Wedding Etiquette: Assembling the Invitations

Channel your inner Lucy and get ready for some chocolate factory-style fun. Hopefully minus the mishaps, of course.


engraved wedding invitationFor the most part, wedding invitations are assembled in size order. The invitation itself is first. The enclosure cards are stacked on top of the invitations, not inside. The reception card is placed on top of the invitation. Then the reply envelope is placed face down on the reception card. The reply card is slipped face up beneath the flap of the reply envelope.

Any other enclosures are added face up in size order (usually at-home card, directions card, accommodation card, pew card, etc.). The single-fold invitation and its enclosures are placed into the inside envelope with the fold of the invitation at the bottom of the envelope and the engraving facing the back of the envelope. You can tell whether or not you stuffed the envelope correctly by removing the invitation with your right hand. If you can read the invitation without turning it, it was stuffed correctly.

The procedure for assembling traditional invitations (those with a second fold) is similar. The enclosures are placed on top of the lower half of the invitation’s face in the same order described above. The invitation is folded from top to bottom over the enclosures. The invitation is then placed into the inside envelope with the fold toward the bottom of the envelope. As with other invitations, traditional invitations are correctly stuffed when they can be read without being turned after being removed from the envelope with your right hand.

Once stuffed, the inside envelopes are inserted into the outside envelopes. The front of the inside envelope faces the back of the outside envelope.

It is easy to tell which envelopes are which. The outside envelopes have glue on them; the inside envelopes do not and they are also a bit smaller. To avoid confusion when addressing envelopes, it is best to work with one set of envelopes at a time. Address all the outside envelopes first. After those are all addressed, start addressing the inside envelopes. That will make it almost impossible to address the wrong envelopes.


wedding invitation tissues inspectionAll wedding invitations were once shipped with small pieces of tissue separating each invitation. This prevented the slow-drying ink from smudging. Before mailing her invitations, the bride removed the tissues, as they were merely packing material and served no point of etiquette.

Through the years, many brides, unaware of the impropriety of sending tissued invitations, left the tissues in. As this practice grew, tissued invitations became as proper as non-tissued invitations.

Today, wedding invitations are properly sent both ways. Tissues are starting to serve an important function again, as the postal service’s sorting equipment can cause smudging on invitations sent without tissues.

Since the tissues are meant to prevent smudging, they should be placed over the type on each invitation and enclosure.

If you’re sending invitations without tissues, you may be able to ask your local post office to hand-cancel them. Hand-canceling also prevents the postal service from printing their advertising, disguised as part of the cancellation mark, on your wedding invitations.

Have more questions about wedding etiquette? Email our Crane Concierge at

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