From The Archives

Invite Assembly: Part 3


As mentioned in Part 1 and Part 2 of this little series, one of the first things you need to do when you receive your wedding stationery is to address the envelopes. I wanted to focus on this today because the way you choose to address your envelopes can make a really good or really bad impression, regardless of what’s inside the envelope. I’ve pulled together a few tips which I hope will be helpful.

addressing your invitation envelopes

I personally have an absolute love affair with calligraphy and I think it should always be the first choice. Having your guests’ names and addresses beautifully penned by a pro will add a certain elegance and style to even the most simple (and affordable) invitations.

If you’re thinking about hiring a calligrapher, click here for a few helpful tips on how to get the process started. You can also find a list of talented calligraphers here.

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If calligraphy is not in the budget, the next best option is to hand address the envelopes yourself. If your handwriting is not up to par, solicit the help of a family member or good friend with better penmanship. Although your own handwriting might not be as artistic as a calligrapher’s, that’s perfectly fine – what’s more important is that it will be personal. The mere fact you have taken the time to address each and every envelope will make your guests feel as though they really have been personally invited to share in your special day.

The key to hand-addressing is to give yourself time. Don’t try to knock out 150 envelopes in an hour. Allow yourself a week or two (maybe more, depending on how many envelopes you need to address) and do just a few each day.

quick tip: Print 3-4 thick black lines on a piece of paper then slide that template inside the envelope to use as a guide so that when you write the address, your lines are as evenly spaced and as neat as possible.

another tip: Be sure to get yourself a really good pen – one that won’t bleed or run. Also avoid using a thick marker-type pen… this tends to look a bit unrefined.

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Please, I implore you, please don’t stick printed address labels on your invitation envelopes! Yes, I know, it’s easy… but there’s nothing more impersonal than to receive an invitation with a printed label. Labels give the impression that you just didn’t have the time or energy to hand-write the envelopes. Although this might be true (we’re all busy after all, and wedding planning is a lot of work!), you’ve already taken time to choose just the right invitation and you’ve thought long and hard about your wording… the last thing you want to do is to give a less-than-ideal impression in the end.

I think the best use of a label is if it’s a decorative one. A decorative label can add another design element to your envelopes if the label carries the same motif, pattern or colors as your invitations. You would, of course, still need to hand-write the addresses on the labels.

quick tip: The printed label rule also goes for the return address on the envelope flap. The best bet is to have your return address pre-printed on the envelope flaps when you order your invitations. You could also have a special rubber stamp made with your address and a coordinating motif, then hand-stamp the envelope flaps.

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If you feel as though hand addressing is simply out of the question and you’re a savvy DIY-er, another option would be to print the addresses directly on the envelopes. Although still not ideal, this option is not quite as impersonal as generic printed address labels. If you find a nice font, you can set up a file  which you can use to type each address (in Adobe Illustrator, Word, PhotoShop… whatever you’re most comfortable with), then print each envelope on your desktop printer. Ideally, you would want to use a laser printer since the ink would be less likely to run than an inkjet printout if the envelopes are delivered on a rainy day.

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Well, that’s my two cents on how to address your envelopes. Hope it was helpful. Tomorrow we’ll chat about the final finishing touch: postage.

2 thoughts on “Invite Assembly: Part 3

  1. Sarah

    Can you please share you opinion about what you actually write on the envelopes? I have been struggling with Mr. and Mrs. John Smith vs. Mr. John and Ms. Susy Smith. Also, what is your opinion about not having an inner envelope? I think it is somewhat unnecessary and obviously more generous to our environment. However, this might change the way to actually address the invitation. Can you say “Mr. John and Ms. Susy Smith and Family?”

  2. gia at betsywhite Post author

    Hi Sarah –
    On the outer envelope, you would write ‘Mr. and Mrs. John Smith’.

    The tradition of double envelopes started before the 20th century when almost all wedding invitations were hand-delivered and it was highly likely that the envelope would get soiled in transit. Of course, today’s postal systems are far more advanced and most mail is delivered in good shape, however, your outer envelope will still be stamped, jostled and handled a great deal before being delivered to your guests so having the extra protection of the outer envelope is always a plus.

    For tips on how to address your envelopes, check out this post:


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