Your wedding invitation is more than just a pretty card in an envelope. Even the simplest of designs include a few extra pieces (namely an RSVP card and envelope) before you even start adding on things like envelope liners and belly bands. Especially for couples having a destination wedding, the sheer volume of information often requires an additional card, called an invitation insert or information card. The main invitation itself should list your names, your wedding date, the location, the start time, and the dress code. If you want to share anything more and elaborate, that's where the inserts come in.
What Is an Invitation Insert?
An invitation insert is an extra card used to share extra information with your wedding guests without crowding the main invitation with logistics. Each insert pertains to a different type of information and the number of inserts to include depends on the necessary details to be shared.
"A standard wedding invitation is made up of four pieces: the main invitation card, reply card, reply envelope, and outer envelope. Invitation inserts are pieces that are in addition to these four base pieces," says Laura Hooper, calligrapher and owner of Laura Hooper Calligraphy. To help you figure out which inserts (and how many) you definitely need to add to your invitation suite, Hooper suggests consulting your stationer and sharing all the wedding details you want to include. "They can help you determine what inserts are necessary to fit the text and display the information in an aesthetically pleasing way that fits into your suite," she says.
Meet the Expert
Laura Hooper is an expert calligrapher and head of Laura Hooper Calligraphy, where she provides stationery services to clients as well as calligraphy lessons.
"Your wedding itself will naturally lead to what inserts you’ll want to include. There is no 'requirement' to have any pieces beyond the standard four pieces," says Hooper. So don't be overwhelmed by beautiful invitation suites with a seemingly endless number of parts! Keep in mind that the more cards you employ, the higher your costs (for both print and design) will be.
If you want to get extra creative with your invites, inserts are a great way to do it. Whether you want to include a color palette with swatches for your attire card or decide to ask a graphic designer or illustrator to create a customized map for your directions card, there are many ways to have fun with your invitation suite.
Here are the types of inserts to consider when crafting your invites.
RSVP Card and Envelope
The RSVP card and envelope are staples in any invitation suite. Depending on your preferred approach, you can include cards with blanks for guests to fill up names of those attending or you can include the number of seats reserved for them and they can confirm the number of attendees. If you intend to keep RSVPs traditional and via postage, be sure to include a self-addressed envelope with stamp, as well as a hard deadline on when they should send their RSVPs. To save on postage, you can use postcard RSVPs instead.
Hooper suggests discarding the RSVP card if you're tallying your guest list online via your website. But definitely reserve a few invites (with all the extra inserts) for your guests who aren't tech-savvy. With smaller, more intimate weddings, guests can RSVP to the couple directly and the couple can forego the RSVP cards.
Wedding Website Card
Most, if not all, weddings now have a website that compiles all the necessary wedding-related information—from dress code to registry. Your "Info" or "Details" insert card is the perfect place to put the URL for your wedding website. Encourage guests to refer to your site for more information or to keep updated, especially if not all wedding details have been finalized.
"If your reception is at a different location than your ceremony, you would use a reception card," says Hooper. Include the time and location of your reception on this card, as well as directions or parking information for the venue, if needed.
Otherwise, if you're having your ceremony and reception at the same location, skip this card. Instead, your main invitation should include the ceremony location and then should say "reception to follow."
Having a shuttle to transport guests to and from your ceremony and reception? While you may not have the exact shuttle times figured out before your invitations are sent, put a note on the insert that specifies that the shuttle will be available and that they shouldn't plan to drive to your venue.
Pre-Wedding and Post-Wedding Events Card
For any pre- and post-wedding events that won't have their own invitation mailed separately, put the date, time, and dress code on an insert (i.e., "Please join us for a welcome party the night before the wedding! Meet us at the hotel bar at 8 p.m. for cocktails and desserts"). If you're hoping to get a specific RSVP count, you should either send an invitation in the mail or send out an e-vite.
This insert is especially useful for destination weddings. It can include an overview of travel options, such as the name of the nearest airport and the names, websites, and phone numbers for any hotels where you've reserved a block of rooms. Be sure to include the reservation code if your hotel requires one!
"A custom map is a really beautiful addition to share your favorite locations and wedding venues with your guests," says Hooper. This card can include written out directions or could be a beautifully illustrated map that also has key guideposts like main landmarks, parking areas, and entrances.
If you're holding a destination wedding, include some of the locale's hotspots or you and your partner's favorites to give guests an idea of where to go, what to do, and where to eat.
This card is especially useful for weddings with multiple events that have strict dress codes. Want an all-white garden party attire for the welcome festivities? Black tie for the main ceremony and the reception? This is where to include specifics. You can even include a preferred color palette. If you have outdoor activities that require comfortable shoes, it's also best to include a note so guests can wear appropriate footwear. Otherwise, skip the card and include an all-encompassing theme like "Formal Attire" or "Business Casual" in the main invite.
Although it may seem logical to include your registry details in your invitation suite, etiquette suggests that registry cards should ultimately be avoided. Instead, include registry details on your website so guests can easily access it.