Anatomy of a Wedding Invitation

So you know those days where a lightbulb goes off? And you realize you have this brilliant idea that's been stuck in the far corner of your brain, behind a lot of clutter and to-do lists and everyday tasks for a really long time? And when that brilliant idea finally comes to fruition, you feel sort of silly for not pulling it out sooner? Yeah. This is one of those for me. Because I'm immersed in the wedding industry and piles of pretty paper and envelopes and invitation loveliness day in and day out, I sometimes forget that not everyone knows the ins and outs of wedding stationery. I finally realized it a couple of weeks ago when I was speaking to a client-friend of mine and started listing off products she might be interested in. She stopped me and said, "I have no idea what you're talking about."

And why would she?! If you're not immersed in paper and invitation wording and wedding ideas all day every day, it may all sound like complete gibberish to you when someone asks you if you need to include a map. ("A map? Like...a paper map, not an app?").

So today, I am sharing with you the basic anatomy of a wedding invitation suite. Depending on the style, formality, and location of your wedding celebration, you may need more or less pieces, so your final suite may look a bit different.

Anatomy of a Wedding Invitation Infographic
Anatomy of a Wedding Invitation Infographic

Invitation.  This is the most obvious portion of your invitation suite. This card gives your guests all the vital information about your celebration - names, date, location, and time. If you've included all those bits of information, you've already won the day...just be sure to include an envelope, too.

Response card. With modern-day weddings, these are still included more often than not, but there are occasions where they may not be needed. Traditionally, though, you'll want to include a response card with an addressed, stamped envelope (or a stamped postcard). Your response card should list a date you need your response cards returned to you - we all know how easy it is to forget things when we aren't given a hard deadline. Depending on your celebration, you may also ask your guests to choose a meal for the reception.

Enclosure. This may or may not need to be included, and can be used for a variety of information. This card is most often used for directions or accommodations - any pertinent information you think your guests need to know about the event can go here.

Reception card. This may double as your enclosure card. If your reception is in a different location than your ceremony, you'll want to include the location and time on this separate card.

Bellyband. This is an added item that is used for decorative purposes when you have several cards you'd like to keep all tidy together. It may be a solid color, a pretty pattern, or custom-printed with your names or other fun, decorative text. A ribbon may also be used in place of a bellyband, depending on your preference.

Envelope liner. An envelope liner is another decorative piece that is attached to the inside of your envelope. It's a great way to add personality to your suite, or to add a layer of thickness to a formal invitation or transparent envelope. These can be used on your invitation and/or your response card envelopes. Personally, I think everyone needs more envelope liners in their life.

Map. If your venue is difficult or confusing to find, sometimes even an app can't help, so you may want to include a map to direct your guests exactly where they need to be. This is also a great way to personalize your suite - you can get creative and use the map to point out some of your favorite restaurants, bars, and hotels in the area if many of your guests are traveling from out of town.

Website card. A lot of times, this information can be included on your enclosure card if space allows, but if you have a lot of information to tell your guests and it won't fit there, you may want to include a separate, smaller card that directs them to your website. Your website may have more detailed information that can't always be included on a single enclosure card.

There you have it! The basic anatomy of an invitation suite...with a few extras thrown in for good measure. Now that you know exactly what pieces you need for your invitation suite, you can decide what wording options work best for your celebration!