Summer wedding invitations are going out, fall wedding couples are ordering and assembling as we speak. No matter who you order your invitations through and regardless of how many enclosures and fancy elements there are to your invitations, there is a specific way that they need to be assembled to fit with tradition and etiquette.
Before we get started here is a list of possible items in your invitation. If you don’t have some of these pieces just skip that part in the process listed below:
- Main invitation card (single card or folded card)
- Inner and outer envelopes
- Response card and response card envelope
- Reception card (listing the site and address of your reception if your reception is in a separate location from your ceremony)
- Directions card/map card
- Accommodations card
- Tissue paper (not seen as often in modern times)
Before you do anything you should deal with all of your envelopes. This way you won’t make any marks or indentations on the inner cards and you won’t forget that important response card envelope stamp. The outer envelope is what gets the full formal address with words like “street” and “road” being spelled out formally. For guests’ names it’s customary to list John and Jill Jones and their children as “Mr. and Mrs. John Jones and family”, although if that feels too formal for you and your event you have the choice to list your names more casually. You have an inner envelope that can be addressed as well, and if you are sticking with a formal feel then it is customary to address this envelope. To do so you would list the specific people being invited, so in the example of the Jones family the inner envelope would say Mr. and Mrs. John Jones, and the list of children would be written below that in age order. If you are having an adults only wedding then this would be the place that specific invitees would be listed. For example just Mr. and Mrs. John Jones and no children named below. If you are going with a more casual feel then the inner envelope doesn’t need to be addressed at all. Now for the stamping of these envelopes, the inner envelope will never be processed by the postal service so that requires no stamp. The response card envelope will be what guests send their response cards back to you in and it is polite to affix a standard stamp to that envelope for the ease of your guests. It should also have your return address printed on it so that guests can just pop it as is into the mail to send back to you. Now for the outer envelope, that is what your entire invitation and enclosures are being mailed in so it needs not only to be stamped but to have the proper postage for the size and weight of the entire piece. Because of all of the enclosures wedding invitations almost always are heavier than a standard piece of mail, and if your invitation is square or oversized then you also have the added charge of mailing a larger sized item. The best thing you can do is bring your invitation fully assembled (so that is has all of the enclosures, envelopes, etc) and have the post office weigh it for you. They can tell you how much each one will cost to mail, and offer you options for pretty specialty stamps that cover that fee.
Ok now for the assembly! First is your main invitation card. That goes in to your inner envelope with the text facing the flap. If your invitation is a single card then everything else I’m going to talk about goes in front of it; If your card is folded then everything else goes inside of it. Next, your response card gets tucked under the flap of the response card envelope facing out (tucked under the flap but not placed inside the envelope). This response card/envelope duo get placed inside the inner envelope in front of the invitation so that the card and the flap are facing out. If you have a reception card that goes in between the response card/response card envelope and the main invitation. Any other enclosures like directions cards, accommodations cards, etc go in front of the response card/response card envelope. And if you are using tissue paper then the paper goes directly on the main invitation to protect it from all of the enclosure cards sitting on top of it. Now all of these cards should be in your inner envelope which you leave untucked and unsealed. The inner envelope goes into the outer envelope with the guests’ names facing out (so that the outer and inner envelopes essentially are facing opposite directions. Then you seal the outer envelope, make sure you have the proper postage, and away they go!
Assembling wedding invitations can be a tedious process so I always recommend couples order their invitations with plenty of time to put them all together. As far as when to mail them, the standard is 8-10 weeks before the event date, with your RSVP date being 4 weeks from the event. So this means you should be ordering your invitations at least 3 to 4 months before your wedding date to get them out on time, and earlier than that if possible so you can have time for revisions, printing, shipping, and of course the assembly!
I hope this information has been helpful! As a reminder, we sell tons of different styles of invitations so if you want personal guidance through all of this feel free to contact us for a complimentary invitation consultation.