Wedding Invitation Inner Envelope

"Simplicity"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.


"Garden Romance"

"Colorful Chic"

California Poppy"

Palm Tree Band"


Exclusively Weddings offers free invitation samples to help you choose “the one”.

Invitations shown above:
Garden Romance
Colorful Chic

California Poppy
Palm Tree Band

Advice at a Glance – Wedding Invitation Wording – Part 2

Q. I’m confused about how to punctuate our wedding invitations properly.
A comma will be used in the date line and before the words “junior,” and the usual punctuation will be included with the titles “Mr.” and “Mrs.” Otherwise, no punctuation should appear on the invitation.

Q. How should an invitation to a noon wedding read?
you may simply say “at twelve o’clock,” or “at twelve o’clock in the afternoon” if you feel it needs clarification.

Q. None of the typical wording examples seem to apply to our particular situation. Is it acceptable to create our own wording?
Of course you are not bound by these choices. Used by generations of brides, wording examples are just etiquette’s way of dealing with a variety of family situations in the most tasteful way possible. If you do decide to write the wording for your own invitation, simply use your best judgment, keeping the format simple and tasteful.

Q. My fiancé is a “junior” but we are not sure how to handle this on our invitation. Is the word always abbreviated?
The word “junior” is most commonly written out on wedding invitations, but it may be abbreviated if your names are lengthy and you are short on space. If you abbreviate, begin with an uppercase “J,” but if you write out the word “junior,” it should begin with a lowercase letter. In either case, it should be preceded by a comma as in the following examples:
Brian Daniel Miller, junior
Brian Daniel Miller, Jr.

Q. My groom has been married before, but this is my first marriage. Is it proper for my parents to issue the invitation?
An invitation to a second wedding usually reflects the bride’s previous marital status, not the groom’s. If she is marrying for the first time but it is his second marriage, the invitation may still be issued by the bride’s parents. If the bride has been married before or if both are entering their second marriage, they may issue the invitation themselves.

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Advice at a Glance – Wedding Invitation Wording – Part 1

Q. I know that etiquette frowns on adding the phrase “Black tie” to wedding invitations, but I’m afraid some of my guests won’t know the proper attire for my evening wedding. What can I do?
A. While it’s true that guests should use the time of day to determine your wedding’s formality, most people today aren’t aware of that guideline. If you feel it’s necessary to address the attire issue simply add “Black tie” in a footnote to the lower left-hand corner of your reception cards. If you are not using reception cards, the footnote may be discreetly added to the lower left corner, lower right corner or bottom center of your invitation. The same is true for “White tie,” which is even more formal and requires long, formal gowns for women an white tie formalwear for men.

Q. Is it ever proper to enclose bridal registry information with wedding invitations?
A. No. Including the specifics of your registry with the invitation would be nothing short of asking for a gift. It’s best to have your parents spread the word, or to include store information in a shower invitation.

Q. My fiancé wants to include his deceased father’s name on our invitation. Is that acceptable.
A. It’s a thoughtful gesture, but the invitational line should reflect the actual hosts of the wedding. Instead, remember him in other ways such as with a special memorial candle at the ceremony.

Q. My parents are legally separated, but not yet divorced. How should our invitations be worded?
Since they will not be divorced when your invitations are mailed, your parents may issue the invitation under the title of “Mr. and Mrs.” if that feels comfortable for both of them. If not, place their names on separate lines, with your mother’s name first. In that case, do not use the word “and” to join their names.

Q. I know that our invitations must include our formal names and no nickname, but what about initials?
Initials are never used on formal invitations. If you prefer not to include a middle name, simply omit it altogether.

Q. We’ve decided to make our reception an “adults only” event. Is there a polite way to say that on our invitations?
Never include phrases such as “no children” or “adults only” on a formal invitation. Instead, have your parents and other family members spread the word ahead of time that you don’t plan to include children in the celebration.

Trying to choose the perfect invitation can be intimidating! Exclusively Weddings has made it easier by offering free invitation samples.
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A Step-By Step Guide to Your Wedding Invitation Wording – Part 1

Although the basics of wedding invitations haven’t changed much over the years, family situations have become more complex than ever. Ceremony and reception locations have also become more varied as couples plan celebrations that truly reflect their personalities.

When it comes to the actual invitation wording, etiquette has softened a bit with the times, but it still offers comfortable ways to work through difficult family situations that may arise. Perhaps your parents are divorced but still plan to host the reception together, or maybe the two of you want to issue the invitation yourselves. If so, you’ll need to know how to put it in writing.

The beauty of the following step-by-step advice is that it guides you through every line of your invitation. With the proper wording to reflect your own situation, you an finalize the who, when, and where of one of the most memorable days of your life.

Doctor and Mrs. Robert John Williams
invitational line

request the honour of your presence
request line

at the marriage of their daughter
request line

Sarah Anne
bride’s name

joining word
[use “and” for a Jewish wedding, some Catholic ceremonies
and as an option for all situations.]

Mr. Brian Daniel Miller, junior
groom’s name    

Saturday, the fourth of June
date line

Two thousand and twelve
year line

at half after five o’clock
time line

Church of Christ

Chicago, Illinois
location address

See Part 2 for more  ….

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Top Wedding Invitation FAQs: The Guest List

Q. We are both marrying for the second time. Is it still acceptable to send out formal wedding invitations?
A. Yes, your second (or even third) wedding can be heralded in formal fashion, with a beautiful invitation.

Q. My guest list won’t accommodate all of my co-workers. What can I do?
A. Above all, be discreet. Rather than inviting just a few and risking hurt feelings, limit the wedding to family and close friends and host an open house in your new home later to introduce your co-workers to your new husband. Beware of posting an invitation on the company bulletin board, which suggests an open invitation for anyone who reads it, unless that is your intention.

Q. I have heard of couples who make a “B List” of potential guests. Is that tacky?
A. Designating a separate list of invitees is acceptable, as long as their invitations do not arrive less than four weeks before the wedding. No one likes to be second choice. But if you have an extensive guest list and several people decline right away, then move ahead to Plan B.

Q. Is it necessary to invite the spouse of every guest?
A. Yes, the spouses of your friends and family members should always be included, whether or not you know them well.

Q. Is it ever acceptable to include “and guest” on a wedding invitation”
A. It is always best to research the name of the guest so that he or she can be extended a separate invitation. On a less formal invitation, however, the inner envelope can be addressed “Ms. Williams and guest.” If it reads simply “Ms Williams,” she should know she is not expected to bring an escort. If this is the case and she pursues the issue, simply say that your wedding budget did not allow for extra people.

Q. Is it necessary to invite everyone to both the ceremony and reception?
A. Yes, all guests should be included at both events unless you plan a very intimate ceremony with just immediate family. If that’s the case, you should send separate reception invitations to other family members and friends.

Q. We have decided not to include children at our wedding. What should I do if someone adds a child’s name to the response card and it is obvious that they plan to bring them along?
A. If one of your guests feels compelled to add their child’s name to the response card even though the child’s name did not appear on the invitation envelope, have your mother or close friend or relative explain the situation as tactfully as possible. your reason for excluding children can be as simple as a limited budget.

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A Wedding Invitation Timeline

Eight Months to a Year Ahead – Order thank-you notes with your maiden name to acknowledge early gifts, and notes with your new name or monogram for personal correspondence after the wedding. If you plan a wedding that will take place around a busy holiday season or plan to invite guests to join you for a destination wedding, also order save-the-date cards.

Six Months Ahead – Mail Save-the-Date cards

Four to Six Months Ahead – Order wedding invitations. Also order response cards, reception cards, and At Home cards. Consider a printed directions card and accommodations card with hotel information for out-of-town guests.

Six to Eight Weeks Ahead – Take a completely assembled invitation to the post office to have the proper amount of postage determined. Mail invitations.

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Wedding Invitations – Instructions for assembling & Addressing

Assembling Your Invitation

The wedding stationery is assembled in order of size, starting with the invitation. Remember that enclosure cards are stacked on top of the invitation, never inside if you have a folder-style invitation.

Here’s  how to  assemble your components …

Place the reception card on top of the invitation.

Next, place the envelope for the reply card face down on the reception card.

The reply card is slipped beneath the flap of the reply envelope. If you have any other enclosures, add them to the stack face up in order of their size.

Insert the invitations into the inner envelope with the lettering facing the back of the envelope. You can be assured the envelope is correctly stuffed if you can read the invitation without turning it when removed with the right hand.

Finally, put the inner envelope in to the outer envelope. The front of the inner envelope faces the back of the outer envelope.

Addressing Your Invitation

When it’s time to address envelopes, remember that poor penmanship can spoil the entire look of the invitation. That’s why many brides hire a professional calligrapher to address the envelopes. Resist the temptation to use computer-generated labels.

It is no longer a hard-and-fast rule that middle names be included on the outer envelope. Many people only use a middle initial and they may be addressed that way on your invitation. Abbreviations, however, are not used except in the case of “Mr.,”, “Mrs.,” “Dr” or “”Lt.” combined with “Colonel”, etc. Where street numbers were once written out, it’s now perfectly acceptable to use numerals for ease in postal delivery, and to utilize the two-letter abbreviations for states.

Although full names appear on the outer envelope, the inner envelope should be addressed simply to “Mr. and Mrs. Jones.”

Young children’s names should appear on both the inner and outer envelopes beneath their parents’ names.

Children over 18 should receive their own invitations.

Instead of writing “and guest” on the outer envelopes, obtain the names of live-ins, fiancés and significant others and mail them a separate invitation.

Trying to choose the perfect invitation can be intimidating! Exclusively Weddings has made it easier for you by offering free invitation samples. Order Free Invitation Samples