What is an Inner Envelope Used For In Wedding Invitations?

One of the most common questions I get as a wedding calligrapher is what is an inner envelope? And do I really need one?

Traditionally, wedding invitations were wrapped in two envelopes – the outer envelope, and the inner envelope. The outer envelope would have the guest’s full address on it, for the postal service to deliver the invitation. In those days, mail was delivered by horse and dust, mud or rain might damage the outer envelope. When the invitation reached its destination, the messenger would remove the outer envelope, revealing the pristine, inner envelope to be presented to the guest.

See that sweet little blush envelope below? That’s the inner envelope! Your invitation suite would be placed into the blush inner envelope, and then the blush inner envelope would be tucked inside the navy outer envelope.


Nowadays, your wedding invitations aren’t being delivered by horse, so an inner envelope isn’t really a “need”. However, many brides like to keep it as a nod to the traditional, and a way to make their wedding invitations even more special to their guests. While inner envelopes are an additional cost, they are a very cost-effective way of elevating the look and feel of your invitation suite. Inner envelopes make your guests feel like they are opening a little present when they open your invitation, and set the tone of your wedding as an elegant event before the guests even arrive.

While it is nice to have elegant looking invitations, the real reason that I love inner envelopes is because they can help re-iterate who is (and who is not) invited to the wedding. If you’re inviting a friend to the wedding and want to let her know that you’d love for her to bring a guest, the inner envelope works nicely. It is awkward and impersonal to address the outer envelope to “Ms. Sarah Jones and guest”. With an inner envelope, the outer envelope can be addressed to “Ms. Sarah Jones” and the inner envelope can list “Ms. Sarah Jones and guest” or “Sarah and guest”.

Inner envelopes can also help clear up any awkwardness with who is not invited to the wedding. Weddings are expensive, and as all brides who are planning a wedding know, your guest list has a huge impact on your budget. An additional 10 guests may not seem like a lot, but when that requires meals for 10 more people, another table, another centerpiece, more flatware, and possibly even a larger venue space, it is easy to see how a growing guest list can be a huge headache for a bride.

To combat this problem of a creeping guest list, many brides are choosing to invite only the adult members of the family. The inner envelope can help reiterate by listing only the adults’ names, that the bride and groom would like to give the parents time to “let their hair down” by leaving the children at home for the evening.

So, whether you have an air for the traditional, or just want to make the extended invitation a little easier for your guests to understand, an inner envelope is your best friend! Still have questions? Feel free to drop me an e-mail and I’ll be happy to explain more!



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