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How to design and address your wedding invitations & when to mail wedding invitations

It’s so exciting to finally get to the point of sending out your wedding invitations. It means your wedding day is really THAT close! While invitations seem simple, once you’re the one in the position of designing and creating it, the process can feel a little overwhelming. So, let’s talk today about the things to include on your invitation and things to keep in mind!

One of the first things I go over with my couples is the actual design of the invitation and their budget. Is this an area that they want to invest in? Are they looking for a custom design? Or are they comfortable using an invitation template from a website such as Minted to save on costs? If working with a designer to create a bespoke suite is important to them, we book this vendor early in the process to reserve space on their calendar. I recommend contacting a designer 9 months in advance for invitations and even earlier if you want to work with the same person for your save-the-dates. If the client is fine with using Minted, we do this much later in the planning process since the template they choose is ready to go.


Your invitation design should be an extension of your wedding design. So if you’re hosting a casual, colorful wedding, do not choose a black and white formal invitation with script and foil accents. There are various enhancements to consider when designing your suite:

- Wax Seals

- Envelope Liners

- Belly Bands

A standard wedding invitation suite typically consists of four or five pieces. These are most often the following elements:

- The actual invitation

- An RSVP card

- An envelope for the RSVP card

- Details card

- Outer envelope for mailing

Another enclosure card that has become popular with the rise of weekend weddings is a schedule. Many of my clients are choosing to offer a welcome party, the wedding reception and a post-wedding brunch. We want to ensure guests are aware of these ancillary events and can plan accordingly.

So what goes on each of these pieces? Good question!

The invitation itself should always include the following:

- Your names

- The wedding date

- The wedding location

- The start time

If you have a split location wedding (i.e. a church ceremony and then a reception in a different location), your invitation should be for the first event. You would then need a details card to inform guests about the cocktail hour & reception venue and start time for those events.

Your RSVP card should include the following:

- Date that guests should reply by (keep reading for my suggestions!)

- A space for their names

- Section to select their RSVP (attending or not)

- Optional – entrée choices if guests need to pre-select their meal

- Don’t forget to provide a pre-addressed and pre-stamped envelope for guests to return their RSVP card in!

Your details card can vary greatly. Some commons things that I see on details cards are:

- A link to the couple’s wedding website

- Information about hotel blocks

- Attire for the wedding

- Transportation details

- You should not link your registry on any printed portion of your invitation suite. Direct guests to the wedding website and you may include a registry link there.


Another great question! It is customary to give guests 8 weeks to send in their RSVP. I advise my clients to set their RSVP date 5-6 weeks before the actual wedding day. I tend to figure out schedule by working backwards. Let’s pretend I have a September 1st wedding and I am working with a designer. Together we will go through what my schedule would look like:

- Invitation Design Begins: February 1st (designer collects details and begins the design. You’ll need time for several rounds of proofs before getting to the finished product)

- Invitations Ordered: April 1st (approximately 2 weeks for printing and shipping)

- Invitations in hand: April 16th (give yourself time to assemble and bring to the post office.)

- Mail By: April 26th (8 weeks before my RSVP date)

- RSVP Date: July 21st (6 weeks before my wedding day)

If you were using a template site to create your invitations, your schedule would be similar except you could literally design and order in the same day.


Married Couple with same last name and living in the same household:

Mr. and Mrs. George Smith

800 Park Avenue, 3C

New York, New York 10025

*** It is traditional to spell out Avenue, Street, Road, etc. as well as the State name (not the two letter abbreviation)

Married couple with different last name and living in the same household:

Some experts say the woman's name should appear first while others suggest the names be listed alphabetically by last name. You choose which method you desire. Each name would get their own line:


Ms. Jennifer Hamilton

Mr. George Smith

800 Park Avenue, 3C

New York, New York 10025

Unmarried couple living in the same household

Each guest would get their own line on the invitation and would be listed alphabetically by last name:

Ms. Jennifer Parker

Mr. George Randolph

800 Park Avenue, 3C

New York, New York 10025


The way you address the invitation depends on if children are invited. If children are invited, you can write as “The Smith Family.” If they are not, address to the parents only. If any children are over age 18 living in the home, they should receive their own invitation.

Guests with a plus one

Mr. John Smith and guest (if guest is unknown)

Mr. John Smith (if guest is known, list your guest first with their guest on the line below)

Ms. Katie Hamilton

We’ve covered a lot of information about wedding invitations! I hope you learned something new!

And if you’ve made it this far, I’d like to share a special code for any couples opting to use Minted for their wedding stationery: WEDPLALYSSAJEAN will get you 35% off your save-the-dates and 25% off everything else wedding-related!



Before you go! Here are a few samples of invitation suites from my past clients

This is a Minted invitation

Photographed by Abigail Jean Photography

Coastal blue wedding invitation

This is a custom invitation suite by Roseville Designs

Photographed by James Anderson Photography

colorful wedding invitation with yellow and turquoise

Custom suite by Phillips Designs

Photographed by Chris & Becca Photography

sage and pink wedding invitation

Custom suite by Christina's Design Studio

Photographed by Fox & Veil Photography

black and white wedding invitation

Custom suite by Roseville Designs

Photographed by Peterson Design Photo

Navy and burgundy wedding invitation

Custom suite by Merrymaker Paper

Photographed by Stella Blue Photography

retro wedding invitation and blue wedding invitation

Minted invitation suite

Photographed by Madison Abbey Photography

navy blue and white letterpress wedding invitation

Minted invitation suite

Photographed by Chris & Becca Photography

dusty pink wedding invitation

Minted invitation suite

Photographed by Elizabeth Grant Photography

white and gold wedding invitation

Custom invitation suite by XO Art & Design

Photography by Shelby Anne

coastal wedding invitation

Minted invitation suite

Photographed by Stella Blue Photography

black and white formal wedding invitation


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