Your guests form first impressions after receiving and looking at your invitations. Invitations give guests a first glimpse of your upcoming event. Take time to prepare your invitations prior to stuffing them in an envelope. Etiquette dictates how to properly stuff an invitation, whether it is for an upcoming wedding, birthday party or graduation.
Some invitations feature two different sized envelopes. The bigger envelope holds the smaller envelope, and the smaller envelope is for the actual invitation. Once assembled, this envelope is placed inside the larger envelope. Do not seal the inner envelope. The only envelope that is sealed is the bigger envelope, as it is the envelope that is processed by the postal service.
Place the invitation face-up, against the open flap of the envelope with the folded side at the bottom of the envelope. When guests open the envelope, the first thing they should see is the writing on the outside of the invitation. Guests should be able to open the actual invitation and not have to turn it around. If your invitations came with tissue, as some wedding invitations do, place the tissue over the writing on the inside of the invite. The tissue is suppose to prevent smears in case the invitation gets wet.
Maps, gift registry cards and menus are examples of enclosures that you may place inside an invitation. Depending on the event, these enclosures are a necessity for the occasion. Do not just throw them into the invite. Arrange the enclosures in order from smallest to largest in size and then place them inside the invitation face-up so the writing is visible once you open the card. When guests open the invite, they should see the smallest enclosure first.
Spell almost everything out when it comes addressing the outer envelope of an invitation. Be as formal as possible, using guests' full names. Avoid using the "Mrs." title for women unless you know for sure the female guest is married. If you are not sure, use "Miss" or "Ms." instead. If you are sending a married couple an invite, address the envelope to both people. For example, it should read "Mr. and Mrs. Max Smith." If the couple is not married, address the envelope to "Mr. Max Smith and Ms. Mindy Jones." According to Emily Post, children over the age of 13 should receive their own invitations. Do not use abbreviations for street names or states. For example, spell "Street" instead of writing "St." and spell "California" instead of using the "CA" abbreviation. Include a return address on all invitations. For a wedding invite, the return address is usually printed on the back flap of the outer envelope. Mail invitations six to eight weeks before your event. The sooner you notify guests, the more likely they will be able to attend.
- Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images