I had planned to send all the Bat Mitzvah invitations out today but ran into a partially predicted snag: The only 61¢ stamps currently available from the USPS are wedding cakes and Richard Wright, neither of which is exactly right for this occasion. So I did what I swore I wouldn't do: went to Zazzle.com and ordered monogrammed stamps for more than the cost of postage—and paid extra for two-day shipping! Gah! I got the smallest, least fancy ones I could, but still. And because of that delay, I still haven't bothered printing out the address labels or stuffing the envelopes yet.
Speaking of which, my Invitation Lady gave me some photocopies from an etiquette manual that tells how you're supposed to address the envelopes. For instance:
Invitations to girls under age eighteen should be address Miss Jane Smith. For ages eighteen and over, Ms. is preferred. Boys under age nine are Master. Between ages nine and seventeen, no title is used. At eighteen, Mr. is used.
I'm glad I'm not inviting any nine-year-old boys, because I think I would die laughing if I had to address them as Master.
Other interesting "rules":
For same-sex couples, if you know both partners equally well, their names should be written in alphabetical order on two separate lines. If you know only one person well, list that person's name first.
Divorcées can be Ms. Jane Green (maiden name) or Mrs. Jane Green (married name). In the past, widows were addressed as Mrs. John Smith, but today Mrs. Mary Smith is acceptable.
I got a few other clever tips from my Invitation Lady:
1. Number the guest list, and then write the corresponding numbers in tiny print on the back of the reply cards. That way if you get one back that doesn't have a name on it, you'll know whose it is.
2. Use a glue stick (not your tongue or a sponge) to seal the envelopes.
3. Ask at the Post Office if you can hand-cancel the envelopes. They'll look prettier without that tire-tread mark all over the front, and it's one less machine they have to get through safely.