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Years ago, a sweet client of mine called me in a panic, wondering if I had ever heard of the “steamer” trick or the “freezer” trick to get sealed envelopes to pop open. In my calmest possible tone, I asked why she needed to get her envelopes open (with sweaty palms and a nervous inner monologue). She had chosen the most gorgeous, ultra traditional wedding invitations, and I had hand-calligraphed her envelopes. I started to panic alongside her, wondering what had happened, and if she didn’t know how to assemble wedding invitations.

“Well, I bought enough postage for my outer envelopes and response envelopes. I got to the end, sealed everything up, stamped the envelopes and couldn’t figure out why I had so many stamps left over. Then, it hit me — I hadn’t stamped the response envelopes inside!”

OH SH*T.

Fast forward and she ended up putting her perfect invitations in the freezer and got them open — crisis averted, phew — but don’t put yourself in this position. There are some easy mistakes to avoid, and some simple steps to follow, to make sure you know how to assemble wedding invitations efficiently, correctly, and beautifully. No freezer required. Let’s dive in!


Before you start

Take one complete set of invitations to the post office to be weighed. Ask the clerk to determine how much postage you need. If you have international recipients, ask separately for those, based on destination. Purchase enough postage for your invitations based on their weight, plus enough postage for your RSVP envelopes (one regular stamp per response envelope).

Once you get home, you can start on the actual assembly process. It’s helpful to do all sets of each step at a time. For example, if you have 100 sets in your order, stamp all 100 RSVP envelopes (step 1), then move on to step 2, and do that step 100 times.

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Deal with your response items first

Stamp your response envelopes before you do anything else! This way, you’ll avoid the nightmare I described at the beginning of this post. It’s the most helpful guidance I have in explaining how to assemble wedding invitations. Just trust me on this one.

Then, on the back of your response cards, write a tiny number in the bottom corner, with a mechanical pencil or fine-point pen. On your guest list, note which guest coordinates with which number. If people don’t reply, or reply without a name, you can check who’s missing.


Stack, stuff, seal

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If you’re using a ribbon, thread, or belly band, wrap it tightly around the main invitation card alone and tie it. You’ll get the tightest wrap that way, rather than trying to tie it around a stack of items. Once that’s taken care of, then you can stack your other items and slide underneath the bound element. I like to tuck the response card inside its coordinating envelope flap, so those items are a “unit” within the stack.

Ultra traditional etiquette dictates that the stack should go in size order, so the largest piece is on the bottom, with each piece getting sequentially smaller and smaller. Sometimes I do this, but sometimes, I tuck the smaller inserts behind the main invitation card, to ensure that card maintains the biggest impact. Rules are meant to be bent, wink.

Place the whole stack neatly into your envelope. Seal the envelope closed (with a small damp sponge). Especially in a COVID-affected world, nobody wants your licked envelopes. If you’re using an inner and outer envelope, only seal the outer one — the inner envelope should be ungummed, simply placed inside its outer counterpart.


Mailing your invitations

DO NOT DROP THEM IN A MAIL BIN. Take your invitations to a USPS branch in person. I repeat: no curbside blue mail bins! Upon arrival, ask for your invitations to be hand cancelled. This will prevent them from going through one machine (even though they’ll go through others anyway) and helps them from getting printed with barcodes, in some cases. Please note that not all post office locations do the hand cancelling service, so you may need to ask around in your area.


So that’s a short step-by-step guide on how to assemble wedding invitations. The last step is to get ready to enjoy all the love that will be coming your way once your invitations are out into the world!

As a perk, all of my invitation clients receive a complete assembly guide, as well as a full sample, as part of their order. My custom invitation clients have the option to skip this process entirely, and leave it to the professional! I offer white-glove assembly service so they don’t have to lift a finger.

Would that be helpful for your wedding? Let’s talk!

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