Wedding RSVP Etiquette: A Q&A with Wedding Guide Magazine

When Wedding Guide magazine contacted us to ask us a few questions about RSVP etiquette, we of course happily obliged. After all, receiving — or, rather, not receiving — responses from invitees is an issue most couples find themselves dealing with, and considering we wrote the book on wedding etiquette, it was only appropriate that we weigh in…
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Ask the Crane Concierge: Your Stationery Etiquette Questions Answered, part 2

crane-conciergeOur Crane Concierge spends her days offering etiquette advice of the epistolary variety to brides, businesses and everyday correspondents alike. We thought we’d share a handful of recent queries. If you have a question for our Concierge, email her at concierge@crane.com.

NICKNAMES

How do I include a nickname with my name on stationery? I am known by the nickname in my community, i.e. Susan Hindle (Su) George. Would this be acceptable? Or is there a better way?
If your correspondence will be mostly personal and not professional, I would suggest using your nickname (Su George), as this is the name your friends and family know you by. If, however, you will be using it for professional stationery as well, I would suggest using your given name and — for your personal notes — signing with your nickname.

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How To Write the Perfect Valentine’s Day Love Letter

engraved premium note card crane and co.Love is in the air. And, hopefully, on paper. Dozens of the finest roses and boxes of the most decadent chocolate can’t top a beautifully crafted love letter. Here’s how to create an amorous ode that’ll capture her heart forever.

Be Sincere
It may seem obvious, but don’t write a love letter unless you’re, oh, in love. If you’re not in that point in your relationship yet, don’t force it — better to share your desire for a romantic trip to Paris when you actually want to take one.

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Post Script: ThxThxThx’s Leah Dieterich

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Leah Dieterich is gracious every day. It isn’t that she is regularly showered with gifts or good deeds, but rather the thxthxthx.com founder is just thankful for the little things: Tote Bags (“for being gender-neutral purses”) and a New Longboard (“for allowing my afterwork exercise to be considered play”), to name just a couple.

Her notes of gratitude can be followed on Twitter and read in her new book. Here, Dieterich talks with us about long distance letters, being a lefty and why a signature is her favorite part of the writing process.

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Post Script: The Elements of Style’s Annie Dean

Peter & Annie Xmas Card 2012 blogAs a child, Annie Dean’s grandmother would encourage her granddaughter to practice handshakes and such polite phrases as “How do you do?” So it was inevitable, perhaps, that this month the 27-year-old Manhattan-ite launched The Elements of Style, a blog celebrating “etiquette, entertaining and everyday glamour.”

There, purveyors of all things proper will find everything from classic cocktail recipes to cleaning tricks. Here, you’ll find more interesting tidbits about Annie, such as why she favors unlocked doors and why there isn’t an etiquette rule she wouldn’t break.

When did your interest in the epistolary world begin?
My mother required me to send thank you notes since before I could sign my name. In the beginning, I would dictate. I also loved receiving letters from my grandmother even as a very little girl, but I could never read her cursive! The funny thing is my handwriting looks just like hers now. 

Why do you enjoy writing correspondence?
I love to write. And I love the good things in life. Stationery and letter writing add loveliness to life for all types of people in all types of situations. When you take the time to write a letter you take the time to share something genuine of yourself, which isn’t that common.

What is your favorite step in the process of written correspondence?
Dropping it in the mailbox!

If you could be pen pals with anyone in history, to whom would you write and what would you say?
Probably Mozart. I’d ask what it sounds like in his head. Does he hear the instruments one at a time? Or is it a symphony right from the start? Is it loud? Does he hear it in spurts? I’d like to talk to a lot of people, though. I have a lot of questions.

To whom do you most often write?
Well now, to my readers on The Elements of Style. But in terms of handwritten notes, I send thank you notes to all sorts of people all the time. Many notes of thanks for dinners or little gifts (we entertain a lot so we receive many). I probably send two per week.

Describe the most memorable letter you have ever received.
My husband and I met because we were both tenants in the same building (our doorman set us up!). At that time I was in law school and always in and out, and had a tendency to leave my apartment door unlocked. In the first month that we started dating, Peter rushed out to buy Crane stationery (he thought it was the most classic!) and a calligrapher’s pen and practiced writing script. I found the scrap paper with a cursive alphabet! He would write me little notes and leave them in my apartment, sometimes with flowers or little presents. I know I should have locked my door, but after that I just couldn’t bring myself to make it a habit!

What makes a particular letter stand out from a stack of cards?
Oh you can tell right away when it’s a ‘real’ letter, can’t you! A ‘real’ letter on true stationery is a heavy enough weight that you can’t see through to the contents inside. The paper is much nicer than the rest of the envelopes and junk mail stuffed into your mailbox. It isn’t loud or trying to grab your attention. And so you notice it in an instant.

Do you have a favorite stamp or stamp series?
I’m a sucker for anything that features a President or a First Lady. There is a Miles Davis/Edith Piaf series out right now that I adore.

What makes your correspondence distinct?
I’m not a “Dear David, Thank you! Love, Annie” kinda gal. I really like to spend the time to write a real letter each time I send out something in the mail. I also have a very specific way of signing the return address on the back of each envelope, using a signature of my husband’s last name and our address printed in capital letters.

annie-and-dean-return-address

What do you think classic correspondence will look like in a decade or two?
I think that as we move into a more overtly digital world, tangible luxuries will come into greater favor. I couldn’t live without the Internet, but there is something so special about buying stationery, thinking about a note, writing a letter, signing it. I think more and more people will connect with writing things in ink as time goes on. We’ll be desperate for permanency.

What is the one etiquette rule you will never break?
Rules are made to be broken. The purpose of etiquette is to learn how to break them with grace.

Have a question for Annie? Email our Crane Concierge at concierge@crane.com.

Ask the Crane Concierge: Your Etiquette Questions Answered

Our Crane Concierge fields quite a few queries about everything from personalized stationery suggestions to wedding invitation etiquette. It is her job, after all — one she quite likes.

Below are some of our favorites, some that we get often and some might just want to tuck away for future use. (After all, you never know when you might need a formal font suggestion.)

From Meghan:

“I would like to order some personalized stationery for three of our executives. I would love to have a system where they could use the same envelope for a note or a thank you card… (they don’t want to think about which envelope to use with which item).”

Dear Meghan,

Thank you for your query and for considering Crane & Co. for your personalized stationery. I would suggest choosing Monarch size letterhead for their sheets, which would use the same envelope as a monarch flat card.

Love & Letters,
The Crane Concierge

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Post Script: Etiquette Expert Diane Gottsman

With a degree in sociology under her belt, Diane Gottsman knew teaching etiquette was a logical career path. She started out teaching abused and neglected children the art as a way to empower them, then moved on to helping the professional sector. As if to emphasize her love for the cause, she now boasts her own line of stationery (welcome to the club!). Here, the purveyor of all things proper talks stamp love, Amelia Earhart and the etiquette rule she’ll never break.

etiquette expert diane gottsman

How long have you been teaching etiquette and how did you end up doing so?
I’ve been teaching etiquette for 15 years, starting with children in the beginning and later evolving into the corporate and university arena. I was shocked at the number of successful professionals that I interacted with daily that were truly gifted in business but lacked social skills.
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Post Script: The Gracious Girl

Mindy Lockard, aka The Gracious Girl, can’t remember a time when she wasn’t interested in etiquette. The former finishing school graduate began spreading the gracious gospel professionally nine years ago, pontificating on everything from dinner party manners to interview poise. Here, she speaks to us about her college pen pal, e-mail formality and why she’s always touchy-feely with her paper.

mindy lockard the gracious girl
How did you end up teaching etiquette?
It was just after I had my first daughter, Elle. A friend — who knew I had gone to finishing school as a child — asked if I would teach her daughter. At first I declined, but then after I thought about the life lessons I wanted to give my own child — confidence and kindness — I knew that spreading the word about manners was exactly where I wanted to focus my attention.
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In Celebration Of: The At-home Card

at home card personalized wedding stationeryThere was a time when the honeymoon was a grand adventure that often involved steamer trunks, dressing for the dining car and plenty of newly acquired couples’ stationery to keep in touch with friends and family from afar.

We like to think the latter accouterment is still in favor, even though the honeymoon has become a less extravagant post-wedding affair for most newlyweds. Whether a couple indulges in a two-week African safari or a weekend getaway to the Vineyard, there is one piece of wedding stationery we still find quite charming: the at-home card.

Traditionally, a couple would send at-home cards before leaving on a honeymoon that would keep them away oftentimes for a month, sometimes longer. Even though honeymoons are shorter today, an at-home card is still a lovely way to make family and friends aware of your new address.

Included with the wedding invitation or marriage announcements, at-home cards are small enclosure cards that match the card stock, lettering style and ink color of your invitations. They alert people of the address at which you will be residing and the date after which you will be there (most couples use the date on which they return from their honeymoon). Many couples now include their phone numbers and email addresses on their at-home cards.

The wording for at-home cards sent with announcements is different from the wording for at-home cards sent with the invitations. At-home cards sent with announcements show your names together as “Mr. and Mrs.” Since you are already married when they are sent. When sent with invitations, your names are not used since you are not yet married and cannot use “Mr. and Mrs.”

While the principal purpose of at-home cards is to let people know your new address, when sent with announcements they can also let people know that you have chosen to continue to use your maiden name. Your name appears on the first line, followed your husband’s name on line two. The remainder of the card reads as it normally would. Since you could have presented yourself as “Mrs.” bud did not, it will be assumed that you are still using your maiden name.

At-home cards are not gift-request cards and should never be interpreted as such.

Instead, think of at-home cards like the change-of-address cards you might send when you move. They simply announce your new address and are a great convenience for anyone who wants to keep in touch with you — which will certainly give you a chance to use that new personalized stationery.

Have a question about correspondence etiquette? Email our Crane Concierge at concierge@crane.com. 

From the Archives: Vintage Crane & Co. Advertisements

Being around for more than 200 years will build quite an archive. It’s an absolute delight to sift through old engraving dies, ledgers and, our favorite, advertisements. We had advertisements geared toward the “Business Man,” the “Presidents of Savings Banks” and, of course, brides. Ones highlighting the fact that our paper is made from cotton rags. Ones highlighting how great it is to use with a typewriter. And ones about what using Crane says about you (hint: really good things).

Below are some of our favorites…

1. For your paper trousseau: This ad from the 50’s spoke to the classic bride, suggesting the kinds of papers she should use for her wedding and beyond. “Assures correctness… confers distinction” is the tagline, assuring her that choosing Crane is both proper and special.

vintage wedding stationery advertisement
2. Wedding gifts by telephone: This print ad from 1924 plays to the aspirational woman and her desire to make the most proper impression. No well-bred girl would do such a thing, the ad suggests of acknowledging wedding gifts by telephone. She also wouldn’t type her wedding invitations, send a “dowdy letter of acceptance” for a party or write a letter on “the only paper you could find,” and instead lives by this ad’s tagline: “Style is a greater social asset than beauty.”


3. What does the letter say, Jean? The dialog in this ad — printed in The Ladies’ Home Journal in 1921 — is between two girlfriends or sisters, discussing a letter the one has just received. When asked what the letter said, the recipient’s response is that the letter says the writer has “good taste” and “a fine appreciation of what is correct.” Of course, the punchline is that the recipient is referring to what the paper (Crane, of course) says about the sender, ending with this mantra: “Writing paper tells much more than many people think.”


4. Stationery should reflect station: We love the angle this 1926 ad takes when appealing to the “Business Man.” The copy sets the scene, a meeting between the Business Man and his lithographer. The latter suggests Crane, suggesting that one’s stationery should reflect one’s station in life. The former balks at paying more for his letterhead. The lithographer’s pitch: A company should take its paper “out of the classification of office expense and put it in the advertising and selling budget.”

business stationery letterhead advertisement
5. To the Presidents of Savings Banks: This ad from 1936 is one of our favorites because of how well it represents a time very much in the past — a time when relationship between banker and bank account customer was more than just the Customer Service contact on a website. The ad suggests using Crane to send letters of welcome to “new depositors” as well as to keep in touch with old customers, as “no other paper lends so much dignity and distinction to correspondence.”

banking stationery advertisementCare to see more of our vintage advertisements? They’re all available to peruse on our Pinterest board!