Thank You Note Etiquette for Envelopes

By Beth Cone

Thank you notes are a polite expression of gratitude, whether for a gift, expression of sympathy, or as a follow up for a job interview. When writing a thank you note, certain protocol should be followed, from the choice of paper, to the text used, and to the format used for addressing the envelopes.

Return Address

Postal guidelines for return addresses dictate placement on the front, upper left corner. However, placement on the back flap is acceptable and sometimes preferred for wedding thank you's or when there is a change of address. Return address can be pre-printed, computer generated directly on envelope or label, or hand-written. Envelopes can be addressed by hand or by computer.

Titles for Married Women

Thank you notes may be addressed to the person who signed the gift card or the attendee of the event, if applicable. Titles for married women should follow the following protocol. Married women can be addressed either with the title Mrs. followed by her husband's first name and last name or her first name, followed by her adopted last name. For informal thank you notes, a first and last name alone would suffice.

Titles for Couples

Formal thank you envelopes for a married couple should be addressed to Mr. and Mrs. followed by husband's first name and last name. Informal notes may be addressed to wife's first name followed by husband's first name and last name. If the wife has retained her maiden name, her name should be addressed first followed by her husband's name unless the husband has a professional title such as Dr., Reverend, or Rabbi. If the couple is living together but unmarried, names should appear on separate lines.

Titles for Doctors, Lawyers, and Justices of Peace

If a wife is a doctor, her name should appear first as Dr. followed by first and last name. Two doctors would be addressed as Drs. followed by both first and last names. Lawyers and justices of peace can be addressed with Esquire or Esq. following name. When addressing an envelope to a couple, you may drop the Esq.

Widows and Divorced Women

Older widows or widows who still use their husband's name should be addressed as Mrs. followed by husband's first and last name. Divorced women who have retained their married last name should be addressed as Mrs. or Ms. followed by her first name and last name. If a divorced woman has adopted her maiden name, she should be addressed as Ms. followed by first and last name.

Children

Children under the age of ten can be addressed with their first and last name. Until twenty-one, young woman should be addressed as Miss and young men as Master. Unmarried women over 21 should be addressed as Ms. followed by first and last name.

About the Author

Beth Cone is a Los Angeles-based writer and was the style and health, beauty, and fitness columnist for "On The Boulevard Magazine" in the San Fernando Valley-based magazine from 1990 through 1992. She is a publicist and artists representative with clients in Northern and Southern California. A graduate from Vanderbilt University, Cone has a degree in Spanish and fine arts.