Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Holidays => Topic started by: Zilla on December 26, 2011, 09:47:39 AM

Title: When you don't know the spouse's name
Post by: Zilla on December 26, 2011, 09:47:39 AM
I was at a friend's (Becky) house when she got her mail.  Several of them were holiday cards made out to Mr. and Mrs. Becky Smith.  She said they were from her friends who probably didn't remember her husband's name and instead used her name.


I thought that was odd.  I would have just made it out to Becky Smith and Family if I wasn't sure.


Or is it correct as how they were addressed?
Title: Re: When you don't know the spouse's name
Post by: nutraxfornerves on December 26, 2011, 09:57:10 AM
I was at a friend's (Becky) house when she got her mail.  Several of them were holiday cards made out to Mr. and Mrs. Becky Smith.  She said they were from her friends who probably didn't remember her husband's name and instead used her name.

I thought that was odd.  I would have just made it out to Becky Smith and Family if I wasn't sure.
I agree that it sounds odd. I don't think I would have addressed it to Becky Smith and Family, though. I think I would have addressed it to Becky Smith and added a note along lines of "Merry Christmas to you and your husband" or "Merry Christmas ot you and your whole family."

Mr. Nutrax and I married 4 years ago. I did not take his last name. Most people know that, but some don't or have forgotten. We got cards addressed to Mr. & Mrs. John Smith, John & Jane Smith, John & Jane Smith Brown (a form we have never used) and John Smith & Jane Brown.

My favorite was a distant relative of Mr. Nutrax who apparently couldn't remember my last name. That card was addressed to John Smith and Jane. 
Title: Re: When you don't know the spouse's name
Post by: faithlessone on December 26, 2011, 10:00:09 AM
Was this on the envelope, or the card?

On the envelope, I would use "Mr and Mrs Smith". Inside the card, if I really couldn't remember, I'd use "Becky and family".

"Mr and Mrs Becky Smith" isn't a correct form of address, as far as I know.
Title: Re: When you don't know the spouse's name
Post by: Zilla on December 26, 2011, 08:06:50 PM
It was on the envelope. 


And it's a very feminine name so it couldn't be misconstrued as the male name.  And they do share the same last name.

Good to know that I should just put Becky Smith instead of and Family.
Title: Re: When you don't know the spouse's name
Post by: TootsNYC on December 26, 2011, 08:44:23 PM
I think you should call up Becky and say, "Holy Toledo--I'm having a brain fart. What's your husband's name? I'm addressing Christmas cards, and I've realized I've never written it down."

And then you should write it down.

If you know Becky well enough that you want to send a Christmas card to her *home,* you should find out the name of her life partner.
Title: Re: When you don't know the spouse's name
Post by: Vilandra on December 26, 2011, 08:47:19 PM

My favorite was a distant relative of Mr. Nutrax who apparently couldn't remember my last name. That card was addressed to John Smith and Jane.

A distant relative addressed the outside envelope to 'Mr. and Mrs. Lastname and Daughter.'  I thought that maybe he had forgotten our daughter's name or hadn't seen it on our card (she's three months old) but he included her name on the inside of the card.  Very strange!

When sending to a family including children I usually address to 'The Smith Family'
Title: Re: When you don't know the spouse's name
Post by: TootsNYC on December 26, 2011, 08:56:36 PM
There was once a theory that you were "shielding" children from public view by not naming their names on the outside of the envelope.
Title: Re: When you don't know the spouse's name
Post by: felix on December 26, 2011, 09:49:26 PM
On the envelope I write "The xxxx family" rather than naming everyone.
Title: Re: When you don't know the spouse's name
Post by: Bijou on December 27, 2011, 12:02:30 AM
'The Smiths' works for me. 
Title: Re: When you don't know the spouse's name
Post by: Zilla on December 27, 2011, 01:34:35 PM
I think you should call up Becky and say, "Holy Toledo--I'm having a brain fart. What's your husband's name? I'm addressing Christmas cards, and I've realized I've never written it down."

And then you should write it down.

If you know Becky well enough that you want to send a Christmas card to her *home,* you should find out the name of her life partner.


Just wanted to clarify that it wasn't I who wrote the Mr and Mrs. Becky Smith on the envelopes, I was just wondering if that was correct etiquette wise.
Title: Re: When you don't know the spouse's name
Post by: TootsNYC on December 27, 2011, 03:57:03 PM
Oh, I know it wasn't *you* "you."

I meant that as the generic "you."

(German has the term "mann," which is sort of line "one"--"if one wants to send Becky a card . . . ")
Title: Re: When you don't know the spouse's name
Post by: Arrynne on December 27, 2011, 06:13:17 PM
I would have made it out to "The Smiths" or "The Smith Family"
Title: Re: When you don't know the spouse's name
Post by: Morty'sCleaningLady on December 28, 2011, 11:58:50 AM
My motto - if the postman delivers, it must have been okay. 

When people do or don't take spouses names, it can get confusing.  I typically address Christmas cards to X and Y Smith.  If I know differently, it will go that way.  If I don't know that Darla's pal, Otto's mom uses a different last name, it's going to X, Y, and Otto Smith.  Sure, I want to send cards correctly, but I don't really see what the big deal is if it's an honest mistake.

Title: Re: When you don't know the spouse's name
Post by: mabelle on December 28, 2011, 12:50:06 PM
I made two rather large faux pas this year in addressing Christmas cards, but they all got there and made people mad.

1) last year, DH's good friend and spouse were seperated and I sent only card to good friend at his residence (their 'family' home - she had moved out). They've since reconciled and I didn't address the card inclusive of her... when I saw him the night I had mailed the letter, I realized I hadn't included spouse, so I sent her a separate card. Apparently, she's ticked at me for "being passive aggressive". Seriously, I was just working off the list and kinda automaton-like - I wasn't sending a message!
2) I forgot one friend's wife's name...and did the Mr. John Smith and Family thing...but they only have fur-babies and are sensitive about their fertility issues so Mrs. John Smith is mad at me too.

I can't win.

 :(
Title: Re: When you don't know the spouse's name
Post by: violinp on December 28, 2011, 12:54:12 PM
I made two rather large faux pas this year in addressing Christmas cards, but they all got there and made people mad.

1) last year, DH's good friend and spouse were seperated and I sent only card to good friend at his residence (their 'family' home - she had moved out). They've since reconciled and I didn't address the card inclusive of her... when I saw him the night I had mailed the letter, I realized I hadn't included spouse, so I sent her a separate card. Apparently, she's ticked at me for "being passive aggressive". Seriously, I was just working off the list and kinda automaton-like - I wasn't sending a message!
2) I forgot one friend's wife's name...and did the Mr. John Smith and Family thing...but they only have fur-babies and are sensitive about their fertility issues so Mrs. John Smith is mad at me too.

I can't win.

 :(

Mabelle, people getting into a snit doesn't mean you made a faux pas. You tried your best to be inclusive, and people who were looking for fault found it. That really stinks, though. Hugs.
Title: Re: When you don't know the spouse's name
Post by: TootsNYC on December 28, 2011, 04:56:48 PM
You could have called Mr. John Smith and asked for his wife's name to write into your address book. Or called someone who also knows him, and asked them what her name was because you just had a mental blank.

And sending a separate card could have been softened by adding a note--"Julie--I'm late to hear the news that you and John reconciled. I'm glad for you, and I wish you both the best."
Title: Re: When you don't know the spouse's name
Post by: bopper on January 03, 2012, 07:24:36 AM
In that situation I would address the card to "The Smith's" and inside the card would be to "Becky and family".