Your save the dates have been sent, and everyone is raving about how awesome your wedding is going to be; your wedding invitations are almost done, and you can't stop staring at them; there is just one thing that you are putting off...the dreaded guest list. Getting all of the addresses for your guests can be a little daunting--one of your guests moved between when you sent the save the date and your invitation, you accidentally typed the wrong zip code(those damn 0's keep disappearing), or a couple of your guests refuse to return your email/texts/calls with their complete address. For these reasons, and many more, we recommend that you get started on your guest addresses as soon as possible. Ultimately, you will have many of the addresses from your save the dates, but you may choose to be more formal on your wedding invitations. In our experience, we have seen many brides who don't know the "proper" etiquette for envelope addressing. To help you out, we've included a few tips for you :)
Inner/Outer Envelope vs. Just an Outer Envelope: Many brides choose to just have an outer envelope these days. While in the past it was more "traditional" and "proper" to have an inner/outer envelope, many brides have chosen to steer away from this option. Not only does it make formatting easier on you, it is also cheaper to just have an outer envelope(and less weight = less postage). Also, many couples use pocketfolds nowadays, so it acts as an inner envelope. Many stationers will assume that you will only want outer envelopes, so if you choose to have inner/outer envelopes make sure to let your stationer know.
When you just have an outer envelope, the entire address goes on the front of the envelope. For example, if you had a single, female friend that you were extending a "plus one" to, then it would Ms. __insert name here __ and guest. (Note that guest is not capitalized on the outer envelope.) If you are inviting specific people from a large family, you can have the main couple on the first line, and the individuals listed below. Children's names can be listed as first name only on the second line.
We also advise that you when begin collecting your addresses, go ahead and create an Excel sheet and separate everything into individual columns. When you send this file to us later, it'll make it mud easier for everyone! Oh, and those pesky little 0's that always disappear when you're trying to fill in a northerners zip code, can be saved my formatting that column as "text". Select the column, right click, select "format cells", select "text", then hit "ok"! Your zeros are now there to stay ;)
RSVP Card: Many brides have also chosen to add a small line on the RSVP card asking the number of guest attending. This is super helpful to find out how many people will be attending, especially when your guest doesn't make it clear on their food selection. Technically, how you address your envelopes should clue your guests into who/how many people are invited. For example, addressing an envelope with "Ms. Lucy Smith" should tell Lucy that she is the only person invited and not extended a "plus one"; inevitably, you will have guests who try to invite a date that you were not expecting. Having "number attending" on the RSVP card will help you to know how many people to expect and to ultimately speak with certain guests if need be.
There's also the added option to include "We have reserved ______ seat(s) in your honor". This is placed about the name line, and is intended for you, the bride and groom, to tell your guest exactly how many people they are allowed to bring. This is particularly helpful if you do not want kids at your wedding.
Printing Addresses: Unless you have a calligrapher or you plan to save money by handwriting the envelopes yourself, we highly recommend that you include printing the addresses onto the envelopes as one of your stationery costs. It not only saves you time, but it makes everything cohesive. You can arrange with your stationer to print directly onto the envelope or to create address labels. Printing directly onto the envelope can also be made to look like calligraphy, and is much more cost effective :) Here are examples of both!
Typically, having it directly printed onto the envelope will cost a little more than if you were to choose address labels. Whichever option you choose, your invitations will turn out absolutely stunning!
I know all of this may seem daunting, but that is what you have us for! We are here to help you every step of the way in this highly stressful wedding planning process. If you have questions, please ask them!