Did you ever stop to think that the envelope is your guest’s first glimpse of the wedding invitation? It’s important to take the time to consider the style and function of the envelope when you’re in the planning and design stage for your wedding invitation suite. You’re creating a first impression with the envelope, so why not make it as special and beautiful as the invitation components that it holds inside? Here, we go over some of the important details to remember when considering your envelope, including sizes, wording etiquette, and finishing techniques.
Commonly Used Envelope Sizes
- Measures 3.625″ x 5.125″
- Holds a 3.5″ x 4.875″ card
- Commonly used for response cards
- Measures 4.375″ x 5.75″
- Holds a 4.25″ x 5.5″ card
- Commonly used for response cards or personalized note cards
- Measures 4.75″ x 6.5″
- Holds a 4.5″ x 6.25″ card
- Commonly used for save the dates or personalized note cards
- Measures 5.25″ x 7.25″
- Holds a 5″ x 7″ card
- Most popular size for wedding invitations and save the dates
- Measures 5.5″ x 8.125″
- Holds a 5.25″ x 7.875” card
- Great for invitations or announcements
- Measures 5.75″ x 8.75″
- Holds a 5.5″ x 8.5″ card
- This size is often chosen to make a big statement
Choosing the right flap style for your invitation or note card is an important step! While most wedding invitations these days are sent out in envelopes with a deep pointed, or Euro flap, there are no rules when it comes to selecting the flap style that suits your design best. Square flap envelopes are a little more casual, while a pointed flap sends a more formal message. The elegance and modernity of the Euro flap bridges the gap between the other two styles, landing squarely in “impressive” territory.
Flap Style: Square
Flap Style: Deep Euro
Flap Style: Pointed
Wedding envelope Components
The outer envelope is for mailing and will feature addressing for each guest on the front panel. The back flap, no matter the style you choose, will feature the return address for the happy couple (or often, the parents that are hosting the event). Your guests’ names should be written out fully in the addressing, including titles and avoiding nicknames or abbreviations. While envelope liners are often used with outer envelopes, it’s important to remember this is the envelope that your guests will be tearing open. An envelope liner on the inner envelope is more traditional.
The inner envelope serves the purpose of protecting the invitation itself. Inner envelopes got their origin when mail was delivered via horseback, causing pieces of mail to be delivered quite dirty and covered in dust. The inner envelope ensured that the invitation would arrive pristine and intact. Nowadays, mail typically arrives without dust or grime, but an inner envelope is a nice touch when you’re wanting to make a grander statement with your invitations. The inner envelope is often addressed with the names of the guests in a slightly less formal way. This is also where you can let the guest know if they can bring someone, by adding “and Guest” to each name that you’re inviting.
Just as the name implies, this envelope is for the response card that your guests will be mailing back to indicate whether or not they plan to attend the big day. This envelope is typically pre-addressed and self-stamped, so that all your guest has to do is drop it in the mailbox. The return address of the host of the event should be used on the front of the envelope.
The correspondence for your wedding, whether it’s the save-the-date or the invitation itself, should set the tone for the event with a properly finished envelope that showcases the importance of the enclosed invitation. Nothing does a better job than the design of the invitation carrying over to the envelope, with the addressing beautifully and accurately printed.
Typically positioned on the back flap of the outer envelope, the return address of the host of the wedding (whether or not it’s the couple getting hitched) serves the purpose of having an address in the unfortunate event that an invitation gets returned due to a wrong address. This address can be printed in a variety of ways – letterpress, foil stamping, or digital ink printing are all great choices depending on the style and design of your suite.
Variable Guest Addressing
While handwritten calligraphy for wedding invitation addressing was long the norm, most modern couples use digital (or flat) printed addressing. Digital calligraphy can make an impression just as powerful and beautiful as written script, and with our capabilities of white ink envelope addressing, dark or colored envelopes are a great option to be considered to compliment your invitation design. Each address is neatly and accurately printed on the front panel of your mailing envelope, with each guest’s name and title exactly as you lay it out.
Finishing your envelope with a colored or printed liner is a really special, elegant touch. While most people envision solid colored liners, the sky is really the limit with what you can achieve by utilizing clever design and interesting printing techniques. Using premium text weight papers, we can print designs like monograms or patterns with letterpress, foil stamping, or flat printing. The liners are die-cut to fit perfectly and line up with the flap of the envelope. Envelope liners have traditionally bwwn used on ungummed inner envelopes that are sealed with wax or a sticker. The reason for this is that an outer envelope is commonly opened with a letter opener, thus ripping the liner as it is opened. However, more and more modern wedding invitation suites eschew the inner envelope in order to streamline the design, and so liners are often used on outer (or mailing) envelopes as well.
Sealing your envelope with a wax seal is another great way to “dress up” your envelopes. Traditionally used on both the inner and outer mailing envelopes, seals made from wax serve two purposes; actually sealing the envelope shut and providing another opportunity to carry across the design of the invitation suite. A monogram or design motif can be incorporated into the wax seal, adding just one more flourish of personality and elegance. While traditional wax seals are placed using melted wax and a metal stamp, there are also modern self-adhesive wax seals.
There’s more than one way to seal an envelope! Stickers made with uncoated papers and a self-adhesive backing can be personalized with letterpress or foil stamping, and won’t require additional postage like a wax seal typically will. This is a good option for adding a wedding monogram from the invitation or save-the-date to the envelope itself.
Envelope Postage Guidelines
Because of all the various cards and components of your wedding invitation suite, the weight of the mailing envelope is something to be considered. Uniquely sized invitations and envelopes, including square invitations and extra large cards, will also require additional postage. It should be expected that postage of your invitation suite will typically be higher than that of a regular letter, so a good rule of thumb is take a completed and assembled invitation suite and envelope(s), with all the finishing components, to your local post office to have it weighed. You can then find out exactly how much it will cost to send each invitation.
When To Send Your Wedding Invitations
When planning the design and execution of your invitation suite, it’s important to consider the timing. As a general rule, and according to such etiquette heavyweights as Emily Post and Crane’s Blue Book of Stationery, wedding invitations should be mailed out six to eight weeks prior to the wedding date. This gives your guests ample time to plan and also reply in a timely manner if they are able to attend or not. If you are unable to send out your invitations with a longer lead time, it can often be advantageous to include a wedding website or email address that guests can use to RSVP digitally. This option is also becoming increasingly more popular as a quicker and easier way for guests to respond. However, guests from an older generation will often expect and appreciate the tradition of a physical response card.
Make Your First Impression a Special One
Wedding invitations are often a labor of love, with many hours spent on the conception, design, and execution of the final invitation suite. The not-so-humble envelope can sometimes be an afterthought, but as we’ve shown here, it’s just as important as the stationery components it holds. Besides the utilitarian purpose that an envelope serves, the style and design should be considered carefully. As always, we’re here to help answer any questions or offer suggestions to make your invitations and the envelopes shine.