Some wedding traditions make us scratch our heads and wonder where they came from — and why we even continue to do them. Here’s one example…
A Hudson Valley bride asks: “I’m choosing my wedding invitations, which will be mailed by my parents as the hosts of the wedding. Unfortunately, Mom and I are already at odds — she insists that the invitation, which is inside its own envelope, be placed inside a bigger envelope with the guests’ addresses written on them. I think this is silly and wasteful. Can you help?”
(Our answer on next page)
The Wedding Guru answers: The tradition of mailing wedding invitations in two envelopes dates back to the days when footmen made deliveries by horse. To ensure that the invitation didn’t get dirty in transit, it was placed in a second envelope. When they reached their destination, the footmen would hand the mail to the recipient’s servant, who would remove the (clean) invitation from the outer envelope and present it to the woman or man of the house.
So, why is it that we still use a double envelope now that we have mail service? The inner envelope serves a new purpose — to show who’s invited (and who’s not). For instance, this is where the mailer excludes a plus-one or children. The inner envelope can also express the attire for the event (formal, etc.).
Unfortunately, double envelopes are an expense often eliminated in a budget-crunch or for eco-friendly reasons. (Not to fear: you can still express the attire or if the wedding is for adults only, etc., by including the notation at the bottom of your invitation.) Eco-friendly and budget-conscious couples may also eliminate paper invitations altogether and opt for E-invites, which allow them greater freedom when adding notes to their invitations. Just keep in mind that E-mail invitations are only acceptable for casual affairs; if your wedding is formal, stick to printed ones.