Wedding Invitation Option Q&A: Inner & Outer Envelopes

What are inner and outer envelopes? Should I use them?

Inner and outer envelopes, or double envelopes, are the traditional American way of presenting wedding invitations. They are never used for European invitations. The inner envelope serves a few practical purposes:

  • Protects the invitation and inserts once the guest tears open the outer envelope. It is specially made to just fit into the outer envelope and has no glue on the flap. (We always imagine the inner envelope being presented to the guest on a silver tray by a butler; since no one has butlers anymore, it's now just an added layer of protection!)
  • Reiterates who's invited. It is placed in the outer envelope with the flap facing away from you and the front addressed with the guest's name.

That said, inner envelopes typically are used only for very formal and traditional weddings these days because they:

  • Add to the cost of an invitation -- inner and outer envelopes practically scream for hand calligraphy which, in addition to the cost of the extra envelopes, pushes the invitation cost up and can double it in some circumstances.
  • Come in very limited colors and sizes (typically, white and ecru to fit a 5" x 7" invitation).
  • Are less eco-friendly than single envelopes.