(Closed) Single Envelope Wedding Invitations

posted 12 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 17
141 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

@Insurance Girl:  Technically, etiquette says never to use “and guest”; you should find out who you’re inviting and write their name on the envelope.  Your case is easy, since you know your brother’s SO’s name, just write his name on the outer envelope and both of theirs on the inner, or if you’re just having one envelope, either send her her own invitation (the best way) or write both their names on the envelope even if she doesn’t live there. 

In general, writing out the names of children is much nicer than “and family”, because it shows that you know their names and want each individual to come.  I would put each name on its own line, but it makes sense if you don’t have space for that and for the address. 

Post # 18
96 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: April 2010

I was thinking about skipping the inner enevelope that our invitations came with.  I took a mock-up to the post office and found out to include the inner envelope would cost $0.61 vs. foregoing the inner envelope would be a standard $0.44.  We saved over $25 mailing out our invites and addressed them like Libra mentioned… it’s not much but it all helps when you’re on a budget.

Post # 19
66 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

I also did not use an inner envelope but labeled the belly bands as I would an inner envelope. I used strips of vellum, printed names on them, and wrapped them around the invitation and other inserts. I’ll include a picture to illustrate better –

Post # 20
643 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

I also skipped the inner envelope for monetary/environmental reasons.  In some situations it was hard to write out everyone’s name, like FI’s aunt and uncle who have 7 kids.  I had to put Mr. & Mrs. XXXX & Family for that one.  For the most part I did like this:

Mr. & Mrs. John Smith

Ms. Laura Smith


City, State, ZIP

I would be surprised if anyone got offended.  It seems so trivial.

Post # 21
288 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2009

I used one envelope, and we just created a bellyband around the pocketfold and put who was invited on it.  If you don’t have a pocketfold you can probably still do a bellyband like @K610 has and have it work out just as well.

Post # 22
445 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

I did two things…. to save money i only sent 1 invite to each household… I also only used one envelope. now to me i didnt really care to much how formal the addresses on my envelopes were or anything…. I just printed them through my printer but what i did was I addressed them like a normal letter envelope with the address more toward bottom right and return in upper left…. then on the back flap I did as follows

For a family with alll the same last name so mom dad & kids I would  just put the

The Smith Family


If i ran into a situation where I had more than one last name in one family i would put the

The Smith/Jones Family

If i ran into where i had several last names throughout a household I would address the envelope on the front to the head of the household

then on the back flap I would put….

John, Jane, Jim & Jess

Or if i ran into a situation where I wanted them the know they could invite a guest I would put the address to my friend

Megan Smith


then on the back flap  i would put

Megan & Guest


I found this the best way to make it work for me without sending out a bunch of invitations to one household or using double envelopes

Post # 22
6 posts

Inner envelopes were used for wedding invitations many years ago because mail quite often got dirty and marked en route. The outer envelope could be discarded and the clean, inner envelope remained pristine for this most special kind of invitation.

Post # 23
666 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

View original reply
summerhill:  I would also love to see these tags tied with ribbons & know all about them. Ive never heard of this idea before. 


  • This reply was modified 6 years ago by tiffany7.
Post # 24
1094 posts
Bumble bee

Etiquette addressed this “problem” a century ago, so there’s no need to innovate.

A proper third-person formal invitation reads:

Mrs Anne Goodhost
requests the pleasure of the company of
Mr and Mrs Goodguest
Some Event
eight o’clock, Saturday the tenth of January

This is then placed inside an envelope addressed to “Mrs Brian Goodguest” at whatever her home address is (or if you are in the United States it is addressed to “Mr. and Mrs. Brian Goodguest”.)

You’ll notice that Mr and Mrs Goodguest’s names are right there in the invitation proper. How did they get there? Well, the most proper, most formal invitations are hand-written in black ink script on heavy white french-fold paper, and you write the guests’ names right along with everything else, even if you are sending out a hundred of them.

The second-most formal invitations use engraved copperplate printing. Since you cannot engrave a separate plate bearing the guests’ names for every individual invitation, a blank line is properly left on the engraved invitation where you can write the names in, right there on the invitation.

Some time in the late nineteenth century, it became a fashion to use all-engraved invitations. They are a compromise with propriety: among other things they make it necessary to mix formal third-person wording with the informal second-person “you”. They also make it necessary to have somewhere else, other than the invitation, to put the names of your guests. Hence the invention of the inner envelope — or belly-band. Since the whole purpose of an invitation is to communicate Who is being invited, by Whom, to What, When and Where; then a fashion that drops one of those five fundamental data is rather silly and self-defeating. Nonetheless the fashion survives and is common.

But this is the twenty-first century. On the one hand, it is nearly impossible to find a printer who does copper-plate engraving; but on the other hand the printers you can find are able to provide an awesome range of beautiful fonts, and can do a mail-merge between a beautifully formatted invitation and an electronic guest list, and get the look (if not the feel) of an all-engraved invitation but with the guests’ names properly inserted into the invitation itself where they most correctly ought to be. Or, just have them printed up with a write-in line and fill in the names by hand exactly as you would have written up the inner envelopes by hand.

By the way, congratulations on planning ahead far enough actually to decide you want to forego double envelopes and figure out how to do them properly, rather than getting caught out when you’re already stuck, and having to use outer envelopes as a fudge. Private information like the names of children, the identity of non-marital boyfriends or girlfriends, or “and guest” don’t belong on the outside of social correspondence.


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