Most people have no idea what goes into creating a one-of-a-kind wedding stationery ensemble. I will try to make this an interesting multi-part series about creating a bespoke stationery wardrobe from save the dates to thank you notes.
As crazy as it sounds today, wedding invitations were once delivered by hand. If you were the bride of a well-to-do family, your footman delivered invitations to your guests. Their servants received them and removed the outer envelope, which was likely filthy from the travel. The help then presented the invitation, in its pristine inner envelope, to the guests.Because the invitation was already at its destination, the inner envelope had only the invited guests’ titles and surnames on it. If children under the age of 18 were invited, their first names appeared on the line beneath their parents’ names.
Even today, wedding invitations are often mailed in double envelopes. The inner envelope may be lined, is not glued, and fits into the outer envelope. The outer envelope has glue for sealing and addressing. More recently, the inner envelope is often left out in the interest of saving trees, money and postage. In some cases, a pocketfold can take the place of an inner envelope.
The flap of the outer envelope has the address of whoever issues the invitation. There is no name. Many people use the return address as an indication of where gifts should be sent. If you want your presents sent to you, use your address for the return information.
It is customary for guests’ name and addresses to be written on the envelopes in ink by hand. Fine calligraphy has an unmistakable beauty and I encourage ALL of my clients to use a calligrapher when working with à deux. The color of the ink is a personal preference and can compliment the rest of the stationery; just make sure it’s legible. The lettering on the inner and outer envelopes should match.
Click to enlarge this handy chart of common options.
Invitations should be mailed four to six weeks before the wedding. For summer, holiday or destination affairs, I recommend mailing them out eight weeks to twelve weeks ahead of the big day. The package size and weight affects postage. Have everything weighed at the post office before buying any cute stamps.
NEXT UP: All the little extras, from escort cards to duograms.