Wedding Invitations Demystified

Most of us don’t have a lot of experience with wedding stationery before we’re faced with having to order and send them ourselves!  We get a lot of questions about wedding invitations, and this article is written as a public service for all of you who would like to know more about it!


The basic wedding invitation comes in a lot of shapes and sizes; it’s a matter of choice on the part of the bride, bride and groom and/or bride and her family.  However, there is one size, the 7” x 7” Royal size, which requires a small amount of extra postage—at this time, 10 cents.  An outer envelope with adhesive on the flap that fits the invitation is usually included in the price of the invitations, and the two (invitation and envelope) are generally sold in sets of 25, 50, or 100, depending on the style and the manufacturer.  The invitation is worded to include ONLY the ceremony, and should have the names of the bride and groom, date, time, and location of the ceremony, and the names of the hosts.  It may also include the names of the parents of the bride, but it should NOT include information regarding the reception.


If the bride and groom are not paying for the majority of their ceremony and reception, the name of the host or hosts will be at the top of the invitation; that is the people who are issuing the invitation.  Therefore, it would be worded as Mr. and Mrs. Bride’s Parents invite to you attend the wedding of their daughter . . .  That wording indicates that the bride’s parents are paying for the wedding and reception, although the wedding invitation is issued for the ceremony only—not the reception.  If the invitation is worded, “Mr. and Mrs. Bride’s Parents and Mr. and Mrs. Groom’s Parents invite you to the marriage of their children . . . “ it indicates the both parents are {providing for | paying} for the {ceremony and reception | wedding}.  If, however, the invitation is worded “Miss Bride and Mr. Groom invite you to attend their marriage . . .,” it indicates that the bridal couple are paying the expenses.


Often added to the invitation is the reception card.  This card matches the design of the invitation, is enclosed with the invitation, and invites the recipient(s) (depending on who the envelope was addressed to) to the reception.  It IS correct to send only the wedding invitation and NOT the reception card, and if sent to people who would probably not be able or expected to attend would be considered an announcement of the wedding.  It could also be sent to people who will not be invited to the reception as well.  This card does not include a separate envelope, but is enclosed with the wedding invitation.


Generally, if a reception card is enclosed, there should also be and additional card with an envelope that has been pre-addressed back to the host (bride, parents of the bride, etc.), with postage on the envelope.  This is the RSVP card, and also matches the design of the invitation, and has been preprinted with a line for the guest’s name(s), whether that person or persons are planning to attend, and if they are attending, the number of people.  It more than one entrée is being offered, it would also include a meal selection.  The RSVP card is completed by the guest and returned, so that the hosts can inform the venue of the number of guests expected to attend.  The additional RSVP card is not strictly necessary if it is an informal reception where the guest count is not required.


A second card without envelope might also be included in your invitations with printed directions to the church.  This card need not match the design of the invitation, and does not require an envelope.


An often included option is an inner envelope.  The inner envelope is slightly smaller than the outer envelope, and there is no adhesive on the flap.  Both inner and adhesive outer envelopes may be either white or ivory, but if both envelopes are used, they match in color—white or ivory.  The inner envelope contains the invitation, as well as the reception card, RSVP card and RSVP envelope and the direction card.  The use of the inner envelope is decreasing in popularity.  It obviously adds to the cost, and really doesn’t serve a purpose.  However, if it IS used, only the names of the invitees are written on the inner envelope, without address.  If a calligrapher was hired to address the invitations, they should also address the inner envelopes as well.  Invitations are generally sent out six to eight weeks before the ceremony.


At, we hope that this article has helped to clarify | clear up} some of the mystery of wedding invitations and wedding stationery.  We will be happy to assist you with any questions you might have at