We're wrapping up design on our final invitations for the 2015 wedding season, and are already hard at work on our 2016 weddings! Our new batch of bride and grooms are already coming up with some beautiful ideas for their invitations that we can't wait to share. But with a new set of couples come questions about proper wedding invitation etiquette. One of the more common wedding invitation etiquette questions being, "What are inner and outer envelopes? Do I really need double envelopes?" So today, we're sharing some of our wedding etiquette knowledge about inner and outer envelopes for wedding invitations!
The tradition of sending out wedding invitations in double envelopes (the inner and outer) dates back to the early 1800's when mail was delivered on horseback and by foot. As you can imagine, traveling many miles in all sorts of weather conditions led to envelopes becoming dirty or torn. So it became proper etiquette to deliver wedding invitations inside double envelopes (the smaller "inner" envelope, and the slightly larger "outer") to protect the inner envelope and ultimately, the wedding invitation. When the invitation was delivered, the outer envelope was removed, revealing a clean inner envelope holding the wedding invitation.
Besides one envelope being smaller, and the other slightly bigger...how do these two envelopes differ? The larger, outer envelope contains full mailing information so that the postal service may deliver your invitation. Printed on the front of the envelopes are the guests' formal names and titles, their street address, city, state, and zip-code. On the back flap of the outer envelope is your return address information, so that if an invitation is undeliverable, the post office may return it. The smaller, inner envelope is an ungummed envelope (as opposed to the sealable, gummed outer envelope) and is left unsealed inside of the larger envelope. The front of the inner envelope is informally addressed, and only includes your guests' names, no address. If additional guests are invited (e.g. a "plus one" or children), that would be indicated on the inner envelope. If a couple chooses to include an envelope liner, the inner envelope is the envelope that gets lined. Lining the inner envelope allows your liner to really shine since the inner envelope is ungummed.
The tradition of double envelopes for wedding invitations is still alive and well, with many couples choosing to include both inner and outer envelopes in their wedding invitations. In today's modern age, we still have some of our mail arrive ripped and dirty (thank you, USPS), so the double envelope still does the job of protecting your wedding invitation. Some couples choose to omit the inner envelope, and send their wedding invitations in a single envelope. Both practices are proper when it comes to wedding etiquette, it's up to the individual couple to decide their preference!
So now you're an expert on inner and outer envelopes for wedding invitations, too!
Nico and Lala