What is an Invitation Suite Anyway?

Congratulations on making it to the “Invitations” step on your wedding to-do list!

You might be wondering what in the name of holy matrimony an “invitation suite” is (hint: depending on who you ask, it’s slightly less exciting than the “honeymoon suite”).

I’m here to lay it all out for you – and put all of those suite pieces in order of importance so you know what you NEED (and what you can ditch to save money for the bar)!


Importance Level: CRUCIAL

Okay, the invitation part of your invitation suite is kind of the point of the whole thing. There’s no skipping this one. This is the piece that tells everyone where to be, when to be there, and even what to wear. So yeah, we’re gonna need to include this one or you’re just sending an empty envelope to your guests. Awkward.

Your invitation should have all the pertinent information your guests will need to actually attend your wedding successfully. Here’s an overview of the info you have to include:

– Your names
– Wedding date
– Ceremony time
– Location (name & address)
– Who’s hosting
– Attire

This may seems obvious, but at this point I’ve seen it all and I can tell you that it is apparently not obvious to everyone. It’s also pretty bare-bones as far as info goes. You will likely have more tidbits that you’ll want to share, either via your wedding website or through additional inserts (keep reading for more on those!).


Importance Level: CRUCIAL (if you’re mailing them…)

I’m assuming you have a working knowledge of how our postal service functions, so I’ll spare you the details on that. The important thing to know is that if you’re mailing your invites, you gotta put them in an envelope with an address, return address, and stamps.
Obviously there is a lot of room for gussy-ing things up on the outside of an envelope, but these are the must-haves. Of course, if you’re doing a digital invite, outer envelopes are pretty useless and you may continue reading.


Importance Level: CRUCIAL/NICE TO HAVE

You’ll need a way for guests to let you know whether or not they’re coming, so the RSVP card is pretty crucial. Traditionally you’d include a card for them to mark their plan for attending and a stamped and addressed envelope for them to return it in (as the host, you want to make replying easy for them so they, you know, actually do it).

However, I marked the envelope as “nice to have” because with smaller weddings and all the technology we have these days, it’s totally fine to just include a card asking guests to RSVP on your website or shoot you an email or text. The elderly crowd isn’t always comfortable with these methods, so be sure to keep that in mind. And we can always include an envelope for your more traditional guests and ask the youngen’s to RSVP via the web!


Importance Level: CRUCIAL (but only if…)

The Reception Card only comes into play if your reception is in a different place than your ceremony. In this case, the invitation will invite your guests to the ceremony, then you’ll include another card inviting them to the reception and giving the timing and location details. This is especially helpful if you’re limiting the guests at the reception, since you can just include Reception Cards in those invitations and not others.

Of course if the ceremony and reception are in the same place, your guests are already there and you don’t need an extra insert to tell them to stay (the open bar and food will take care of that!).


Importance Level: NICE TO HAVE

I don’t know about you, but I like to know ALL the details about a wedding before I show up without my jacket, wearing an outfit that’s too fancy, and late because I booked a hotel that’s too far away.

Enter the details card.

This is a great way to keep your guests in the loop on all those little details, like attire, where to stay, the plan for the weekend, and any other little tips and tricks that will make them more comfortable (including your COVID safety plan). Sometimes people will include an Accommodations Card, Events Card, or other information as separate inserts. This is totally fine, but if you have a lot of information to share, you may want to put it all on one card to cut down on the pieces of paper you have flying around (and postage).

Of course, if you have a wedding website, you can definitely refer your guests there for information and updates instead of including it in the invitation suite (which is super helpful with all the COVID pivoting we’re doing these days).


Importance Level: NICE TO HAVE

I LOVE maps! They are like little functional pieces of art and can really add to the beauty and personality of your invitation suite.

Now, it’s safe to argue that most of your guests are going to use their phones to get where they need to go for your wedding. However, it is nice to include a functional map and some written directions for your older guests, or in case someone’s phone runs out of battery or if your wedding is in an area with poor cell reception. This will ensure guests arrive on time (and aren’t chasing you down the aisle).

Maps are also a fun touch if you’re planning a destination wedding, have lots of out-of-town guests or multiple locations for your wedding events, or are getting married in a place that has lots of sentimental value to you two. For example, you can include your favorite nearby hiking trail, the coffee shop where you had your first date, or all the great tourist locations your guests should hit before they leave town (including the taco shack with the best burritos to cure a hangover).


Importance Level: NICE TO HAVE

Envelope liners hold a special place in my heart. They are just so much fun and one of my absolute favorite places to add a pop of color or a personal touch to your invitation suite.

Aside from lookin’ pretty, envelope liners also actually help protect your invitation. That extra layer of paper acts as an added barrier between your envelope and the elements. It also keeps your dark envelopes from rubbing off on your beautiful white invitations.

Envelope liners aren’t a crucial piece of your invitation suite, but you should definitely consider them if you’re going with a darker envelope or mailing your invites to areas with lots of ugly weather going on. Or if your future spouse isn’t on board with putting your cat on the invite, you miiiiight be able to convince them to put it on the envelope liner.


Importance Level: NICE TO HAVE

A wrap is a great way to keep all of your suite pieces together and organized in the envelope. This is especially important if your stationer has designed your suite to look especially awesome when it’s stacked up (yes, I totally design invitation suites to look good as both a stack and as individual pieces!). You’ll want that awesomeness to arrive intact for your guests!

A wrap is a great way to keep all of your suite pieces together and organized in the envelope. This is especially important if your stationer has designed your suite to look especially awesome when it’s stacked up (yes, I totally design invitation suites to look good as both a stack and as individual pieces!). You’ll want that awesomeness to arrive intact for your guests!

Wraps can be full sheets, a small strip or belly band, ribbon, twine, wire, thread, or anything else you want to use to wrap around all of your pieces. They’re also a great place to personalize your invitations with custom artwork, quotes, or pops of color – I’ve got more fun personalization ideas on that here! Whatever wrap route you choose, it’s a great way to keep your invitation suite organized and make sure you look good on paper!


Importance Level: EXTRA

Traditionally a Rain Card gives guests an alternate location for the ceremony in case of rain. This insert has fallen out of style now that technology makes it so easy to get in touch with everyone (and great wedding planners know to, well, plan for inclement weather).

However, now that COVID is making any sort of planning ahead nearly impossible, it is nice to include some sort of note to your guests to point them in the right direction if they need more information. Of course, we can include this info in your details card, which is why a Rain Card (or COVID Card?) is in the Extra category.


Importance Level: EXTRA

You might be wondering why on earth you need an inner envelope if you have an outer envelope. And you’re not wrong. But this extra envelope does serve a purpose beyond being something else to lick.

The inner envelope lists the names of the guests who are invited, which is a great way to gently reinforce that your guests can’t bring kids or a date (if that’s the case). For example, on the outer envelope you may put “Mr. James Harrison and Family”, while on the inner envelope you would list “Uncle James, Aunt Marie, Brandon, Haley, and Paul” so Uncle James and Aunt Marie know the kids are all welcome.

If you’re going for a luxe and fancy event, I’d totally encourage using an inner envelope to help set the tone for your event. However, if you’re planning a more casual event, there are other ways to accomplish a set guest list without an inner envelope, which is why I’m calling it Extra.


Importance Level: LEAVE IT OUT

Etiquette says you never include your registry info on your invitation (it’s kind of like asking for gifts…icky). Typically you’d put this info on your wedding website, ask a friend or family member to tactfully pass the registry info around, or it would be shared with a wedding shower invitation.

However, COVID has really thrown a monkey wrench into the traditional wedding gatherings and there’s nothing like a pandemic to make people reprioritize all of those etiquette rules. If you don’t have a website and didn’t have a wedding shower, it is fine to include a separate, small, tastefully worded card with your registry info in your invitation. Pandemic or not, please don’t put your registry info on the actual invitation.


Importance Level: LEAVE IT OUT

It’s totally okay to NOT want kids at your wedding. I have two of them who I love dearly, but can confirm without a doubt that they are not formal event material.

While simply putting “no kids” gets the message across loud and clear, it’s a little, er, harsh to put in print on an invitation (even in beautiful scripted letterpress). If you’re planning an adults-only event, we’ve got subtle ways to ensure that the bib & booster seat crowd don’t show up uninvited.

First, there’s the outer envelope – address it ONLY to the parents. Then you can add an inner envelope and address that ONLY to the parents. You can also put a tactfully worded note about the event being adults-only on your wedding website, along with some suggestions for childcare (if you have them). And lastly, you can use your planner or a close relative to spread the word on the no-kids situation.


Importance Level: LEAVE IT OUT

We know you’re excited for that new last name, but putting it on your invitation is TOO SOON. Go with your maiden name for all of your wedding invitation stationery and save your married name for your reception place card and literally everything else for the rest of your life!

Congratulations! You are now an expert in what you need for your invitations! Just don’t forget that your invitations are the first impression your guests will have of your wedding and I’m always here if you need any help looking good on paper!

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