All of the many pieces of a wedding invitation ensemble can be intimidating for a lot of brides.

Today’s post is meant to help you clearly understand the outermost pieces: the envelopes!

Oftentimes the envelopes are overlooked, but I’m here to give you the scoop on why you shouldn’t discount these beauties. Not only are they functional, but they are traditional, and they can really play into the overall experience of your invitations.

Inner Envelopes

1) Inner envelope with custom liner, and 2) Outer envelope with calligraphy by Distinctive Inscriptions

When I talk about envelopes being traditional, this is what I mean! You’ll probably want to know first-off that many brides are shying away from this tradition, and here’s why.

In the past, back when mail was delivered via horse, train, or some other grubby process, the outer envelope would often get soiled pretty badly. An inner envelope would keep the invitation suite immaculate and flawless. The outer envelope would be discarded upon opening.

Today, our mailing system is a little less traumatic on our invitation ensembles. Yes, they get tossed around and dirtied a bit, but nowhere near where they used to be. S0, you can see why many brides opt for an outer envelope only, or an outer envelope with a custom liner (we’ll touch on that in a bit).

Here at Ann Elizabeth, we have a few criteria that help a bride decide whether or not to use inner envelopes:

1) Formality:

The more formal/traditional your invitations are, we recommend including inner envelopes. For invitation suites that are less formal, inner envelopes are not necessary.

2) Clarity:

Inner envelopes are handy in situations where only certain members of a household are invited to your event. The inners provide clarity, because etiquette dictates that the names on the inner envelopes are those for whom the invitation is intended. For example, this might apply to an adults only event.

3) Cost-Effectiveness:

Surprisingly enough, a lined inner envelope can be more cost-effective than creating a custom liner for an outer envelope (something many of our brides opt for, and which you have to do for any outer envelope liner). The reason this can be more cost-effective is, there are about 25 standard liners that are pre-made for inner envelopes we offer. So if you’re on more of a budget, but a lined envelope is something you want for your invitations this is the way to go.

Outer/Mailing Envelopes

Outer envelopes are the most familiar to everyone. It’s your typical mailing envelope with a few options to dress it up for a wedding. There are a few rules for etiquette, however.

1) Post to the hosts:

Outer envelope, return addressed to the hosts’ residence

It is discouraged for the return address printed on the mailing envelopes to be different from that of “the hosts” of the wedding. If the parents are announcing the wedding, the return address should be the parents’ unless circumstances prevent this.

2) It takes two to tango, with this acception:

The bride’s portion of the invitations and the groom’s portion of the invitations should all be issued from the same return address (ie, do not print 2 different return addresses depending on whether the guests will be on the bride’s side or the groom’s side).

3) If you only have an outer, watch out:

Things can get a bit tricky when you have a more formal invitation without an inner envelope. Like we stated above, certain things are traditionally written on the inner envelopes, so you have to take care when addressing your envelopes that there is

no room for questions as to who in the household is invited.

Liners: Standard and Custom

Custom outer envelope liner

As stated in the heading, there are liners that come standard for certain envelope sizes, and then there are custom liners that you can have made.

Standard liners are a great option if you’re on a budget but are still looking for an extra pop of color.

However, we really love the custom option, because the paper you choose for your liner will tie in perfectly with the rest of your invitation, whether it’s used as an accent piece (like you see in the suite to the right) or whether it matches your motif exactly. There is something to be said for a custom liner; it’s one of the fine details that make an invitation ensemble so chic and so glamorous.


Envelope tips:

  • It’s best to either hand-write (write yourself or hire a Calligrapher) or have your addresses professionally printed (called envelope personalization) on your outer envelopes. The handwriting gives an added personal touch, and the printing will be cohesive with the rest of your invitation ensemble (not to mention, you won’t have to stress over writing them yourself! Saves time, and is SO worth the small cost). Oh- and did we mention that having your envelopes printed on looks a whole lot classier than labels? Just sayin’!
  • We recommend always having your invitations hand-canceled. This lessens the chance of the post office running your delicate invitation through a machine. Most post offices have what they call a “nonmachinable surcharge,” which they’ll apply to each invitation mailed, usually around 20 cents. So it costs a little extra, but if you ask us, this surcharge is definitely worth it.
  • Square envelopes cost a little bit more to mail. The same surcharge we mentioned above applies to square envelopes.

And last but not least, here is today’s pinnable! Don’t forget to share- we love it when you do!