Mailing and Assembling Invitations

As a general rule of thumb, invitations should be mailed six to eight weeks before the event date. However, if the event date falls on a long weekend (Labor Day weekend, for example), they should be mailed eight weeks before the event date since people tend to make their holiday vacation plans far in advance. You might even consider sending “save-the-date” cards.

Before applying stamps, one completely assembled invitation should be inspected and weighed by the post office to determine the correct amount of postage.

Assembling the invitation ensemble: The diagrams below illustrate the proper assembly of an invitation ensemble. When inserting a foldover invitation into an envelope, the fold goes into the envelope first. The insertion order is as follows: Invitation, reception card and respond set. The respond card should be placed face up on top of the respond envelope which is face down, with its flap overlapping the respond card (see diagram 3). Accessories are never inserted inside a foldover invitation. Inner envelopes are inserted into outer envelopes so that when opening the outer envelope, the inner envelope immediately shows the guests’ names (see diagram 4).

Diagram 1: The proper insertion of a foldover card into an envelope.
Diagram 2: The proper insertion of a foldover card and accessories into an envelope.
Diagram 3: The proper placement of a respond set into an envelope.
Diagram 4: The proper insertion of an inner envelope into an outer envelope (when double envelopes are preferred).

Joan's note: The rules of etiquette are specific, but each invitation has it's own characteristics. Follow the basic assembly to start with, but don't be afraid to move things around and use what looks best.

In a square envelope, where the invitation is straight up, I often stand the response card up on it's short side so it is not lost at the bottom of the envelope. Sometimes I put the response card in its envelope and tuck the reception card under the flap to form a small accessory packet. This goes on top of the invitation.

Some position the response card/envelope and the reception card side by side on top of the invitation.

If you have an enclosure with your invitation, it should be about the size of the invitation and placed behind it in the envelope. (see my page on enclosures)