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What are the Different Types of Wedding Invitation Envelopes?

A couple getting married.
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  • Written By: A Kaminsky
  • Edited By: L. S. Wynn
  • Last Modified Date: 07 October 2014
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Choosing invitations is an integral part of planning a wedding. However, choosing the wedding invitations is also an important process. The wedding invitation envelopes are the first things that prospective guests will see, so a bride is well advised to choose envelopes that are tasteful and may reflect the colors or theme of the wedding.

Wedding invitation envelopes come in many shapes, sizes and designs. The most traditional design is the larger, heavier outer envelope, with a smaller envelope containing the actual invitation enclosed. The double envelope is a tradition with an interesting story. Before the 20th century, almost all wedding invitations were hand-delivered to their recipients and in the early 18th century, most of those who actually sent engraved invitations were of the upper class. The recipient's butler would take the (probably dirty) envelope from the courier, open it and present the neat, clean inner envelope to the lady of the house. Thus was a tradition born that continues even now.

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A bride may go to a local bridal salon, printer, or online to choose wedding invitation envelopes. Her choices are nearly endless. She can choose envelopes made of heavy paper, parchment, vellum, and in square or rectangular shapes. One shape that is becoming more popular in wedding invitation envelopes is the "pochette." This is an envelope that is shaped like a square, with folding tabs on each side, which fold in to make the envelope. Wedding invitation envelopes are available in almost any color imaginable, and a bride may even be able to match her envelopes with the colors of her bouquet, if she desires to do so.

Some wedding invitation envelopes are plain, inside and out, but a bride may choose ones lined in foil, again in an array of colors. She can match the foil lining to the ink color used on the invitation, or choose a complimentary color to the paper.

One very formal, traditional version of wedding invitation envelopes is an envelope made of parchment. This is heavy paper with a subtle marbled finish. Parchment often features a "deckled" edge, which means the edge of the paper has a torn look, giving it a handmade appearance. Parchment is considered one of the most attractive forms of wedding invitation envelopes.

Etiquette demands that wedding invitation envelopes may be engraved or preferably, hand-addressed. While envelopes addressed on a computer printer, or with address labels may be gaining popularity, sticklers for proper etiquette still say hand-addressed are the best.

Most wedding invitation envelopes come as a "package" price with the invitations themselves. However, a bride will usually pay extra for lined, parchment or vellum envelopes, and these fees will be listed with the invitation prices. Ordering invitations and envelopes early ensures that the bride can make corrections if something is amiss with the finished product, so this process should be near the top of a bride's "to-do" list. Comparing prices from various sources will ensure she is able to find what she wants at the best price.

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