Correspondence Etiquette

Lovers of old world elegance will take pleasure in beautiful correspondence etiquette; you just can't beat a hand-written note!

Writing notes and letters is a ritual for me; a cappuccino, opening up my desk draw, taking out my monogrammed stationery and putting pen to paper.

I’ve always liked beautiful stationery – I remember as a little girl the pretty folders containing writing paper, envelopes and cards, all matching of course, and writing to pen pals.

An elegant lady ensures her manners are carried through to her correspondence etiquette, reflecting her taste, character and personality. You should invest a little money into stocking up your desk with beautiful stationery.

This is a lovely elegant writing desk for a lady.

What you will need for your Stationery Collection

Letterhead and Continuation Paper

  • A5 writing paper, watermarked and with a minimum weight of 100gsm.
  • The letterhead should include your address, telephone number and email address (but not your name) and engraved if possible.
  • Tradition states that the paper colour should be white/off white but I think pink or light blue can look very nice for personal letters, the engraving should be in a complementary darker colour.
  • Also have a stock of lesser-quality letterhead in white or cream for personal business letters.
  • Ensure you have continuation sheets in the same colour paper as you should not write on the back of the letterhead.

Correspondence Cards

  • Correspondence cards are useful for informal thank-yous and brief notes.
  • They should be postcard size with a minimum weight of 300 gsm and should include your name, mobile number and email address, but not your home address, again engraved if possible.
  • Envelopes should be of a matching colour to the writing paper/correspondence card and be the same dimension (oblong envelopes should be kept for business communication).
  • If you can afford it, invest in envelopes that are hand-lined with tissue paper in the same colour as your print or paper, they look stunning and will finish off your beautiful stationery collection.

Foldover Notes

  • Foldover notes are normally used for informal invitations or writing short notes.
  • They are normally 3-by-5 inches in size.
  • The front of the card is often monogrammed with your initials, or, engraved/embossed with your name. They are normally a neutral colour – white, cream or grey.

The monogramming rules area as follows:

  • A woman can make her surname the middle initial (normally slightly oversized), flanked by the initials of her given and middle names i.e. Jane Louise Smith would be JSL.
  • For married couples i.e. David and Louise Smith, it would be DSL.

Additional items to complete your correspondence etiquette

  • A selection of birthday and blank cards for emergencies.
  • First class stamps, ideally with a design (commemorative or for a specific cause) as official ones can look a little formal.
  • A fountain pen to write your letters (biro never looks as nice). It is elegant to write in black or blue ink, but I prefer blue.

Large stationery suppliers will stock all you need, however, shopping online can be fun as many online sites enable you to design and view your personalised beautiful stationery before you order it.

If you have enough space then it is worthwhile investing in a writing desk or ladies bureau. Ensure it has enough room to provide a resting place for your forearm and elbow. I would also advise that it be big enough to accommodate your laptop so that it can be used often.

If you make a mistake when writing, you must start again. Tipex and strike throughs will look careless. If necessary, type out your letter first if it is lengthy, that way you can proof read it, and of course check your spelling and grammar before putting pen to paper.

Exercising correspondence etiquette need not cost the earth. There are lovely, well-priced matching stationery sets in most department stores which is totally acceptable until you can afford something a little more luxurious.

A great online stationery store is Purple Trail; I have used them for invitations and letter heads and they are great if you don't want to spend too much. I can highly recommend them.

Correspondence Etiquette Skills to learn on this site:

Invitation Etiquette

How to RSVP

Thank You Note Etiquette

Sympathy Card Etiquette

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About The Author

The Author, Emma Dupont, runs various courses in London during the year.

Next Courses:

Children's 4-Week Etiquette Programme

3/10/17/24 March 2017

Belgravia, London


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Business Networking & Corporate Entertaining Masterclass

28 March 2017

Belgravia, London

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The English Social Season Etiquette Masterclass

21 April 2017

Belgravia, London

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The Theory of English Dining Etiquette

25 April 2017

Belgravia, London

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Elegance, Style & Poise One-Day programme

29 April 2017

Fitzrovia, London

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