Stationery 101, Volume 19: Etiquette for Street Addresses on Invitations

I was the type of child that drove everybody around me insane by asking a million billion questions.

Me: Mom, why does rain happen?

Mom: Little itty bitty bits of dirt get stuck in the clouds, and when they're too heavy, they come down in the rain.

Me: How does dirt get in the sky?

Mom: It's not the same dirt as the dirt in the ground, it's tiny particles of dirt that float in the air.

Me: Ok. Why?

Invitation etiquette sometimes makes me feel like a little girl again. I have so many questions as to "Why?" and I'm known to spend countless hours on Google researching even the most obscure nuances of invitations and etiquette. Also, like my little girl self, I'm frequently left feeling unsatisfied with what the Googles has taught me.

Take, for example, the rule that it is a big no-no to include a street address on an invitation or any wedding-day stationery. I've always known that proper etiquette is to only include the venue name, city, and state. No street address. But when clients would inquire as to why they shouldn't tell their guests that their venue is located at 123 Main Street, I had a hard time explaining it other than "that's just how it is". You know, like, "the sky is blue because it just is, okay?".

Turns out that there's a less-than-thrilling history as to why there is no street address on wedding invitations. Ready? It's because years and years ago there was no need to put a street address because most weddings were held locally, and all the guests were local, and they knew simply by the venue name where the wedding would be. Back then, when the world was much smaller, having the address was redundant. Everybody knew exactly where everything was. The tradition of not having an address continued, but now it's not just redundant, it's often considered bad taste to include the address.

BUT, welcome to the modern world, friends, where not only are venues not local, but there may be many venues with similar names within a short distance from one another. While I still follow the "rule" of no street addresses on invitations (mostly because people these days have the internet and GPS and can figure things out quickly) I do think it's necessary to include a street address if there is potential for serious confusion. For example, a local town has three Saint Peter's churches, so you HAVE to include at least the street of the particular church where the wedding will be.

So the Stationery 101 lesson for today is to never include street addresses. Why? Because that's just the way it is.

Thank you for joining me in another Stationery 101 post! Don't forget to catch up on past Stationery 101 topics here, such as Letterpress 101, Foil Stamping 101, and Engraving 101.