When Signing a Card Whose Name Should go First?

Dear Ms. Cards Etiquette,


When signing a card (i.e. birthday card) whose name should go first? Is etiquette to put the man’s name then follow with the wife and then the kids, or does it matter which name goes first?



First Lisa, I think it is great that you are sending greeting cards and are concerned about signing them properly. There is nothing quite as nice as receiving a thoughtful greeting card that is hand signed and sent as a lovely surprise.

When it comes to signing the card, the rules are not quite as formal as they once were. Conventional etiquette dictates that the man’s name goes first, then the wife and then the children, from oldest to youngest. However, it is perfectly acceptable to put the woman’s name first, especially if she is the one most closely connected to the recipient. For example, if a woman was to send a birthday card to her mother, she could sign it … Love, Mary, David, Katie and Sam.

Birthday Cards
For business purposes, when the recipient knows the family, the first name should be that of the business associate, then the spouse. Include the children if appropriate. A business greeting should be more formal so often does not include the extended family, depending on the level of professionalism you are attempting to portray.

Of course the nicest greetings are those that are individually hand signed by all who know the recipient. And, a short note added with each signature makes the recipient feel just that much more special.

There is really no absolute right or wrong way to sign a greeting. It is the effort and thoughtfulness in sending it that will be noticed and appreciated.