Dear Wedding Invitation, Why Do You Have So Many Envelopes??


Last month I was talking to a bride who had ordered her wedding invitations and was a little confused about why there were options for one, two, or even three envelopes! While I knew the general reasons for all the envelope options, I set out to find out more about it! Turns out, there are a few historical reasons as well as some modern day uses for multiple envelopes!

In the 1800’s inner envelopes were often used for invitations to very special occasions because mail often got dirty and scuffed en route to its destination. Once the mail reached its destination the outer envelope could be discarded and the recipients would see only the fresh, clean envelope containing the lovely invitation.

Happily, that is not much of a problem anymore. Our mail tends to make it to its destination fairly quickly and neatly…usually. However, inner envelopes still serve an important function for the modern wedding. It’s most significant function is to specify exactly who is invited to the wedding (and who is not). For example, the outer envelope may be addressed to only the parents in a household while the inner envelope would include the names of the children who are invited. If the children are not invited to the event their names would be omitted on the inner envelope.

Outer Envelope

Mr. & Mrs. David and Julianne Cole

1234 Cocoa Avenue

Hershey, Pennsylvania 17036

Inner Envelope

Mr. & Mrs. Cole

Richard and Sarah


Mr. & Mrs. Cole

Richard Cole

Sarah Cole


Inner envelopes are also a courteous way to invite a plus-one.

Outer Envelope

Ms. Olivia Brown

1234 Cocoa Avenue

Hershey, Pennsylvania 17036

Inner Envelope

Ms. Olivia Brown & Guest


And if two envelopes weren’t enough, many wedding invitations come with an RSVP card and a return envelope. This is a courtesy to your guests, but there are ways to get around that envelope as well. Consider making your RSVP cards work as post cards with no need of an envelope at all!

As with any wedding tradition, wedding envelopes can be adapted to your style and budget. If you are planning a very formal wedding that requires a specific RSVP list, inner envelopes may appeal to you. If you don’t want to hassle with multiple envelopes and would rather save money (and a tree) you may choose to forgo everything but the outer envelope. Remember that this is your big day and you need to decide which traditions are important to you!


8 thoughts on “Dear Wedding Invitation, Why Do You Have So Many Envelopes??

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