Back to the Basics with Wedding Invitation Terminology

Although it’s quite easy to get caught up in the trends and designs of invitations as you plan your wedding, you may want to take a few minutes to learn more about some of the basic terminology you could encounter while browsing.  As the saying goes, ‘the more you know, the better’.

Double Envelopes: Traditionally, formal wedding invitations come with two large envelopes. The slightly larger outer envelope is actually the mailing envelope that will contain the name and address of your guests. The inner envelope is hand addressed with only your guests’ names and contains your invitation along with any insert cards but remains unsealed for placing inside the mailing envelope.

Ecru:  Often used to describe the base color of invitations, ecru is a creamy, pale yellowish brown.

Engraved Invitations: These are created using a time-honored printing method of raising ink on paper through a process of etching metal plates, filling the etches with ink, then pressing paper into the plates. Engraved wedding invitations tend to be more expensive.

Envelope Seals: Decorative self-adhesive seals that can add a finishing touch to the outside of your mailing envelope. They are available in many styles and create the illusion that they are sealing the back flap down but in reality the envelope has already been sealed.  Self-mailing invitations offer an exception in that their design requires the seal to actually hold the piece together due to the absence of a mailing envelope.

Informal or Note Cards: These are typically used as your thank you cards since they are printed with your names on the front and blank on the inside for your handwritten personal message.   It is a good idea to order them when ordering your wedding invitations since they are often available in a maching design and this will save you on separate shipping costs.  Any extra cards can be used long after the wedding for other purposes. Blank mailing envelopes are also included.

Lined Inner Envelopes: For a small extra cost, you may have the option of including a colored or even patterned lining on the inside of your envelopes to add a special touch to your ensemble. Choices will vary depending on the invitation design you choose.

Map Cards: Out-of-town guests will appreciate having cards included with your invites that have directions and/or a map as a convenience if they are not familiar with the location of the church and/or reception.

Printed Envelope Flaps: Having your return address printed on the back flap of your mailing envelope can save you time and ensure that undeliverable invitations are promptly returned to you. A return address also provides information to any guests who might not be able to attend but still wish to send a card or gift. There is usually a small charge for this option.

Reception Cards: Insert cards that reveal all the details of your wedding reception can be included in place of having this information printed on your invitation. They can be ordered in a matching design and then be included as a separate insert.  Please keep in mind that including this card may add to your mailing cost since postage is based on weight.

Response Cards: Guests are asked to return these cards indicating whether they will be able to attend your wedding. Response cards provide you with the accurate guest count you will need to properly plan for your dinner/reception.  This card along with its return mailing envelope will be inserted with your wedding invitation. Remember to include a postage stamp for return mailing since it will already be printed with an address so your guests can easily send it back by the date you have requested.

Thermography: A printing process whereby invitations are printed in ink and then a special powder is sprinkled over the wet ink.  The invitation is then sent through a heater which melts the powder and “raises” the ink.  Thermography is more commonly used in printing since it is more cost effective than engraving.

Watch for a future blog post that will explain some additional terms that have become popular when it comes to modern wedding invitations.

Tied Trifold Invitation

Tied Trifold Invitation

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