With technology ruling the world of correspondence, there’s a much higher appreciation that goes along with receiving a formally addressed piece of snail mail. That’s especially true for wedding invitations.
Your wedding invitation is the first glimpse your guests get into your wedding style, so delight them with a unexpected elements like personalized stamps or brightly colored envelopes—they’ll be excited to check “yes” on the RSVP card before they’ve even opened the envelope.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a stationery designer who isn’t having a little fun with envelope liners.
This inner layer is the first thing guests will see when they excitedly open your invite. Liners are a great finishing touch and the perfect place to add fun design elements, like a sketch of the skyline, or a personal detail, like your wedding date. Pair with a colored envelope for eye-catching mail.
This trend is straight from the hand!
Pretty penmanship, ornate calligraphy and fanciful flourishes are plentiful. Calligraphers are creating new, modern hands that feel totally fresh (this is not the calligraphy from your grandmother’s wedding invitation). Try the trend by having just your names hand-lettered.
Use the design from your save-the-dates to build excitement or include cards in welcome bags highlighting area attractions. Add personal details to the map’s design, like icons for your ceremony and reception locales. If you’re a playful couple, take this trend one step further by creating an old-fashioned treasure map.
Leave yourself enough time to address and stuff all those envelopes. If you’re using one, your planner can handle this task for you, or your stationer may do it for an extra fee. But if you (and maybe your generous wedding party) are doing the job, here are a few guidelines:
The invite goes on the bottom, then stack your enclosures on top in order of largest to smallest (the smallest goes on the very top of the pile).
The RSVP card should be tucked into the flap of the reply envelope (so the flap covers part of the text).
Place everything in the inner envelope so the text is facing outward—that way guests can read the invitation as they take it out.
Put the unsealed inner envelope inside the outer envelope with the guests’ names facing outward. (Note: Inner envelopes aren’t required and are reserved for traditional invitations.)
You don’t want your guests to drop their RSVP envelopes in the mail without a stamp or to make them pay for postage to RSVP to your event. Make it easy for them to reply by pre-stamping the RSVP envelope. You’ll ensure they get back to you (or whoever is in charge of the guest list) without a hitch.
Before you mail your wedding invitations, ask the post office to weigh a fully assembled envelope so you know exactly how many stamps you’ll need. This step may sound tedious, but the alternative could mean invites returned for insufficient postage, which will throw your entire wedding planning timeline for a loop.
Enclosures typically increase postage, so keep that in mind when you’re deciding on including maps or reception cards and the type of paper they’re printed on.
Machines at mail centers can only process certain envelope shapes and sizes—generally rectangles that are a minimum of 3.5 by 5 inches to a maximum of 6.125 by 11.5 inches. If your envelope is an odd shape (say, square), even if it falls within those dimensions, you may end up paying a 20 cent non-machinable fee per envelope.
With larger invites (more than 3.5 ounces or bigger than 6.125 by 11.5 inches), like a boxed invitation, you won’t have to pay the surcharge to hand-process them.
Even if your invitation doesn’t meet the non-machinable criteria, consider paying the extra fee to have them hand-processed—it will guarantee that your mail will be sorted by a person rather than a machine, which can bend or soil envelopes.
Another option is hand-canceling (just a stamp that says your mail is processed).
In most cases, this option is free, but check with your local post office first to make sure they have a hand stamp. The big caveat: Most post offices try to keep hand-canceled mail separate from regular mail, but there’s no guarantee your invitations won’t also go through the processing machines.
After all the work you’ve put into your envelopes and invitations, make them look special.
Customizing a stamp for your wedding envelope is a great way to personalize it, and it’s the first opportunity you must show off your wedding theme. There’s also the option of working with a stationer to design custom postage that matches your invitation design or colors. And don’t forget to order enough for your RSVP envelopes too.
You’re done! Send out your invitations six to eight weeks before the wedding—or 10 to 12 weeks in advance if you’re having a destination wedding.
Now that you’ve got the invitations in the mail, you can breathe a little easier. There’s still a ton to do, but this … the invites … this was a really big accomplishment. Don’t let that motivation and inspiration flag! Check out this collection of curated wedding images!
Your happily-ever-after starts with your Best Day Ever!