In your search for the perfect invitation you likely have noticed that besides the outer (mailing) envelope that many invitations also have an inner envelope. The notion of two envelopes can be confusing and you may question why two separate pieces are necessary. The history of the inner envelope is that in the olden days when invitations were hand-delivered, two envelopes were used because the outer envelope was often soiled and therefore was discarded. Today, the tradition of using two envelopes continues and the pristine inner envelope, one that has not been through the postal system, is also a perfect place for guests to keep enclosures together for reference up until the wedding.
The outer envelope is the mailing envelope and includes the full name and mailing address of your guest(s). It has glue on the inside flap for sealing. The outer envelope flap can be pre-printed with the return address. The inner envelope holds your invitation and all enclosures and it is often lined in a color that coordinates with the invitation color and/or font color. It does not have glue on the flap and is to be left unsealed. Your guests’ names are handwritten, using their titles and surnames only, for example: Mr. and Mrs. Brown
Besides the tradition and stately appearance of one envelope slipped inside the other, and the air of anticipation about what’s hidden inside, consider the practicality: The outer envelope contains the full name and actual mailing address of the guest, while the inner envelope specifically states just the names of those who are being invited to the wedding. Young children, for example, don’t necessarily need to be included on the outer envelope. When there is doubt about which family members have been asked to attend the ceremony and the reception, the inner envelope answers the question and often saves the embarrassment of a difficult etiquette situation.
The photos below show how much pizzazz and impact the coordinating inner envelope adds to the invitation.
Exclusively Weddings offers free invitation samples to help you choose “the one”.