There are so many resources out there indicating the “proper” stationery etiquette. Those sites will tell you never to use "Ms." when addressing an envelope unless it is for business; always use Mrs. or Miss. But our take on things is that etiquette is about being respectful, and if your friend goes by Ms., why wouldn’t you respect her wishes when addressing her envelope?!

So this page on tips and ideas isn’t going to tell you to write out all middle names. Instead, we’d like to share some advice from our years in the real-life-people wedding-and-elopement business. It covers timing, budgeting, a teensy itty-bitty little bit of etiquette, mailing, wording, and other fun tips.

Etiquette

Be kind and respectful. The end.

Timing

Some people like to announce their elopement immediately after the event. If that’s you, you’re going to want to make sure you order early enough before the elopement to ensure that you have time to get everything ready to go before you head out to get married. In that event, we recommend ordering announcements at least 4 weeks before your elopement. Beyond that, there’s no real rule about when to send out your announcements. Even Emily Post says that announcements can be sent up to several months later (and if Emily Post says it, it must be so).

If you are sending an invitation to a celebration event of any kind, the best thing is to send your announcement and invitation at the same time, usually at least 6-8 weeks before the celebration, but probably not more than 10 weeks unless you can think of a good reason to send them earlier.

Budgeting

We actually now have a whole page devoted to invitation-related budgeting tips.

Other Tips

If you are including reply cards, and you actually want them to be mailed back to you, included stamped and addressed envelopes. You should address the reply card envelopes to whomever is hosting the wedding or whomever is tracking responses.

Your invitation should include the couple’s names; the date, time, and location of the event; and, if desired, host, dress code, and RSVP information. Things like directions, details about additional activities, etc. should go on separate enclosure cards or on a wedding website. See above for a list of recommended wedding website hosts.

If you are announcing an elopement and also inviting people to a celebration, party, reception, etc., be sure that you make it clear which date is for which event. We recommend including the invitation as a separate card (so that one date is on the announcement and one is completely separate on the invitation) or, if you want to include everything on one card, consider de-emphasizing the elopement date in favor of making it clear when the invitation is for.

When calculating how many invitations or announcements you need, count households, not guests. Be sure to include a few extras since placing a small second order will cost significantly more per card than ordering them at the time of your original order.

Triple-check your proofs! Pay special attention to details like dates and times, spelling of names and locations, etc. Have someone not close to the event read your proofs - they’re far less likely to gloss over spelling and grammar errors. Try reading your proofs backwards or from right to left to help find mistakes.

Mailing

Envelope stuffing + two-sided cards

When stuffing envelopes, it makes the most sense for the printed side of the announcement or invitation to be the side facing the recipient when he or she opens the envelope. So have it face the flap. Order two-sided printing with caution. Because it is very unusual for an invitation to have a back, you may be disappointed to find that your recipients never even thought to turn their invitation over before they recycled it, missing out on crucial information. If you are going to go with a two-sided card, you’re probably best including a note along the lines of “see reverse for more information.”

Addressing envelopes

There are all kinds of ways and means of addressing an envelope, and many of them look amazing and will even get to their intended recipients. If you want to give your envelopes some personality, by all means, go for it. But keep in mind a few things:

  • The US Postal Service prefers it if the address be in a readable, simple typeface (they prefer all caps, in fact, but don’t require it). Addresses should be legible from an arm’s length away. Keep the fancy stuff for recipient names only if possible.
  • Again, it’s not required but the USPS prefers that your return address be on the FRONT of the envelope, in the upper left corner, (as opposed to the back flap). This helps alleviate the problem of your mail coming back to you instead of going to its intended recipient. 
  • Addresses should be written parallel to the longest side of the envelope. Otherwise, the USPS considers your envelope unmachinable and charges you an extra fee to send it.
  • Envelopes that are square or on which the address is written parallel to the shorter side of the envelope cannot go through the USPS sorting machines and therefore require additional postage. 
  • If you are using address labels, make sure that no important information is cut off and ensure that your labels are on straight. Skewed labels can cause delivery errors.
  • If your fully assembled envelope is especially thick or heavy, it’s a good idea to take a complete sample set (with all enclosures) to the post office to have it weighed for the proper postage. The last thing you want is for all your invitations to be returned to you for insufficient postage.

Wording

One of the things Skipt is best known for is our awesome elopement announcement wording. So please, feel free to browse our products for sale to find the right wording for you (and chances are, we can figure out a good way to incorporate that wording into the design of your choice). If you’re still feeling stuck, here are some thoughts:

It's completely okay for you to be excited in your announcements! The emphasis in our designs is on sharing joy and celebrating the couple, sometimes explaining a tiny bit, but never apologizing. The way we see it, the announcements in great part set the tone for how the elopement is going to be perceived by friends and family. They should evoke excitement and happiness!

Over the years, we've discovered that couples seem to really like using little poems on their elopement announcements. We suppose there is something about a catchy little poem that says, “How can you possibly be mad that we eloped?”

Here are some of our favorites:

Because we love you 
We thought you should know… 
We ran off and got married
Without a lot of show!

The sun on our faces
and blue in the sky
You were in our hearts
if not in our eyes

We hope that you know that we mean you no pain
But planning our wedding just made us insane
And so off we flew through the clouds up above
To be married on a beach, hand in hand, bound by love

We thought of you often
and missed you a ton
so let's have a party
come have lots of fun

Don't fret please, dear loved ones,
we thought of you, too!
We're throwing a party to celebrate!
Woohoo!

Fear not, friends and family,
we thought of you, too
We're throwing a party
to celebrate with you!