Archive for November, 2010

We are figuring out how to request or names be listed on a donor’s list. We see in your book that the most formal way to write our names is Ambassador Kenneth Cole Britt and Mrs. Britt. BUT I want both our names listed and for my wife not to be listed as Mrs. Britt. We are thinking of — Ambassador Kenneth Cole and Mary Leighton Britt. I’ve seen that form used at many museums. Technically I am “The Honorable” but you don’t see that in donor lists usually.
— Ken

Dear Ambassador Britt,
I have seen that form at carved on walls of museums too, but I always assume they were lacking space for a complete name or were ran short of money for the engraving and had to skimp on the number of letters.
Regarding the form I give in my book: it is the most formal form for others to use to address you.  In what you write about today, it’s you writing your own name — not a form of address.
I like what you suggest except I would include your full name … then your wife’s full name.
So I suggest:
Ambassador Kenneth Cole Britt and Mary Leighton Britt

Which would be for other ranks:
Captain Kenneth Cole Britt and Mary Leighton Britt
Kenneth Cole Britt and Mary Leighton Britt
Kenneth Cole Britt and Mary Leighton Britt

And for couples that don’t have a rank or special honorific … leave off the Mr. and Mrs.:
Kenneth Cole Britt and Mary Leighton Britt

– Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

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I am framing a photo for my husband Robert who was at the time the photo was taken a recently retired medical doctor (Captain) from the U. S. Navy.  If I include a label below the photo, should it say, name-rank-M.D., or rank-name-M.D or only rank-name?
I would sincerely appreciate any wisdom you could lend to my dilemma.
— Janice Larsen

Dear Ms. Larsen,
As a medical officer the US Navy the official form of his name would be:
Captain Robert Larsen, Medical Corps, USN, Ret.

– Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

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I received an invitation to the wedding of a 1st cousin’s child addressed to us as The Wright Family.My daughter, now 20 and in college in Florida, was not listed by name, but is, I believe, invited.  I think a proper invitation should have been mailed to her in FL as she is an adult and not living at home.  I am trying to remember the rule about all grown children over 16 should receive their own invitation at their proper address (not Mommy and Daddy’s if they don’t live there). I want to explain the rules to my cousins!
— Val Wright, Severna Park, MD

Dear Val,
Everyone who is invited should be listed on the envelope, simply for clarity. And family members living away are sent their own invitations.
To me it’s defendable if they believe Laura is still in “a minor the nest” and your address is still her best address to mail it to her c/o you … either her own invitation or listed by name on the invitation with you.  Whether the cut is 16 or 17 or 18 years of age …. sending an invitation to a young adult is considerate and appreciated.
As for taking it upon yourself to inform your cousins of the correct rules: be carefulDorothea Johnson, founder of The Protocol School of Washington® always followed the rule that she did not provide guidance on etiquette … unless the person paid her to do so.
– Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

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In your book you show all the options of how to list a husband and wife as host and hostess of an event.

What if a husband is president of a company and invites his direct reports with spouses to a dinner party off site (but not at the president’s house)?  Should the invitation state the president as the host and his wife as the hostess? Or just the president as the host?
— Rhonda

Dear Rhonda,
There could be a company policy in a particular company stating a policy to the contrary, but it’s typical when a corporate exec hosts employees and their spouses … and the exec’s spouse assumes the duties and responsibilities of a co-host (hostess) … for the exec’s spouse to be listed on the invitation.  I asked some graduates of The Protocol School of Washington® to comment on what they do in their environment:
From Protocol Officers at Military Bases:
It would be common for social events (dinner’s etc.) but not for ceremonies. On the invitation we always list both names if spouses were invited to the event. i.e.:

The Commanding General, 2d Marine Division
and Mrs. Smith
request the pleasure of your company

From a Protocol Officer at a Museum:
If the Chairman of our Board and his wife are serving as hosts, we include the wife on the invitation to telegraph that spouses are welcome. We would do this even if the event is not in their residence.  We also include the spouse if the event is for families, again to signal that the event is open to families.
From Protocol Officers at Universities:
Yes, we include the spouse of the official on the invitation if they will act as host/hostess of the event even if the University is paying. For us, it is more a question if she (or he) is actually going to participate.
From, of course from political situations as shown below.
– Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

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Our annual holiday party invitations have always read:

On behalf of the
Alabama Automobile Dealers Association
Chairman of the Board and First Lady
Avery and April McLean
Cordially invite you and yours to attend the

This year we have a married female Chairman of the Board and I’m struggling on how to word the invitation.  Would the wording below be acceptable?

On behalf of the
Alabama Automobile Dealers Association
Chairman of the Board
Cindy Haygood and her husband Daniel,
Cordially invite you and yours to attend the …

This is a semi-formal event held at the Governor’s Mansion.
Debbie at the Alabama Automobile Dealers Association

Dear Debbie,
What you’ve been doing isn’t strictly casual … or strictly formal … and it’s sort of backed you in to a corner!
There are no rules for casual and informal forms of address  … everyone does whatever they want to do.
On my site I am just showing formal forms … which can be done consistently … hence their benefit.
But that said … how about:

On behalf of the
Alabama Automobile Dealers Association
Chairman of the Board Cindy Haygood and Mr. Daniel Haygood
Cordially invite you to attend the …

What do you think?
– Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

Mr. Hickey,
That is much better – just needed a professional opinion!  Thank you very much!


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How do I address a letter salutation to a Governor-elect?
— Gayle P.

Dear Gayle,
A governor-elect is immediately the Honorable since he or she has been elected in a general election.
And in the salutation use the honorific  … Mr., Ms., Dr. … he or she would be entitled to — prior to the election.
Use of Governor as an honorific is reserved for the current … singular … official.
One might introduce him or her as The Governor-elect … but it’s not actually a title or office or position …. it’s more of a state of being!
– Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info


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Robert …. how do I write include my rank in a post-retirement signature block at my new job?
— Bob Thompson

Dear Bob,
According to protocol at the Pentagon (my contact in in the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force) … here’s their view on use of rank at a new employer:
“If retirees are in a new job, then they should use a signature block that supports that job and should not be using military rank and retired – it is a misrepresentation. They are an employee of the new employer and representing the new employer in their new official position – not the military. We run into this a lot when retired officers who attend Pentagon events and they are coming in their new “contractor” status not as a private/retired status. We don’t address them with their retired rank on invitations or tent cards etc., but with Mr/Ms (name) and their new company affiliation.”

– Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

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