Birth Announcement Etiquette

Below are the most frequently asked questions I receive regarding birth announcements.

To whom should we send birth announcements?
Decide ahead of time if you plan to send birth announcements to just close friends and family, or if you plan to send them to extended relatives, parents' friends, colleagues and acquaintances. Whatever you decide, try if possible, to have your list ready prior to the baby's arrival. Tip: If you are recently married, start with your wedding list.

If you have already had a baby shower, it is nice to send announcements to inform all of the friends and family that were at the shower of your baby's safe arrival.

Lastly, please do not forget that sending an announcement is often interpreted by the recipient as an invitation to send a gift. So be judicious with your list.

Can we order baby announcements before we know the baby's gender?
Yes, many of NoteworthyNotes.com clients mentally select one birth announcement for a girl and one birth announcement for a boy months prior to their due date. (Alternatively, choose a neutral design that works for either gender.) Then, decide what you want to say (see birth announcement wording), which font you want and the quantity. So when the time comes, all the hard decisions have already been made.

How long will it take for us to receive our baby announcements?
The timing depends on the company; however, most NoteworthyNotes vendors complete orders in 2-4 working days. Then, you need to account for deliver time. Tip: If both your girl and boy baby announcement are from the same company, contact us to order your envelopes ahead of time so you can address them prior to the baby's arrival.

When should we send our birth announcements?
Although there is no absolute rule, you should aim to send your birth announcements as soon as possible - preferably sometime in the first month after birth. Ask you family and friends to help, such as addressing envelopes or printing return address labels. And Dads make great envelope stuffers and stamp lickers.

How many birth announcements do we need and what is the cost?
On average, most NoteworthyNotes.com clients order 100-125. Please keep in mind that many vendors offer birth announcements in increments of 25 only. Personalized birth announcements from NoteworthyNotes.com cost as little as 50 cents an announcement, up to $5 an announcement; however, most clients select announcements in the $1.50-$2.00 range.

Does our child need personalized thank you notes?
NoteworthyNotes.com clients tell us it typically costs less to have baby thank you notes personalized with their child's name than it does to buy blank cards at a stationery store.

Should we include a photo with the baby announcement?
Given that you will be very busy during the first few weeks after your baby's arrival, you should not feel obligated to include a photo with your birth announcement. Tip: Wait until you send your thank you notes to send a photo of the baby.

See NoteworthyNotes.com entire line of unique birth announcements.

Holiday Card Tips and Etiquette

Below are some tips, ideas and suggestions about ordering and sending holiday cards, as well as a brief etiquette guide as to whom to send your cards and how to address them.

Ordering holiday cards

Holiday cards are typically available starting in August or September. We recommend you buy your cards as early as possible to avoid production delays or out-of-stock inventory.
Use last year's holiday list as a starting point. (If you don't have a list from last year, start with your address book, your wedding invitation list, a recent birthday party list, etc.) Add, subtract and edit names to get a general count as to how many holiday cards you will need this year.
Our clients tell us they often have last minute additions to their mailing list, so we suggest you order a few more cards than your original estimate. It is always less expensive to order extras with your initial order compared to placing a second order.
A great time saver is to have your return address pre-printed on your envelopes or purchase pre-printed Christmas return address labels or Hanukkah return address labels.

Special considerations regarding photo cards

If you plan to send photo cards for the holidays - be it Christmas photo cards or Hanukkah photo cards - there are some additional questions you need to answer before placing your order.

Kids versus family photo? The debate rages on…about 50% of the photo cards show the children only (after all they are the ones that change the most from one year to the next) and 50% send a family portrait. If you plan to take a "kids only" photo, try to take the picture at a time of the day that you know your kids are going to be in a good mood. If you plan to take a family photo, it often means you need a friend, neighbor or professional to snap the picture for you.
Glossy finish versus matte finish? The photo finish is really all about personal preferences. Please note: it is typically harder to find a photo development store that accommodates matte or luster finishes, so be sure to account for the additional time required to get your pictures.
Black and white versus color photos? This choice depends on the holiday card you select as well as the mood you wish to set. Two thoughts: black and white often appears more formal, but it can also help people focus on the people in the photo rather than the background.
Landscape versus portrait orientation? There are definitely more options for cards that are oriented landscape (i.e. longer than taller). However, for many photo cards you can flip the card vertically to be portrait oriented even though the sample is shown as a landscape. Please remember to make certain that the text on the inside of the card reflects the way the card will be opened (i.e. like a book versus a tent).
Christmas themed versus secular? If you are a mixed family, you should probably select a card that reflects your diverse family. Even if you are all Christian, you might send your holiday card to friends who are not Christian, and if so, you might consider ordering a card that downplays the Christmas portion of the holiday season.
Lastly, most photo cards are meant to accommodate a 4" x 6" photo, so be sure to have your photo processed in that size. Noteworthy does offer a limited number of holiday cards that can accommodate a 3 1/2" x 5" picture.

Getting them out the door

Writing a personal note for each card may seem daunting, but if you write a few cards each day during October and November, the task becomes a lot more manageable.
Make the process a fun, family activity. For example, ask your children to help stuff envelopes and lick stamps. Or share a cup of hot cocoa with your family as you each write a note.
Even if you are running out of time, don't fret. Most people are pleased to hear from you no matter when your card arrives. Alternatively, extend the "deadline" by skipping the Christmas card in favor of a New Year's card.

Dealing with the post office

It is a good idea to weigh your cards (including any notes and photos that you may insert into the envelope) before buying postage. The post office requires envelopes to be at least 3.5" by 5". Cards larger than 6.125" by 11.5" inches need additional postage. Same goes for cards thicker than 0.25" inches.
A great time saver is to buy your stamps online from the U.S. Postal Service at http://shop.usps.com. Be sure to buy holiday stamps early; sometimes they run out of special issues. Be prepared to wait a week or so for your stamps to arrive.
You should mail your holiday cards first class so they will be forwarded or returned to you if the address cannot be located.
If your card contains sensitive enclosures (e.g. photos), feel free to ask the post office to hand cancel them.

Mailing holiday cards abroad

Most important: send your cards early!
Allow a minimum of two weeks for delivery.
Make sure that the address is clearly written and correct. Include the English name of the destination country.
Mark the envelope "Airmail".
Be sure to include "USA" in your return address.
Decorating the envelope with holiday stickers or drawings may delay your mail in some countries.

Etiquette for writing and sending holiday cards to family and friends

You can begin sending holiday cards as soon as Thanksgiving is over.
You should try to personalize each card with a little note.
When signing your card for close friends and relatives, there's no need for last names. If a card is from more than one person, the person who signs it should write his or her name at the end of the list. As for the other family members, traditionally start with the father's name, then the mother's and finally the children. Alternatively, you can simply write something like "John, Mary and family."
When sending a card to a couple with two different last names, address the card to "Mary Smith and John Jones." If there are children, write "Mary Smith, John Jones and Family." When addressing cards to family and social friends, include the children's names.

Wedding Events

Bridal Shower Invitation Etiquette

When should I send the bridal shower invitation?
It's best to send bridal shower invitations ~4 weeks in advance. This provides plenty of time for guests to clear their calendar, without being too far in advance that they might accidentally forget about it.

What should be included in the bridal shower invitation?
If you are having a "themed" shower, do not forget to include special instructions so the guests can bring their required item to the shower. Although some may find it ill-mannered, many guests appreciate a small note that includes the store names at which the bride and groom are registered. For a lingerie shower, you should include the bride's sizes. Lastly, be sure to enclose directions to the shower and a phone number to call in case people get lost.

Who should I invite to the bridal shower?
The person/people hosting the shower should do the inviting with the bride's assistance (of course). A good place to start is the bride and groom's wedding invitation list. If at all possible, do not invite anyone to the shower that will not also be invited to the wedding (except for very special circumstances such as a destination wedding).

Traditionally, you are supposed to invite only people who personally know the bride. However, in today's world, it is not uncommon for the future mother-in-law and close family/friends of the fiancé to be invited as an opportunity to develop a closer relationship with the bride.

Several guests may live too far to travel to the shower; however they would more than likely appreciate the thought of being invited.

Who should host the bridal shower?
Traditionally, it is the maid or matron of honor. Today, a bridal shower is sometimes hosted by very close friends to the bride or the mother of the bride. The mother of the bride should never host the shower, but she can help with the arrangements or by preparing food, if the shower is hosted at someone's home.

One bridal shower invitation or two?
In general, the rule is one invitation per person. So if you are inviting roommates, then each should receive their own invitation. If men are invited (i.e. a couples shower), then one invitation per couple will suffice.

I'm having more than one bridal shower - can I invite the same guests twice?
It is not unusual for a bride to have more than one shower. If so, try to avoid inviting the same guests. If it is unavoidable, be sure to let those guests know that you do not expect another gift from them - their presence is what matters to you.

What about thank you notes after the bridal shower?
Yes, thank you notes should be written, by the bride, as soon after the shower as possible, and most certainly before the wedding (if at all possible). Be sure to write the thank you note on cards with your maiden name on it. Stationery with your married name should not be used until after the wedding.

Wedding Thank You Notes

Prior to getting married, you should only write thank you notes on stationery that either has the bride's first name, full name or monogram.

For example:Jennifer
Jennifer Lynn Porter

Alternatively, stationery with only the bride's and groom's first names may be used prior to the wedding. Many couples choose this option because it enables them to use the stationery for all occasions: their showers, their wedding and beyond.

An example would be: Jennifer and John

If the bride plans to keep her maiden name after she is married, she might consider using it on her wedding stationery as a signal to everyone how she plans to be addressed after the wedding.

For example: Jennifer Porter and John Smith

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