What Are the Parts of a Wedding Invitation Suite?

Category: Invitation Etiquette | Published on: March 19, 2017

And do you need them?

What are the parts of a wedding invitation suite... and do you need them? The definitive guide to the anatomy of a wedding invite. | Wedding Invitations by CharmCat Stationery & Design

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on February 2, 2015, but it’s been updated with awesome new tips and helpful links!

Wedding invitations are surprisingly complicated, at least if you haven't spent as much time learning about them as I have. We stationers have our own jargon for the different parts of a wedding invitation suite.

Not to worry! Here's a quick primer so you can learn the parts of a wedding invitation suite, too. And when your stationer asks if you want an inner envelope or a tag, you'll know exactly what they're talking about!

The Parts of a Wedding Invitation Suite

The Invitation Part

Okay, you probably know what the invitation is. It's the most important part of the invitation suite! The invitation conveys the most important information, namely the who, the what, the where, and the when.

There's other information that you may choose to include on your invitation depending on the other pieces you've decided to include in your suite.

The Reply Card Part

This cactus wedding invitation suite features painted southwest mountains and cactus, perfect for a western theme wedding. | Wedding Invitations by CharmCat

(also called the response card or RSVP card)

Generally speaking, most couples still opt for the traditional mailed reply card. The card should include an RSVP by date. Make sure to set it a week before the last day you absolutely need a head count, so you have time to track down missing responses.

You'll also need to have a space for guests' names. Traditionally, the line is preceded by a large "M" (i.e. Mr. or Mrs.), and although this is still used widely, some more modern couples opt for "Your Name" or something less formal.

There's also a growing number of couples that request online RSVPs instead of a mailed card. You can include the web address and reply instructions on a simple card, or you can put the reply web address at the bottom of your invitation and eliminate the card altogether.

If you have a lot of older invitees, consider having both as an option. They may prefer the more traditional mailed card, or have limited online access.

The Reply Envelope Part

Totally optional! In fact, I usually suggest making your reply card a postcard, since saves money in the long run.

But if you do choose to have enveloped reply cards, remember, to always include the stamp.

 

The Enclosure Card Parts

A suite featuring painted lush blooms in a soft watercolor style for a sweet blend of romantic and modern. | Wedding Invitations by CharmCat | Photo by Shalese Danielle

(also called inserts)

Enclosure cards are where things can get really complicated, really fast. You can use them for almost anything, so the key is to figure out what you need to include and what you can simplify or leave out altogether.

Reception Card

If your reception is at a different location than your ceremony, or on a different day, you should include a separate reception card. It's essentially a secondary invitation. This can be really helpful if you are only inviting some of the ceremony guests to the reception.

Just like the invitation, you'll want to include the location, the address, the time, and any helpful information such as parking arrangements.

Accommodations Card

If you're expecting a lot of out-of-town guests, you're probably considering reserving a block of rooms, or you at least have a hotel you'd recommend. That's what the accommodations card is for. Let guests know about any special reservation deals or if there's special transport to and from a particular hotel. Include the web address and phone number so they have no excuses!

Directions/Map Card

Custom watercolor map for weddings, events or wall decor

The directions card is probably the most complicated enclosure card. Since you probably don't want your guests relying on Siri to get them to your wedding, you'll want to help them find their way without that frantic last-minute phone call while you're trying to tie your corset.

You can use the directions card for all sorts of directions to and from: the ceremony, reception, recommended hotel(s), airports, train stations, subway stops... Anything you think your guests will find helpful. Consider it a wedding guest cheat sheet.

Information Card/Additional Card/Etc...

Frankly, you can put anything on a card if you really want to. It's the most flexible part of the wedding invitation suite.

Realistically, if you think it's going to make your life easier (and there's no where else for it), put it on a card.

Things like:

  • wedding website
  • parking details
  • other events, such as an after party or brunch the next day
  • whom to contact if you get lost (make sure it's not you)
On Registry Info

One thing to keep in mind, though, is that traditional etiquette says it's tacky to put registry information with your wedding invitations. Instead, you're supposed to ask the wedding party and immediate family to notify guests of your registry separately. You may choose to go ahead and include your registry or a "Wishing Well" verse.

Wedding websites are also a great way around this. Include your registry links on the site and then make sure guests have the URL.

Story Time: When I did my own wedding invitations, I left off my registry information. Unfortunately, it turned out that my family wasn't great at "spreading the word," so we got a lot of gifts, that while appreciated, weren't really what we wanted. Many of them didn't even have receipts so we could exchange them. So, in an effort to avoid being rude, I ended up wasting my guests' money.

The Envelope Part(s)

Unless you've opted for a postcard or self-mailer invitation, you're probably in the 99% of couples who opt to include at least one envelope in your suite.

And generally speaking, one is all you need. It'll have your return address as well as the names and address of your invited guests.

If you want to go with old-school etiquette, you can choose to include an inner envelope. Unlike the outer envelope, this doesn't include any addresses, just the names of your lucky invitees.

Having the outer (mailing) envelope and second, inner envelope was popular for a long time because the mail often arrived dirty, such as from mud or grease. The butler or maid could remove the outer envelope and present the clean inner envelope and invitation to the master of the house.

Although the mail can still arrive dirty, most of us don't have butlers or maids to open the mail for us, so two envelopes can seem redundant. However, that extra layer of protection might be helpful, especially if you have delicate embellishments on your invites.

Plus, there's something particularly elegant about the inner envelope!

Embellishments

Wedding invitations don't have to be all business. If you want to include a little fun in your suite, there's dozens of options for embellishing, from pockets and belly bands to envelope liners and wax seals! There's too much to talk about here, but check out some other posts on invitation embellishments: 10 Ways to Embellish Your Wedding Invitations

Pin it for later! The Parts of a Wedding Invitation Suite

What are the parts of a wedding invitation suite? Find out about all the pieces that make up a complete suite! | Wedding Invitations by CharmCat Stationery & Design

Anything parts of a wedding invitation suite that I missed? You can always tweet me a question!

— Ashleigh

See other posts about: accommodations card, anatomy of wedding invitation, directions card, enclosure card, envelope, information card, inner envelope, insert, invitation, map card, outer envelope, parts of a wedding invitation suite, postcard, priorities, reception card, reply card, reply envelope, response card, rsvp, step-by-step guide, website card

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