The Origin of the Double Envelope

Traditionally formal wedding invitations arrive in two envelopes.  The outer envelope is addressed to the name and the physical address that the invitation will be delivered to.  The inner envelope is addressed to the person or people you intend to invite to your wedding.  Ever wonder why?  Why do we bother with two envelopes instead of just addressing one?  The answer to this question lies in the origin of the wedding invitation.

Invitations originated in the middle ages and were handwritten.  It is said that the first invitations were created by monks in England who were masters of calligraphy and were commissoned to create invitations for the royal family and the members of high society.  The use of invitations was not wide spread in part due to cost but mainly because of high illiteracy rates. 

Before the advent of our modern day mail system, mail was carried and delivered on horse back or on a horse drawn cart.   This created a need to protect the invitation while it was in the process of being delivered to the guest.  Upon reaching his destination the mail carrier would deliver the invitation to the servant who would then remove the dirty outer envelope and then present then present the delivery to the intended recipient.  Thus ensuring that the recipient and the invitation are never exposed to the filth that the outer envelope accumulated on its travel. 

Today this tradition has continued on the most formal of invitations.  And though the postal system has greatly improved and mail is delivered relatively clean, it is still used as a symbol of status.  Today it represents the richness and extravagance that will be your wedding.  It conveys to your guests that the wedding will be a formal event and not a casual affair.  The choice is yours!  One envelope or two (or no envelope at all!) the invitation that you choose will convey to your guests the formality of your wedding.  Visit for more tips on envelope etiquette.  

By:  Sheila Elizabeth


4 responses to “The Origin of the Double Envelope

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