Wedding Etiquette Forum

addressing thank you notes informally

I'm writing a thank you note to a Jane Doe that I know pretty well. She's married to John Doe. They are probably in their early 70's. If I know the couple pretty well, especially the woman, I adhere to the old (maybe only Southern) way by addressing the letter to only the woman. When I see this woman in public, I call her "Mrs. Jane" so that's how I start the letter (Dear Mrs. Jane,). However, I'm unsure of how to address the envelope. I'm afraid that "Jane Doe" is too informal, but "Mrs. John Doe" seems too formal. The other option, "Mrs. Jane Doe", seems to be reserved for a widow or divorced woman. Keeping in mind that I'm addressing a very, very Southern old-school woman, can someone help to make me feel comfortable about using "Jane Doe" on the envelope (since I'm pretty casual in the note itself) or tell me their opinion of the difference between "Mrs. Jane Doe" and "Mrs. John Doe". 

Re: addressing thank you notes informally

  • NYCMercedesNYCMercedes BOS, NYC, DC. Forever a city girl member
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    Mrs. John Doe
  • I would address her by her name - Mrs Jane Doe. I don't think that Mrs Jane Doe is reserved for divorced or widowed women anymore. But that is just me, and I'll never address someone as Mrs Husbands name, and if I ever get anything addressed like that I'll send it back with "no such person" written on the front.

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    tigersgirlgv[Deleted User]Blue_Bird
  • NYCMercedesNYCMercedes BOS, NYC, DC. Forever a city girl member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I would address her by her name - Mrs Jane Doe. I don't think that Mrs Jane Doe is reserved for divorced or widowed women anymore. But that is just me, and I'll never address someone as Mrs Husbands name, and if I ever get anything addressed like that I'll send it back with "no such person" written on the front.

    Bubbles, you are wrong. Mrs. Jane Doe is reserved exclusively for a divorced, not remarried woman. She can address it Jane Doe if she wants. This is the E board.
    STARMOON44
  • I would address her by her name - Mrs Jane Doe. I don't think that Mrs Jane Doe is reserved for divorced or widowed women anymore. But that is just me, and I'll never address someone as Mrs Husbands name, and if I ever get anything addressed like that I'll send it back with "no such person" written on the front.

    Bubbles, you are wrong. Mrs. Jane Doe is reserved exclusively for a divorced, not remarried woman. She can address it Jane Doe if she wants. This is the E board.
    It's 2013 and that is still the rule? Really? Seems very outdated to me. And, please don't be condescending. Tell me I'm incorrect, fine, but don't tell me where I am, I can read.

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    [Deleted User]Blue_Bird
  • I would address her by her name - Mrs Jane Doe. I don't think that Mrs Jane Doe is reserved for divorced or widowed women anymore. But that is just me, and I'll never address someone as Mrs Husbands name, and if I ever get anything addressed like that I'll send it back with "no such person" written on the front.

    Bubbles, you are wrong. Mrs. Jane Doe is reserved exclusively for a divorced, not remarried woman. She can address it Jane Doe if she wants. This is the E board.
    It's 2013 and that is still the rule? Really? Seems very outdated to me. And, please don't be condescending. Tell me I'm incorrect, fine, but don't tell me where I am, I can read.
    The OP literally prefaced with, "Keeping in mind that I'm addressing a very, very Southern old-school woman..."

    While I agree with you that in 2013, many woman prefer to be addressed by their own first names (and last name if different from their husband's), the ultimate goal is to address people how they prefer to be addressed. In OP's case, it sounds like the traditional route (which is "Mrs. John Doe") may be best.

    OP, if you can ask someone -- Jane Doe herself or someone close to her -- how she prefers to be addressed, you'll have the best answer.

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    STARMOON44[Deleted User]
  • Thanks for the opinions and support. 
    Lobster1987, thanks for the link! It is very helpful since it covers specific situations that aren't normally covered on typical etiquette sites. 
    For the situation that I presented, I decided to use "Mrs. John Doe" on the envelope and "Dear Mrs. Jane" in the letter. I figured that this covers all of the bases of formality. I didn't investigate as to which form of address that Jane Doe prefers, but I think I'm safe since I know she won't be offended (or return the letter to sender) by Mrs. John Doe. 
    SKPM[Deleted User]jendemeyer
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