Friday, December 5, 2008

Miss Manners and invitations

The other day, Econo Boy and I were filling addresses into our guest list on Google Docs (yes, we have a spreadsheet. Yes, we are nerds), and we returned to a topic of conversation we've discussed before: how we will be addressing the invitations.

Econo Boy: "This spreadsheet will make it so easy for me to do the mail merge when we print our invitation envelopes." (Note the sneaky tactic of pretending I've already agreed to doing this!)

Me: "Nice try. We need to hand-write the addresses. If we use the tea-length envelope, printing the address on a laser printer will make it look like junk mail."

Econo Boy: "People will know it's not junk mail. The paper is too nice."

Me: "How would we feed the envelopes through the printer? The paper's too thick and soft, the printer will chew it up. Besides, feeding the envelopes through one by one will take almost as long as just writing the addresses by hand."

I foolishly believed I had unveiled my trump card, the "we'll ruin the expensive paper and/or it won't save time" argument. Then Econo Boy uttered these words.

Econo Boy: "I have a bunch of white labels, I was just going to print the addresses on those and stick them on the envelopes."

What?! Ugly, mass-mail, laser-printed-in-Times-New-Roman white labels on our beautiful ivory, hand-milled Italian paper envelopes? I managed to control the twitch in my eye. "That would look awful and tacky and we will not be doing it," I told him primly.*

In search of support, I Googled "Miss Manners handwritten invitations," certain she would have just the right pithy sentence to explain to Econo Boy that printing address labels on a computer was not the way to go. Instead, I got a shock: apparently, our invitations will violate proper invitation etiquette before they're even addressed!

From Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior, page 391:
"The world is full of nasty people who examine the backs of wedding invitations and run fingernails over the front in order to tell whether the thing was properly engraved. Miss Manners is one of them. Handwriting and engraving are equally correct; fake engraving and computer-generated fonts are imposters."
Well then!

I've always been skeptical of people who say "we're not bothering with that stuffy old 'etiquette' nonsense." Personally I'm a fan of old-fashioned etiquette. What's so awful about writing prompt thank-you notes and not treating your guests like ATMs or robots whose sole purpose is to produce presents? But I have to say, in the above passage, Miss Manners does come across as a bit behind the times, not to mention financially clueless. Engraving is incredibly expensive! Is it really "incorrect" to spend less than $10 an invitation? (Miss Manners, I'm sure, would tell me that if we cannot afford to have the invitations engraved, we ought to hand-write all of them. The mind boggles at the thought of hand-writing 102 invitations.)

So I guess our invitations will be falling somewhat short of "excruciatingly correct." But I've decided I'm OK with "mostly correct." In other words, we're still using flat printing, but Econo Boy will not be spoiling our lovely envelopes with laser-printed white labels!

Which probably means I'll be hand-addressing all 102 invitations myself. Ah well. I can pretend I'm actually DIY-ing something!

In other invitation news, I'm in love with the White Aisle's new printed vellum inserts, like this one for the Hong Kong invitation set:

Image from

I haven't decided yet if I'll splurge and add them to my own invites, but how pretty are they?

* Note: If you and your sweetie laser-printed labels to address your wedding invitations, and calling it "tacky" hurts your feelings, my apologies. I just prefer hand-written envelopes, and you should feel free to ignore me and my opinions as you see fit!

1 comment:

lunettes said...

We aren't printing labels, but we did print the invitations. I'm using a stamp and a custom design to stamp the return envelopes, and my mother has offered to do the calligraphy for the outer envelope. While it's not the letterpress of my dreams, I still got the pocket invitations I wanted for about $2.00/pop.