I know some of my readers discovered this blog when they Googled “how to address an envelope” and were redirected to last year’s controversial piece, How to Place a Card in an Envelope. I do mean controversial in all seriousness as it is still the topic of some debate in certain circles. For the readers who want to know how to address a letter, here it is.
Use blue or black ink. It is not necessary to write the word “To:” before the person’s name and title. Should you make any mistake, discard and start again on a new envelope.
The address should be written clearly and neatly in bold letters. An illegible hand increases the chance of the letter ending up in the wrong postbox. Proceed with caution.
Nowadays, commas are no longer employed to separate the street name from the town between lines of the address. Whatever your preference, a comma is not used right before the postcode.
A return address serves two purposes: it provides an alternative address should the letter not reach the recipient, and it tells the recipient where to send their response. My postmistress told me that, in the UK at least, the return address is normally written on the back of the envelope. This is because the top left hand corner is where the post office places the barcode for signed for letters.
As such, write the return address clearly on the back of the envelope. The sender’s name does not need to be provided. Of course, if one wishes to give an air of mystery, the return address can be omitted altogether.
Stamps should always be First Class. Last Christmas, the local postmaster (unofficially) told me I might as well send my cards Second Class as he thinks there is no distinction between Royal Mail’s service during the busy holiday period. After hesitating for two seconds, I took out the cards for my boyfriend’s family and sent those via First Class post. I just couldn’t bear giving Granny the impression that I scrimped on 17p for her card.
Stamps must not be stuck on wonky. This is a chance to make a good first impression. A stamp stuck on askew does not look as good as one stuck on straight. There is nothing more to that.
I am a great believer in finding pleasure in the little things. And if you can find it on an envelope, lucky you!