Extraordinary Days Require Exceptional Invitations


It is so exciting when you actually get the invitation in hand! Now it is time to work on the envelopes.

1 or 2 envelopes?    Addressing the envelopes
 Writing down the details    Stuffing the envelopes
Gluing the envelopes    

1 or 2 envelopes?

  • Colorful Holy City Invitation

    Traditionally, all invitations come with two envelopes both an inner and an outer. The tradition origins in the days when footmen delivered invitations to the landed class. At delivery, the footman would remove the clean invitations from its well-traveled outer envelope. The custom has survived, although with modern postal service the outer envelope is now sealed, with the inner unsealed. The inner one is placed with the guest’s name face up, so that it can be read immediately upon extracting it from the outer envelope.

  • Inner envelopes are not very popular anymore, except with very formal invites. The Doctor hasn’t received an invitation with an inner envelope in AGES! The contemporary fashion of big and unique shaped invitations often calls for the omission of double envelopes. One large envelope serves both purposes while reducing the mailing costs of these heavier invitations.

Addressing the envelopes

  • General rules:

    • Spell out all Streets, Avenues, Roads, etc.;

    • Write guest’s full name: Ronald, not Ron;
    • Numbers from one to twenty should be spelled. Higher numbers should be written numerically;
    • Do not use abbreviations, except for name titles (Mr., Mrs., etc). Professional titles, such as Doctor (for Doctor Simcha!), should be spelled out;
    • Do not use contractions (aren’t; he’ll).
  • Inner Envelopes:
    • The inner envelope should be unsealed.

    • The inner envelope is simply addressed – “Mr. and Mrs. Cohen”, omitting first names and address.
    • The inside envelope should specify exactly who are invited. List all family members’ names (don’t write “and family”) below the parents’ names in order of age (for example: “Dan and Rebecca”). Address close relatives (for example, “Uncle Isaac”) is common and nice!
    • The Doctor never puts “and guest” on the invitation envelope. It is up to the you to find out every guest’s name. Couples who are not married should each receive an invitation.
    • Middle names can be omitted (but if you write them, have them written in full).
    • Inner envelope example:

      Mr. and Mrs. Cohen

       Rebecca and Dan

  • Outer Envelope:
    • Use the full whole name on the outside envelope.

    • Outer envelope example:

      Mr. and Mrs. David and Rebecca Cohen

      Miss Rebecca Cohen

      Mr. Dan Cohen

      3462 Aylmer Street # 62

      Montreal, Quebec, H2X 2B6

  • VistaPrint Return Address Labels

    Return Address:

    • Save time and effort by having your return address printed on the back side of the invitation envelope. It ensures that undelivered mail will be returned to you.

    • Return address labels (VistaPrint) save time with convenient, self-sticking labels, in thousands of designs.

Writing down the details

The beauty of an invitation starts with the way it’s addressed. You have 5 ways to put the details on your envelopes; here they are one by one:

  • A first option is to give the envelopes to a printing company to print the addresses on the envelopes for you. Just make sure that you get quotes from a few printers. The prices can really vary.

  • The second option – why won’t you print the envelopes with your own printer? If done carefully, it can be very beautiful! Here are some tips:
    • Practice, practice, practice on your computer. There are beautiful fonts, colors, etc. You can do it… they’ll be beautiful. Check Dr. Simcha’s tips about fonts for more advice.

    • Make a “dummy” envelope by cutting a regular paper at the same size as the envelope, and then try different fonts and colors. Wouldn’t you be upset if your printer messed up those expensive envelopes
    • Even if you practice with paper, buy an extra 15-20 envelopes. Just in case!
    • If you are using Microsoft Word, print it as a normal document (rather than an envelope print). The Doc finds it easier, particularly for odd size envelopes. All you have to do is to measure the envelope and set your margins for that size. Experiment with your “envelope dummy” until you get a perfect print.
  • A third option is to use labels. The Doctor likes it, though some people don’t… Here are a few tips:
    • Labels clearly don’t give the flexibility you would have working directly on the envelope. With envelopes you have a bigger space to play around. However, labels can save you mone and doing it the right way, your envelopes will be beautiful.

    • The 2″x4″ clear labels are a very good choice. The labels virtually disappear when applied on the envelopes. Use as large a font as possible and center the address. With such big labels, you will be able to fit even the longer addresses in one line.
    • You may be obliged to use labels, if your envelopes would not feed through the printer.
  • What about handwriting? If your handwriting is pretty, you may write the details on the envelopes yourself (at least to some of the closer guests!). It’s lots of work, though, and get ready for an aching wrist!
  • Professional calligraphers are the fifth and last alternative. They can do beautiful work of handwriting on envelopes. Calligraphy is also a good option if the type of envelope you are using cannot go through a printer.
    • Calligraphers are not, however, cheap. A budding calligrapher may charge just a couple bucks per envelope (a seasoned pro can bill as high as $10 for each invitation).

      If calligraphy is a priority in your invitation budget, start with referrals from your stationer and friends, and ask the following questions when you sit down to talk with the professional:

      • What styles the calligrapher works with?

      • What lettering do they recommend to match your invitation font?
      • Ask about their work experience and certification. Ask also for references.
      • What is the policy for re-dos, cancellations, and changes to the guest list?
      • What will the turnaround time be for your entire order?
      • Ask for a sample, before giving the work.

      When these questions are answered to your satisfaction and you are also happy with the calligrapher’s style,  then get the agreement in writing. Make certain to note all included services, the timeline, and the total fee.

Stuffing the envelopes

  • Place items in the inner envelope (if available) in relation to importance and size (if there are 2 cards that are of the same size, place them in order of importance):

    1. Invitation

    2. Response Envelope
    3. Response Card (inserted under reply envelope flap)
    4. Reception Card
    5. Other items (map, accommodation cards etc.) can be placed in order of size.
  • A creative idea from the Doctor: envelopes with confetti are good for a casual, festive occasion.

Gluing the envelopes

We’re getting really into details here! So, how should you glue the envelope to make it stay beautiful?

  • Just use a normal glue stick. Put books on top of the finished envelopes to make sure they would stay closed. A regular Elmer’s type glue stick should work fine

  • Using a damp sponge to go over the glue strip is also ok.
  • It is better to try each of the ways, each on one envelope, and see what works best for you. Check also if there are specific instructions with your envelopes.
  • And, don’t, just DON’T let poor hubby lick each envelope, ok? Have you seen Seinfeld’s classic episode, “The Invitations”? (Seinfeld season 7) (spoiler warning: plot and/or ending details follow). George and Susan go shopping for wedding invitations and George decides to buy a cheap brand. At home, as she is licking the envelopes, Susan notices they taste funny and finally is passing out. George arrives home and finds her collapsed on the couch. He, Kramer, Jerry and Elaine all meet up at the hospital, where George is told by the doctor that Susan has died. The cause: toxic glue, as the doctor puts it, commonly found on cheap envelopes. So be careful, don’t lick!