak leave your name and who is attending with you.
  • RSVP with email: you may accept or decline electronically.
  • Regrets only: reply only if you cannot attend. If your host doesn’t hear from you, he is expecting you!
  • No reply requested? Unusual, but it is always polite to let someone know your intentions. A phone call would be sufficient.

3. Is that your final answer?

  • Changing a ‘yes’ to a ‘no’ is only acceptable on account of: illness or injury, a death in the family or an unavoidable professional or business conflict. Call your hosts immediately.
  • Being a “no show” is unacceptable.
  • Changing a ‘no’ to a ‘yes’ is OK only if it will not upset the hosts’ arrangements.

4. “May I bring…”
Don’t even ask!  An invitation is extended to the people the hosts want to invite—and no one else.

  • …a date. Some invitations indicate that you may invite a guest or date (Mr. John Evans and Guest) and when you reply, you should indicate whether you are bringing someone, and convey their name.
  • …my children. If they were invited, the invitation would have said so.
  • … my houseguest.  It’s best to decline the invitation, stating the reason. This gives your host the option to extend the invitation to your guests, or not.

5. Say “Thank You.”
Make sure to thank your hosts before you leave, and then again by phone or note the next day.

Enjoy your event!

2007 New Year's Entertaining (as featured on ABC News)

As we leap into 2007, here are some fun and interesting ways you can theme your celebrations this New Year’s Eve, with special and distinctive treats for both the adults and the kids.

Themed parties are a great way to add a unique touch to your at-home celebrations and one of the best ways to ensure that your New Year party will remain one of those “remember when…” evenings!

With the hype of the latest Bond movie still looming and the year 2007 just around the corner, what better way to bring in the New Year than with a 007 themed celebration!

Here are some simple and entertaining ways to add some extra fun to your festivities:

  • 007 Adult Fun!

Creative a custom 007 Centerpiece – For a centerpiece with “Bond” style and elegance, simply place an array of white orchids on contrasting black linens. Simple and chic in minutes! For an added touch, combine with custom 007 votives (all you do is print 007 onto vellum paper which you can get from office depot or any craft store. Cut the shapes and tape onto votive candles). Candles are always a great way to add ambiance to the party and the perfect touch to a stylish centerpiece.

No party is complete without that specialty cocktail – and no 007 theme is complete without that signature Martini. For a 007 Martini, feature a garnish bar with lemon twists, stuffed olives, and cranberry skewers. Then serve on trays for guests to enjoy… And don’t forget, it’s to be shaken, not stirred!


For a menu with the infamous Bond flair, combine a variety of international selections for a “Jet Set Global Cuisine.” Menu items could include Hong Kong Sushi, Thai skewers, Spanish tapas, Parisian cheeses and Roman antipasto. An exotic menu in minutes and all from the grocery store aisle!

Serve on a coffee table or buffet table using a collection of glass or silver trays. For that added 007 touch, theme with black and white linens!

  • 007 fun for the kids!

And the 007 fun is not just all for the adults! Adding a theme to a party is also a great way to involve the kids in the New Year festivities. Here are some simple 007 themed ideas and activities that will keep the children amused and enjoying the celebrations as much as the adults.

For a Jet Set Cuisine that the kids will enjoy, include some fun and exotic ‘mini’ menu choices. So along with the Hong Kong Sushi, Thai chicken or beef skewers, also provide some New York Mini Cheeseburgers, Chicago mini hot pups, and Parisian Pommes Frites in cones. A variety of simple and easy foods that the kids will enjoy, and all from the grocery store aisle! Serve on a lower coffee table for the wee ones, but still keep in theme with black and white linens!

Having a mini martini (or mini mocktail) for the kids is a great way to keep them in the spirits of the celebrations. Why don’t you try a 007-Up Punch? Simply combine 7-Up, CanGrape Juice and Lemonade. The kids will love it!

And of course the kids will need a few other activities to keep them amused throughout the night, while the New Year’s celebrations kick into full swing. Why not have top hats and boas for the little ones to play dress ups? You can get these special pieces from any party store. Kids love playing around with fashionable accessories and this will make them feel special while keeping in the spirit of the 007 theme.

Another easy activity to keep the kids entertained is arts and crafts. Why not have a variety of coloring books and craft activities using only black and white color palettes? Something simple, that the kids will enjoy and again, all in the Bond theme! And if you’re feeling extra creative, why not create secret agent mission maps? You can plan around the house treasure hunts in search of some exciting treats or 007 prizes… and I wonder just how long it will take for the adults to join in this one!!


Lastly, a great idea for the kids no matter what your theme, are Resolution Name Tags.

For each little guest, their name tag can read, “hi my name is ______ and I’m going to___ (resolution of choice such as; make my bed each morning). This is a simple, yet personalized activity which will have the children thinking about the good things they will do in 2007.

Enjoy your celebrations!

New Year's Party Planning (as featured on WGN Morning News)

The holiday celebrations are in full swing and the New Year is just around the corner. It’s time to start thinking of some fun and interesting ways to create an unforgettable evening. If you’re entertaining at home, here are a few simple tips on how to “wow” your guests and add chic to your party this New Year’s Eve!

For at-home celebrations, table top centerpieces are a great way to stylize your party. To create a fun and festive New Year’s Eve centerpiece in minutes, simply use glass bowls that you already have at home. Fill will collections of noise makers, party horns and New Year’s Eve tiaras. All of these items are available at party stores and are a great way to create that joyous atmosphere. For a fun and decorative finishing touch, scatter these festive flutes with an array of vibrant colored candles.

Creating the specialty cocktail is one of my favorite party planning activities – and an ideal New Year’s Party starter. “Champagne Icicles” are the perfect celebratory drink. Simply combine Brut Champagne, White Cranberry Juice and a splash of Blue Curacao. For a special touch, serve cocktails on a tray as guests arrive. And don’t forget the mocktail! It’s always a good idea to have a non alcoholic drink for guests to enjoy.

Want a stylish menu of gourmet hors d’oeuvres? Why not consider a selection of the following gourmet specialties, as ingredients are available from your local grocery store:

-Bruschetta pops – skewered cherry tomatoes, mozzarella and basil are easy and enjoyable.

-Soup sips – An absolute winter wonder! Serve holiday soups such as roasted chestnut or butternut squash in shot glasses or Irish Coffee Mugs.

-Shrimp “cocktails” – With cocktail sauce pre-poured, place shrimp bites in a tiny glass or cup. Tasty and healthy!

My professional menu tip is to always have one vegetarian, meat and seafood selection available, so that everyone’s tastes are accounted for!

Serve on a coffee table or buffet table using a collection of glass or silver trays. The secret to making it look professionally catered, is for all trays to coordinate; same color, style, etc!

You’ve heard me say it before but Dessert Bars are a “hot” entertaining trend and a great way to add that finishing touch to a fun filled party. For a festive dessert bar, spice things up a little and provide an array of different candies for guests to serve themselves. You can theme with colors or various types of candies…perfect for that inner child!