Remember when I mentioned that education posts were coming to the blog? Well looky here! We’re starting off by going back to basics: the anatomy of an invitation suite. All the pieces and inserts used to craft your perfect invitation. Unfortunately for us, we don’t have owls to deliver deliciously calligraphed parchment to our friends and family, á la 4 Privet Drive. But what we do have is tips, tricks, and education to help you go through your wedding stationery process with ease and know-how! Look at you go, knowing what you’re doing, knowing what a reception card is and addressing your envelopes with grace and technical prowess! I’m so proud.
The big mamajama of your suite. This is the most essential stationery component as it quite literally is the messenger of important ceremony details. It’s the piece that says, “hey, friend / loved one / family member, I’m marrying the love of my life, and nothing would make me happier than to have you there to celebrate. Join us, won’t you?” The invitation provides information like the date, time, and location. There are a lot of dos and don’ts as far as etiquette goes (do: include the venue name, don’t: include any street addresses), but that’s a different beast that I’ll tackle in a separate blog post.
This little ditty is essential as it’s how your guests communicate their intentions. Guests have a space to write their names and indicate if they’ll be joining your big day or celebrating from afar. The response card is your chance to gather information as needed! If applicable, you’re also able to give guests an opportunity to select their meals, request a song, or even fill in a you-themed mad lib. As guests mail them back to you, RSVP cards come with their own envelope. Don’t forget to add postage!
While this could technically be considered inessential compared to your invitation and RSVP card, I always recommend having an information card at the very least. This card is great because it acts as your information “catch all.” Share your accommodation information, Sunday brunch plans, reception information, or even just your wedding website where guests can go online to find out all of the above. Because there’s strict etiquette rules over what can and cannot be shared on the invitation, the information card is your chance to ensure that content is still shared and available to your guests.
Of course, none of the above can make it to your guests if not packed all nice and neat in an envelope! Only one set of envelopes is essential; however, if you’re feeling Extra Fancy, both inner AND outer envelopes is the way to go. With this formal and traditional option, the outer envelope lists the household name and address, while the inner envelope lists each individual invited to your wedding. The inner envelope is also an opportunity to create an atmosphere of intimacy and coziness, often swapping out “Mrs. Jones” for “Gramma.”
If your reception and ceremony are held in two separate locations, a reception card is always recommended! This allows you to take up all the space in the world with street addresses, venues, contact information (if necessary), parking information, and whatever else your guests need to know in order to show up, celebrate, and get their grooves on.
Having a destination wedding? Are a lot of your guests traveling in to witness your nuptials? If so, an accommodations card is strongly recommended. List hotels, locations, contact information, and even group rates and “please book by” dates.
Are you hosting multiple events in multiple locations? Is your city super cool and you want to point out your favorite landmarks? Do you have people coming in from out of town and want to give them the opportunity to visit your favorite restaurants, bars, and things to do? Map cards are the loveliest way to point out all of the best destinations in your area. P&H bride Abby requested that her map look like “a tiny piece of art” and that is the goal for each and every piece. Besides being functional, they’re also just so dang cute!
Whether it’s an invitation for your rehearsal dinner, Sunday brunch, or any other wedding weekend event, a separate invitation card detailing event-specific information is always a good idea. A beautiful, complimentary piece to the rest of your suite is so much better than word of mouth or a half-hearted email, and including these in your envelopes ensures you didn’t forget to tell Great Aunt Martha about the rehearsal. One less thing for you to have to remember! You’re able to order in smaller quantities (assuming not all of your guests are invited to the smaller events, of course!) and slip them right into the whole invitation suite, saving on further envelopes, addressing, and postage.
While addressing your envelopes is something you can totally handle on your own if you’d like, there’s just something about a suite that’s cohesive all the way to the outer envelope that makes me feel warm-design-fuzzies. Flat printed envelopes give you the opportunity to bring design elements outside of the envelope (ie. let’s bring out those laurels and frame the addresses with them! Let’s re-use the calligraphy file of your names for the return address on the back flap!)
When it comes to fun and beautiful extras, envelope liners are arguably my very favorite. I mean, there you are, with a regular old envelope, you open it up and POW! A gorgeous liner! What a twist! Whatever’s in this envelope, it must be pretty special. Whether the liner is a custom design that matches your suite, some one-of-a-kind handmade paper, or a simple pop of color (or gold!), envelope liners are an easy and super fun way to add a little somethin’ somethin’ to your guests’ experience. It really is the cherry on top of a perfect wedding suite.
When I refer to belly bands, I’m really referring to anything that you could use to hold all of your pieces together. A tag tied to baker’s twine, a slip of paper designed to match the rest of your suite, or even a simple ribbon. If your suite is your favorite outfit, the belly band is the belt that makes the perfect finishing touch (and keeps your pants from falling down)!
I’m a sucker for a good address stamp. There’s something so deliciously satisfying about pressing a rubber stamp and leaving an impression! Custom address stamps are a fantastic, cost-effective way to “print” your return address wherever needed. For an invitation suite, this can include the back of your outer envelope, the front of your RSVP envelope, any auxiliary invitations (rehearsal dinners, engagement parties, showers, any fun thing!), and even thank you cards sent after the wedding. Max and I still use the stamp we used in our 2013 wedding!
And there you have it! The makeup of what can go into an invitation suite. Each wedding is unique, so be sure to work with your stationer to come up with a combination of pieces that will serve your needs best. Or better yet, let’s work together to create a bespoke suite as meaningful as your marriage.