Invitation Anatomy 101 - Typical Components - Part 1 of 3

"What am I supposed to have in my invitation?" This is one of the most common questions I get asked. The answer is quite simple: Anything! It's true that convention doesn't quite apply anymore with respect to what 'goes' for an invitation these days. That being said, there are a lot of components in the most common invitation styles. I should caution that there are literally thousands of options available ? some a lot more unconventional and some are even bizarre. For the sake of brevity, I'll keep my breakdown constrained to the more common components and options used in invitations today (as about 85-90% of invitation orders inevitably consist of these).

I've broken down my Invitation Anatomy 101 into two lessons: Typical Components and Optional (or Additional Components). The first I'll describe here:

Typical Components

1) The Outer Envelope

  • Anchors your 'invitation package'. This is your guest's first impression of your wedding or event at the mailbox!
  • It is a good idea to have your return address printed on the back flap of the envelope in the same lettering as your invitation.
  • Your guest's address may be handwritten neatly or written using the services of a calligrapher.
  • Outer Envelopes should be reasonably sturdy and presented to your post office (fully stuffed) to determine exact postage prior to stamping and mailing.

2) The Inner Envelope

  • Historically, inner envelopes were created to provide added protection to the contents of letters. That is, the outer envelope often suffered quite a bit of wear and tear between destinations, so the inner envelope would preserve the contents while identifying the recipient if the original address information wore away.
  • The need for an inner envelope no longer exists, but the romantic tradition remains. Nowadays, the inner envelope identifies only the invitees within the household (e.g. Mr. & Mrs. Wilhelm Schneider). No address is written on the inner envelope. All contents of your invitation package are placed inside the inner envelope. Usually the inner envelope back flap is left folded, but unsealed.
  • On a side note, I've found that amongst my clients only a small handful a year actually end up ordering inner envelopes. The decline in the use of Inner Envelopes is primarily due to the durability and material quality of custom invitation outer envelopes. This makes Inner Envelopes both expensive and redundant.
  • On a side note, I've found that amongst my clients only a small handful a year actually end up ordering inner envelopes. The decline in the use of Inner Envelopes is primarily due to the durability and material quality of custom invitation outer envelopes. This makes Inner Envelopes both expensive and redundant.

3) The Invitation

  • Obviously, the most essential component of your invitation package. If your invitation is a folded card, all other components should be placed inside the invitation. If this is not possible, or your invitation consist of a one-sided card, place all other components on top of the invitation. The goal here is to make the invitation package as neat and tidy as possible.
  • As mentioned, anything goes when it comes to invitations. However, some typical features of a custom or custom-inspired invitation may include the following:
  • Outer Card ? Heavier weighted stock that envelops or mattes the invitation contents. This is the foundation of your invitation. The outer card can be anything from a plain card backing, to a pocket-fold enclosure to a multi-panel pocketed fold-out!
  • Outer Embellishments ? Known as the finishing touches on the 'exterior' of the invitation. This can be a ribbon tie, wax seal, monogram, matted graphic, pictures, foil stamped image, name, slogan, clasp, etc.
  • Inner Card(s) ? Usually, an inner card contains your invitation wording. There are hundreds of inner card options including, vellums, vellum overlays, mounted card, bound card, embossed cards, imported stationeries, decorative papers, embellished card or paper, folded cards, loose cards, etc.

4) The RSVP, Response, or Reply Card

  • Just as important as the invitation, the size and expense of your event is largely determined by the number of accepted/returned RSVP cards.
  • RSVP cards usually contain a blank line where the guest fills in his/her name and indicates the number of persons attending from his/her party. Usually an addressed and pre-stamped envelope is included to encourage your guest to respond as soon as possible.
  • RSVP cards can contain other information such as multiple dining options which must be chosen, or spaces for comments, requests, feedback etc.
    • TIP: Lightly number each RSVP card with a corresponding guest/invitation list. That way, if any RSVP card is returned blank without the sender's information, you'll know exactly which guest it is.

  • RSVP sizes are usually much smaller than invitations and contain an appropriately-sized return envelope. However, there is a trend towards more oversized RSVP cards (though still smaller than the invitation size).

Congratulations, now that you've completed the first lesson, you're ready for the "Invitation Anatomy 101-Optional Components" articles now.

Laura Paladino's work has been featured locally and nationally across print and television. Her public and commercial clients range from brides to wedding and event planners to celebrities in Canada and the United States. For additional articles and resources, information on Laura Paladino, her invitation design collections, or her select bridal boutique products and studio services, visit http://www.laurapaladino.com

In The News:


pen paper and inkwell


cat break through


Wedding Frames ? Are Your Wedding Photographs Safe?

One of the top priorities on a wedding day is... Read More

What You Should Look For In A Professional Wedding DJ

When planning your event you should go with the most... Read More

Wedding Gifts for Second Marriages

Second marriages can be a tricky situation for a variety... Read More

28 Things That Really Do Matter In Marriage (Short Shots On Living An Exceptional Life)

In my opinion, these things matter...1. Valuing commitment over instant... Read More

Wedding Reception Perfection: Tips and Suggestions

Over the past years I have performed at many, many... Read More

10 Common Wedding Reception Mistakes

Every bride wants a fairytale wedding. Therefore, this article is... Read More

Marriage Dreams When Fails!

Marriage and Attraction: Relation is successful as long as there... Read More

Planning Your Wedding Reception

Great deals can be found when you know how much... Read More

Keeping A Marriage Romantic

My belief is that most relationship problems should be given... Read More

A Call for International Marriage Laws

I recently watched a CNN programme which centred on "kidnapped... Read More

Family Cycle (I) - Euphoric and Dysphoric Cycles in Marriage

Despite all the fashionable theories of marriage, the narratives and... Read More

Cultivating Spiritual Intimacy

When two people - destined for each other, come together,... Read More

Fine Plus Size Mother Of The Bride Dresses

There are many choices available when shopping for fine plus... Read More

Dealing With Your Spouses Sexual Past

"Couples who've had sex before marriage will inevitably have sexual... Read More

Wedding Colors

Is it to be a summer wedding or winter wedding?... Read More

Wonderful White Gold Wedding Rings

The elegant and sophisticated look of glittering, gleaming gold. There's... Read More

Marriage Tips: Fifteen Ways to Say ?I Love You? in 3 Minutes or Less

To keep romance alive and nurture the intimacy in your... Read More

Las Vegas Elvis Weddings

Got a yen for Elvis? Lots of people do. There... Read More

The Enigma of Daytime Bachelor Party Activities

As most of you know the evening festivities for a... Read More

Wedding Gown Styles

The wedding gown is most important choice for a bride... Read More

10 Ideas for Perfect Wedding Gifts

Wedding ceremonies are the stuff fairy tales are made of.... Read More

Are You Fully Present in Your Marriage?

"Presence is more than just being there," states Malcolm S.Forbes.... Read More

The Charm of Homemade Wedding Favors

Homemade wedding favors come from a centuries old tradition of... Read More

Fitness Tips For Looking Your Best On Your Wedding Day

Every bride wants to look perfect on her wedding day.... Read More

Beach Wedding Cakes

Looking for beach theme wedding cake ideas?When it comes to... Read More

Design Your Own Beautiful Wedding Ring

It used to be that if you wanted to buy... Read More

Marriage Missing its Spark?

If the fires of passion in your marriage have been... Read More

How to Plan a Cheap Wedding

There's no doubt about it, weddings can be expensive. The... Read More

Mexico Honeymoon Vacations

Mexico, a country rich in arts and ancient cultures and... Read More

Create A Beautifull Wedding Album With A Simple And Fun Way

Hi If you are getting married or have a Bar... Read More

The Wedding Aisle - Who is Walking You Down it?

Choosing who should walk down the aisle with you is... Read More

How to Have a Dream Wedding on a Budget

No one wants to pay more than they have to... Read More

Get Organized for Wedding Planning!

You've had friends to your home for dinner. Maybe you've... Read More