Invitation Etiquette

What is the difference between and inner and outer envelope? What is the proper way to have my guests RSVP?

I get so many of these questions on a daily basis from brides when designing their wedding invitations! I decided to write a post on proper invitation etiquette. When I first got engages, being engaged to a Naval Officer, the Captain's wife gave me a book entitled "Service Etiquette" It had every little detail I needed to know about how to act like a proper officer's wife (including how to hold chopsticks while dining with the POTUS...because I do that regularly ;) )

While most of the information in there was irrelevant to me, in came in very handy when it came time to write and address my wedding invitations. Being a first time bride, I had no clue what was involved so do not worry if you feel lost as well or are not sure if you should use Crane's 110LB or double thick paper when creating your letterpress invitations.   That is why wedding professionals  are here to guide you through every step of the way!

What is the proper way to write an invitation?

There really is no straight answer for this. Honestly, write your invitation however you want! However, make sure you include the important details: you and your fiancé's name, date and time of wedding, location of wedding. If you are not going to include additional enclosure cards, make sure to include any pertinent rsvp and reception information!

How do I word the invitation according to who is hosting/paying?

There are so many ways to do this. Below I have some examples of the most common invitation wording:

Both Parents Hosting

Formal (Standard):

Mr. & Mrs. Henry Nakagawa and Mr. & Mrs. Sean Gallagher request the pleasure of your company at the marriage of their children

Alyssa Chiemi Nakagawa & Stephen Michael Gallagher

Saturday, the eleventh of October two thousand and fourteen four o'clock in the afternoon

Saltwater Farm Vineyard 349 Williams Avenue Stonington, Connecticut

Reception to follow

Casual (Standard):

Mr. & Mrs. Henry Nakagawa and Mr. & Mrs. Sean Gallagher request the pleasure of your company at the marriage of their children

Alyssa Chiemi Nakagawa & Stephen Michael Gallagher

October 11, 2014 4:00 pm

Saltwater Farm Vineyard 349 Williams Avenue Stonington, Connecticut

Reception to follow

Bride's Parents Hosting

Formal (Standard):

Mr. & Mrs. Henry Nakagawa request the pleasure of your company at the marriage of their daughter

Alyssa Chiemi Nakagawa to Stephen Michael Gallagher

Saturday, the eleventh of October two thousand and fourteen four o'clock in the afternoon

Saltwater Farm Vineyard 349 Williams Avenue Stonington, Connecticut

Reception to follow

Casual (Standard):

Mr. & Mrs. Henry Nakagawa request the pleasure of your company at the marriage of their daughter

Alyssa Chiemi Nakagawa to Stephen Michael Gallagher

October 11, 2014 4:00 pm

Saltwater Farm Vineyard 349 Williams Avenue Stonington, Connecticut

Reception to follow

Couple with Parents Hosting

Formal (Standard):

Together with their parents

Alyssa Chiemi Nakagawa and Stephen Michael Gallagher

request the pleasure of your company at the celebration of their union

Saturday, the fourteenth of September two thousand and thirteen four o'clock in the afternoon

Saltwater Farm Vineyard 349 Williams Avenue Stonington, Connecticut

Reception to follow

Casual (Standard):

Together with their parents

Alyssa Chiemi Nakagawa and Stephen Michael Gallagher

request the pleasure of your company at the celebration of their union

September 14, 2013 4:00 pm

Saltwater Farm Vineyard 349 Williams Avenue Stonington, Connecticut

Reception to follow

 

Do I have to include additional enclosure cards?

No. It is your day and your budget. Only do what your finances allow. If you need to provide your guest's with additional information, then include enclosure cards as needed (ex. directions, lodging, RSVP)

What is the difference between an inner an outer envelope?

The inner envelope is a thinner envelope that protects the invitation as it makes it's way through the postal system. The inner envelope allows you to dictate exactly who is included in the invitation, avoiding an awkward misunderstanding on the day of the event. If you are inviting the entire family, spell out the names of everyone invited as follows; Mr & Mrs. Howard, Kelly Howard, Clark Howard & Erin Howard. If allowing a single person to bring a guest you would write Ms. Lesley Lemon and Guest, for example.

The outer envelope is addressed, traditionally, using titles, first, and last names. Etiquette rules state that you may abbreviate the tiles, like Dr, Miss, or Mr. but you should not abbreviate the address. You'll want to spell out Street not St. Boulevard not Blvd. , and so on.

Do I need both? 

No. While more formal invitations usually use both, if your budget is limited, just make sure to use a good, thick, envelope for the outer envelope. If you feel it is not thick enough or want to add a bit of style, you can always add a envelope liner.  Crystal Jeanne Paper Co. always uses 81# Text weight or a 91# Text weight to ensure your outer envelopes stay safe whether you have an inner envelope or not.

How do I address the envelope?

The authority on etiquette, Emily Post, has an exhaustive list of just about every situation you can imagine. You can find that list here, it will help immensely as you get into more delicate situations, like divorcees and those with professional titles.

Can I include wedding registry information on my invitation?

In a word, no. Including registry info on the wedding invitations or save-the-dates is still considered impolite because it can come off as though you're asking for gifts. Tell your wedding party, parents and close friends where you are registered, and let them fill guests in. Plus, most guests will know that all that extra information (that they didn't find on the invitation) is on your wedding website.

 Where do you put the return address on wedding invitations?

The return address usually goes on the back flap of the envelope. Also, the return address used should be that of the person(s) whom you've designated to receive response cards -- be it your parents or you (traditionally, whoever is hosting the wedding handles response cards). Don't forget that the RSVP envelope should also be printed with this address (and should include postage).

 

These questions give a brief overview of some of the most popular concerns that arise when designing wedding invitations. I would love to answer any additional questions that you may have. Just head over to the "Contact me" section and drop me a "hello!" I would love to hear from you and begin the process of designing your dream invitations!

 

Cheers,

Crystal Jeanne