First impressions are always important, and your wedding invitations are no exception. In addition to formally inviting each guest to the wedding, invitations also offer an idea of your wedding style. Every element of the invitation set – from paper thickness and color to fonts and graphics – will have an impact on how your guests view your wedding. (No pressure!!) 

In addition to the invitation design, there are several components that can be included in an invitation “set”. (A “set” includes EVERYTHING that is mailed in the envelope to your guests.) Keep in mind that each invitation set is totally customized based on the specifics for your event, so there’s a very, very good chance that you won’t need all of these items. As part of the consultation process, we’ll help you decide which elements you need, and which ones you can do without. From outside to inside, here’s the list of possibilities:

Outer Envelope

  • Typically has the return address pre-printed on the back flap
  • Mailing addresses can be printed or hand-written on the front (Have questions? Check out Emily Post’s addressing guide)

Inner Envelope (Optional)

  • Originally used to protect the invitation and specify guest names
  • Many designers opting to omit this piece, in the interest of cutting cost and saving paper. (Especially since guest names can be written on the outer envelope.)

Ceremony Invitation

  • This should be the shining jewel of your wedding stationery!
  • Details include event hosts, bride and groom names, date, time and location

Reception Insert (Optional)

  • Details include reception time and location

Accommodations Insert (Optional)

  • Details can include hotel contact information, booking deadlines, and transportation info.
  • Many times, the information on this card can be combined with the reception insert, to conserve cost and paper.

Map/Directions Insert (Optional)

  • Details can include a map and/or directions.
  • This is the LEAST common insert to include. Most guests will plan their routes online in advance, and many of them have GPS to help navigate. While it’s a nice addition, it often adds unnecessary cost and paper to your invitation set.

Reply Card or Postcard

  • Details include the reply date (which can be 2-4 weeks before your wedding), with space for guest names, options to accept or decline the invitation, and options for meal selection (if you’re having a plated dinner)
  • Postcards have gained popularity in the interest of cutting cost and paper – but keep in mind that postcards don’t always “travel” as well in the mail. They can get smudged, torn, or lost much easier than a traditional card and envelope.

Reply Envelope (Optional)

  • Pre-printed with reply address and pre-stamped for the convenience of your guests


Meet with Paper Trails: 4-8 months prior to your wedding date*

  • Make an appointment today! We are here to guide you through the process

Order them: 3-6 months prior

  • After your initial appointment, schedule a 1 hour appointment to place your final order. We will help you with text and etiquette

Send them out: 2 months prior 
Average spend: $500-$1000 per 100 Invitation Sets
Low spend: $250-$500 per 100 Invitation Sets

Online Ordering Options

While we’d love to work with you personally in our shop, we also offer several options to order online. This is a great option if you’re unable to make it into the shop, or prefer to shop at home. Feel free to check them out, and call us if you’ve got questions.