Weddings traditions can be confusing as many of them are centuries old. One of these old wedding traditions is the double envelope. What is the history behind the double envelope and are they necessary today?
The double envelope came about during the 17th century with the invention of the metal engraving plates, which allowed for the more common class to afford printing wedding invitations. The double envelope was a way of protecting the wedding invitation as it was sent through the postal service or in the case of a wealthy family, as it was hand delivered by a courier. The outer envelope was able to protect the invite as it was passed through dirty hands and the general wear and tear of being transported while leaving the inner envelope as well as invite in perfect condition.
Do you need a double envelope today?
No, as the postal service and general cleanliness of the times have improved the need for a double envelope is not essential but with that being said the double envelope still has a few different uses in todays weddings.
Formal Weddings – In a formal wedding setting double envelopes are still used today as a general rule of thumb. It allows the inner envelope to stay pristine where the inner envelope will not contain a postal stamp and address.
Limiting Guests – The second reason for a double envelope is so that you can specify who should attend the wedding. If you are having an adult only event the outer envelope would say Mr. and Mrs. John Smith while on the inner envelope you would put John and Susan. If children were to be invited you would list each of the children’s names after the parent such as Tommy, Timmy, Tiffany.
Note: An RSVP card will also come with an envelope but this is not considered a double envelope even though it is often mistaken as such.