Please, Mr. Postman
You found the perfect invitation, you penned the perfect prose, and now your creation has arrived. Now what? At first, all the pieces of the invitation can seem like a puzzle, making the job of getting them in the mail seem like a daunting task. But fear not! A little organization combined with some helpful hints will get you on your way to the post office in no time.
How is the invitation assembled? The invitation is stacked from largest piece on the bottom (usually the invitation) to smallest piece on top. Place all the inserts by descending size on top of the invitation and then place the invitation and inserts into the inner envelope face-in. Make sure the inner envelope already has the guests' names written on it. Finally, insert the inner envelope into the outer envelope so that the handwritten names face the back of the envelope.
When should the invitations be sent out? Mail the invitations approximately eight weeks before the wedding, with an R.S.V.P. date of about three weeks before the wedding. If you're planning a wedding near a holiday, mail out your invitations a few weeks earlier to give your guests some extra time to plan.
Take one fully assembled invitation to the post office and have it weighed for correct postage. Most wedding invitations require extra postage, either for weight or for size regulations. The last thing you need is all of your beautiful invitations returned to you and stamped, “Returned for Insufficient Postage.”
Addressing the Issue
My friends Andrew and Lisa are platonic roommates. Can I send one invitation to both of them? Your friends should each get a separate invitation — whether or not they live together. The only instance in which you would send two friends the same invitation is if they are romantically involved, married, or living together.
Do we need to send an invitation to our attendants? Although a reply is not expected or required, you should send invitations to everybody involved in the wedding. This includes attendants, siblings, parents, and the officiant, along with their respective significant others. You don't need to send invitations to whoever is issuing the invitation.
What is the proper way to address invitations? Addressing the invitation properly depends on the circumstances. The following guidelines will assist you in sorting out any addressing issues.
Professional titles: The names should be written on one line; the person with the title is listed first:
Outer: Dr. Caroline Smith and Mr. Frederick Smith
Inner: Dr. and Mr. Smith
If the couple are both medical doctors, the envelope should be addressed to:
Outer and inner: The Doctors Smith.
An unmarried couple living together or a married couple with different last names: Each person's full name should be on a separate line, with the woman's name listed first. For a same-sex couple, list the names alphabetically.
Outer: Ms. Kathy Smith Mr. Neil Jones
Inner: Ms. Smith and Mr. Jones
An entire family: The parents' names are on the outer envelope, and their children's names are added to the inner envelope descending by age order.
Outer: Mr. and Mrs. John Smith
Inner: Mr. and Mrs. Smith Jennifer, Joseph, and Jules
If you are sending an invitation to a single woman who's been married before and she has elected to retain her married last name, use “Mrs.” regardless of her present marital status. If she has decided to use her maiden name, Ms. would be appropriate. In recent years, many brides have elected to use “Miss” for those under eighteen and “Ms.” for any ladies over eighteen.
Are there any other etiquette rules I should know about when addressing the invitations? There are a few more pointers for addressing the invitations. Never connect two names with “and” unless the two people are a married couple. If the names are too long to fit on one line, indent the second name under the name on the first line. Never put either “and guest” or “and family” on the invitation; the former is considered rude and impersonal, while the latter denotes the invitee's entire family.