Weddings have become so steeped in tradition and etiquette that even the invitations come with rules. If you and your betrothed agree to a casual, more laid-back ceremony, it’s still important to get the invitations right. Unless you previously mailed out save the date reminders, the wedding invites are the first glimpse of your wedding that guests will have.
The first step is, of course, to gather all the pieces of your invitation cards and put them in easy reach for assembly. Take your time and remember to include all the information your guests will need. Many couples include directions, local hotel advice, and other extras in their invites. Double-check yourself, and make sure you have everything. When you do, it’s time to start stuffing envelopes.
The First Layer
Begin by placing your wedding invitation faceup on the table. If your invitation folds, open it flat. In a folded invitation, the reply card and any extras get tucked into the invite rather than stacked on top of it.
Some invitations come from the printer with a sheet of tissue paper in between them. This serves to protect the invitation ink and prevent smudging. Although that is typically not needed with modern inks, some manufacturers still include them. It’s completely up to you whether you want to lay the paper over your invitation or simply throw it away.
Next in your stack come the reply card and its envelope. The reply card should always sit next to the invitation, so think of the invitation and reply card as part of the same layer in your stack.
Place the self-addressed reply card envelope address side down on your invitation and then tuck the reply card face up under the envelope flap. Make sure you put a stamp on the reply card envelope so your guests don’t have to.
If you have additional information to include in your invites, now is the time. Stack any hotel accommodation suggestions, directions and other information on top of the reply card.
Do not, however, insert a card containing information about your gift registry in with your invitation. This is quite rude and incredibly tacky. Put this information on shower invites or a personalized wedding website instead. You can, however, include the URL of your wedding website in your invitation.
When adding these extras to your invitation, it generally doesn’t matter what order you stack them in. If they are different sizes, however, the experts agree that you should start with the largest paper and then work your way up to the smallest.
Just when you thought there can’t possibly be any more rules about assembling your wedding invitation, the envelopes come along. Yes, there is a wrong way to place your wedding invites inside their envelope. Who knew?
If your invitations get folded, grab your invitation packet stack, and place it in the envelope faceup, sliding the folded edge in first. If your invitation isn’t folded, place it in the envelope with the left edge going in first. Again, place the invitation faceup in the envelope so your guests can see the printing when they lift the envelope flap.
If you’re using one envelope only, congratulations. You’re done. If, however, you’re using a double envelope system, place the inner envelope inside the outer envelope. Place the inner envelope flap down inside the outer envelope so your guests see their printed name on the inner envelope when they open the outer one.
You did write all your guests’ names on the inner envelopes, right? If you didn’t, you should. Of course, there is a proper way to do that too.
When assembling your invitations, put the packet together, but wait until you’re done to seal the outer mailing envelopes. This way, you can still go back and add anything you may have forgotten to your invitations. Seal the envelopes only when you’re sure you have everything. This is much easier than trying to steam 200 envelopes back open to slip in something you forgot.
A Few Reminders
All that’s left now is a trip to the post office. When you mail your invites, you can do so proudly, knowing that your guests will get a good vibe from you properly assembled invitations. Your proper etiquette will probably make your grandmother smile too.
If, however, you realize after sending your invitations that you stacked something in the wrong order or forgot to write a guest’s name on the inner envelope, don’t panic. Emily Post isn’t going to come to your home throw you in etiquette jail. You’ll still have a beautiful wedding and enjoy your special day. When it’s done, be sure to remember the thank-you cards!