He has finally popped the question, you have your special day set, and you just picked up your wedding invitations, but as you open up your box you begin to wonder what all this extra stuff is for. There are some proper guidelines to follow when assembling your invitations for that special day.
The best way to assemble your invitation is to set everything up on a cleared table, in an assembly line fashion by placing them in the order in which they go. No more than two people should be assembling the invitations at the same time, with one on each side of the table, because it creates too much confusion. It also makes it easier if you place stamps on all of your response envelopes before you start assembling.
If your invitations are single fold and the wording is on the outside only, then the insertions are placed on top. If your invitations are multi-fold and the wording is inside the fold, then the insertions are placed inside the first fold. The insertions should go in the following order from bottom to top tissue paper, reception card, map, response envelope, and response card, which should be tucked under the flap of the response envelope. This is all placed inside the inner envelope, printed side facing the flap. The inner envelope is then placed inside the outer envelope, flap side facing the front of the outer envelope.
Make sure before you begin that every stack has the exact same count. For instance, if you are starting with a stack of one hundred invitations, make sure you have a stack of one hundred of everything else, which includes the tissue paper, reception card, maps, respond envelopes, and respond cards. Start assembling your invitations one at a time, but do not seal the outer envelope. Once you are finished, then make sure your counts are still even.
When you are finished and you have four invitations left, you will want to make sure you have four of everything else left, which is the main reason that you do not seal the envelopes. If your counts are not the same, then you can check the invitations to see which one is either missing an insertion, or has an extra insertion, and still correct it, but once everything is correct, then you can seal your envelopes!
Here is another great tip. Begin by numbering your guest list, and then number the response cards somewhere inconspicuously, such as on the back or inside if they are folded, in pencil with numbers that correspond to your guest list. If you receive a response in the mail that is blank, and believe it or not, people forget to write their name in all the time, then you will know exactly who it is from by cross referencing the number to your guest list.
Invitations should be sent out six to eight weeks before your wedding date. If you have a large number of out of town guests, then it is suggested that they be sent out eight weeks to give your guests the courtesy of making reservations and securing travel arrangements more economically. When you first receive your invitations, assemble one complete invitation, which includes the tissue paper, any maps or additional insertions, and the stamp on the return response envelope, then take it to your local Post Office for weight and measurement.
Sometimes it is the size and not the weight that may require more postage than one first class stamp, so it is encouraged that you to take it to the window and have a postal worker weigh and measure it for you, which will save you a lot of aggravation later. When it is time to mail your invitations, if you hand deliver them to your local post office window, then you can request that they be hand canceled with a rubber stamp, instead of by a machine, which makes the front of the envelope look a lot more attractive without the large ugly black postal markings all over it.