how to assemble your wedding invitations

One question we get from nearly every couple with whom we work is, "How do we put together our wedding invitations?" I know many readers must have the same question, so I thought I'd make some diagrams to show you how it works. Wedding invitations often have a lot of parts: The outer envelope and usually an inner envelope, the invitation itself, the RSVP card and its reply envelope, and sometimes other inserts as well. There's a specific order for putting all these pieces together.

First, let's lay out all of the invitation components:

wedding invitation components

You may have more or fewer pieces than this but for our example I've included an outer envelope and an inner envelope; the invitation itself; the tissue that sometimes comes with the invitation; the rsvp and its accompanying envelope; and two additional inserts, one larger than the rsvp and one smaller.

Your first step will be stacking everything that's going to go into the inner envelope. If you're not using an inner envelope, you'll still make this stack, but you'll put it directly into the outer envelope when you're done. The invitation goes on the bottom of the stack with the tissue (which is completely optional, by the way) directly on top of it; all of the other pieces get stacked in size order with the largest on the bottom and the smallest on the top. This may seem counterintuitive -- you'd think the invitation would go on top because it's the most important piece, right? But we stack the other pieces on top of the invitation in size order so that none of them get overlooked when the recipient opens the envelope. For our example, the correct order, bottom to top, is:

stacked wedding invitation components

invitation

tissue

large insert

rsvp tucked printed side up under the flap of the rsvp envelope

small insert

Now that everything's stacked correctly, insert the stack, printed side up, into the inner envelope:

stuffed inner wedding invitation envelope
stuffed inner wedding invitation envelope

Then insert the inner envelope, writing side up, into the outer envelope:

stuffed outer wedding invitation envelope
stuffed outer wedding invitation envelope

Now stamp it, seal it, and put it in the mail! Easy, right?

One note on that stamping part: Be sure to weigh a completed invitation before you stamp any of them. You want to make sure you put adequate postage on your invitations, because after all that work you certainly don't want them returned to you by the Postal Service. Also, remember that square or other oddly-shaped envelopes require extra postage. If you're not sure how much each invitation will cost to mail, then actually take one to your Post Office and ask a clerk there to help you figure out the correct postage.

Don't want to spend the time to put all these pieces together just so? Many wedding planners offer a stuff-and-post service to their clients -- we do! -- so be sure to ask your planner if this is something with which he or she can help.

Check back later this week, when we'll talk about how to address your wedding invitations.

Questions so far? Post them in the Comments section!