Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Phone:  (703) 424-5796   Email:  info@action-invitations.com
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When to Use Save-the-Dates

Save-the-Dates are printed announcements used to inform prospective guests of an event in advance, to ensure that they reserve time to attend your function. Save-the-dates are typically sent for destination functions (for example, "let's all meet in Hawaii to see Brad and Janet get married," or "come to Ethan's Bar Mitzvah in Jerusalem next year"). They are also used when planning functions that take place on a holiday or on a three-day weekend. Since invitations are typically sent six to eight weeks in advance, the idea is to give prospective guests more notice of your impending happy occasion. When you send a save-the date, your guests have more time to arrange for hotel accommodations or make arrangements in advance for childcare, elder care, pet sitting, time off of work, etc.

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Who Receives an Invitation

Adults of majority age typically receive invitations. Married couples receive a single invitation, which includes children who live in their household (if welcome); childrenās names are traditionally included only on the inner envelope. If you do not want the children of invited guests to attend, etiquette requires you address this verbally with your guests. You may choose to honor younger guests with their own invitations.

Traditionally, dates of single, committed guests are sent separate invitations. You may wish to enclose a personal note in the invitation of a single guest inviting them to "Please bring an escort" or "Please bring Miss Penny Poundwise."

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When Reception Cards are Required

Reception cards are optional in some cases, and required in others. They have become traditional, but are only required  when some guests are invited only to the ceremony, and others are invited to attend both the ceremony and  the reception. In such cases, only guests welcome to the reception should receive a reception card.

In situations where all guests are invited to both the ceremony and reception, it is equally proper to put the reception information on the wedding invitation (for example, "Reception immediately following at Joe's Steaks of London."

If you have a good deal of information to communicate about the reception, a separate reception card is logical. You can indicate the time, place, and perhaps provide information about what food is expected to be served.

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When To Send Invitations

Your guests may need to make travel arrangements, arrange for time off of work, establish alternate arrangements for family members or pets not traveling, etc.

You should plan to send the invitations eight (8) weeks in advance of the event, and ask for a response three (3) weeks before. If you are short of time, at minimum, send your invitations six (6) weeks in advance, and ask for a response two (2) weeks prior to the event.

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When To Order Invitations

Prepare to give yourself time to address your envelopes and still be able to send them out eight weeks in advance. If addressing them yourself, allow for two to three weeks for addressing.

If you plan to use our envelope addressing service (available for most invitations), you need to have your full address list loaded, and then allow five working days. You may put in your order while setting up your address list, but be sure to note that you are using the addressing service so the finished order is not shipped to you before the envelopes are addressed.

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How to Order Invitations, Stationery, or Accessories

There are three ways to order products from Action Invitations.

  1. Phone or Email. The first way is to contact us with questions, or to provide us the specific item numbers you are interested in. We can answer any questions, and can arrange your purchase over the phone or through email.
  2. In-Person. If you are in the Washington, DC metropolitan region (Northern Virginia, parts of Maryland, and the District of Columbia), we may be able to set up an in-person consultation, during which we can show you the actual albums or products, and fill out an order in person. (We have limited availability so please contact us to see if we can arrange a meeting.)
  3. Shop and Pay Online. The majority of the products that we offer are also viewable online. We carry several leading lines of social invitations, business announcements, stationery, and event accessories. Many of these have separate web sites from which you can view and order online using secure servers. More more information, see our online catalog page.

If you have any questions or concerns, don't hesitate to let us know.

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Traditional Use of Tissue Paper

A translucent white rectangle of tissue paper is traditionally placed in between the invitation and the other enclosures in an invitation ensemble. Originally, event invitations were hand-engraved. The purpose of including tissue was to prevent the oily, slow-drying ink from smudging onto the other pieces. In modern times, smudging is unlikely; but the tradition of including tissue persists. Tissue paper is optional and is often used for formal affairs.

Tissue paper is usually not included with your order. If you'd like to include tissue as a formal touch, let us know and we will order it. It is very inexpensive (typically only a few dollars for a set of 100).

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How to Assemble Invitations

Invitations, announcements, respond cards and reception cards are typically shipped flat. Many of these need to be folded along a scored edge and assembled in a particular order. If there is printing on only one side, that side faces out and is the top when folded.

Traditional order is as follows: (1) invitation, (2) tissue (optional), (3) stamped, addressed response envelope (flap forward), (4) response card (facing up and tucked under flap of its envelope), (5) reception card, (6) optional items in size order, such as direction cards, accomodations information, etc. For detailed assembly information, see Assembling Your Invitations.

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Invitations that Require Multiple Folds

If your invitations contain multiple folds, then enclosures are ordered as outlined in our Assembling Your Invitations FAQ above, or as described and shown in detail in the Assembling Your Printed Invitations section of our web site. Then, simply slip them into the inner envelope (if you are using one) and place them inside the fold.

  • If your multi-fold invitation opens left and right, slip the enclosures under the left side.
  • If your multi-fold invitation opens top and bottom, slip the enclosures under the top fold.

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Invitation Folders with a Cover and an Inside Message

If your invitation is a single-fold card with a cover, and most of the invitation information is printed on the inside, then assemble your enclosures (as outlined in the Assembling Your Invitations FAQ above, or as described and shown in detail in the Assembling Your Printed Invitations section of our web site). Then, place the inserts inside the fold, and put the entire set into the outer envelope.

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Envelopes Required for an Invitation Ensemble

Traditionally, two large envelopes are used for each event invitation - an inner envelope, and an outer envelope. These are described in more detail below.

If your invitations ensemble includes a response card that requests the invitee to respond, then a smaller envelope (sized to fit the returned card) is also required. (For more information, see RSVP.) Printed response envelopes are included when you order a response card.

  1. The inner envelope (plain, or containing a colored liner) is not gummed or sealed. This envelope should contain the invitation and all accompanying pieces (response card, reception card, optional directions or hotel information cards, etc.). Inner envelopes are not required in all cases but are traditional. Unprinted plain inner envelopes are included free with every invitations order. If you wish to have lined inner envelopes or printed inner envelopes, additional costs apply.

  2. The outer envelope has a gummed flap. After the inner envelope is placed in the outer envelope, this outer envelope is sealed, and should contain a full return address on the flap (either written in ink, imprinted, or embossed). The front of the envelope should contain the full hand-written postal address of each guest, as indicated below.

  3. The response card envelope is smaller in size than an inner or outer envelope, to fit the response card. If your invitation ensemble includes a response card, and if that respond card requests that the invited guest RSVP, then a response card envelope is required. (For more information, see RSVP.) The postal address of the event host or organizer is traditionally printed on the front of the response card. No return address is pre-printed on this envelope (each response envelope will originate from a different address). Before the response card is assembled with the invitation and mailed to the invited guest, the planner must affix proper postage. (See Mailing Your Invitations for more information.) Printed response envelopes are typically included in the price when you order a response card. Colored ink is extra.

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Inner Envelopes - Optional, Traditional

Although it is traditional to include two large envelopes for an invitations ensemble - an inner envelope, and an outer envelope - the inner envelopes are not required.

Most sets of invitations include, free, a set of inner envelopes (unprinted and without liners). These are traditionally hand-addressed to your guests on the front of the inner envelope (the side opposite the flap). Addressing criteria for inner envelopes is different than for outer envelopes.

The inner envelope typically contains all other items, in a specific order (as outlined in our Assembling Your Invitations FAQ above, or as described and shown in detail in the Assembling Your Printed Invitations section of our web site.) The inner envelope is not gummed or sealed.

Optionally, you can purchase inner envelopes with colored liners for the inside of the envelopes. These liners typically match the ink color or theme colors of the invitations ensemble. They provide an elegant look for a formal occasion.

If ordering from our Carlson Craft Social invitation lines, you can also purchase an optional service to address your inner envelopes. For more information, see our section on Addressing Online.

If ordering from our Birchcraft invitation lines, you can also purchase an optional service to address your inner envelopes. For more information, see our section on Birchcraft Studios Custom Addressing.

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Printing of Return Addresses on Envelopes

Response Card Envelopes - Printing an address on the front of envelopes for the response card is free with purchase of the response card, in flat black ink. There is an additional ink color charge of $7 to print this address in colored ink. All envelope printing uses flat ink.

Invitation Outer Envelopes - Unprinted outer envelopes are included free with purchase of your invitations. There is an additional charge for printing return addresses on the back flap of the outer envelope. Prices differ for black or colored ink. All envelope printing uses flat ink.

Invitation Inner Envelopes - Unprinted, unlined inner envelopes are included free with purchase of your invitations, when appropriate. Nothing is printed on the flap of inner envelopes.

Lined inner envelopes are optional upgrades. Also, if ordering from our Carlson Craft Social or Birchcraft invitation lines, you can purchase an optional service to address your inner envelopes. For more information, see Online Addressing topic below. All envelope printing uses flat ink.

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Online Envelope Addressing Services (CarlsonCraft and Birchcraft Only)

If ordering invitations from Carlson Craft Social, you can purchase an optional service to address your inner envelopes called Addressing Online.com. You will need to create an account (or log in if you already have one), and type in your information in a list. When you are finished entering the list, you can view it as a web page, or export the list to an Excel spreadsheet. After you have fully reviewed your list to ensure no errors, you approve the list by submitting it for printing.

If ordering social inivtations from the Birchcraft line, you can purchase Birchcraft Studios Custom Addressing. This uses an Excel template that you download and complete with the addresses you want printed; when done, you email us the template, and we coordinate with Birchcraft to have your envelopes addressed when your order is placed.

For more information, see Birchcraft Studios Custom Addressing.


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What Does R.S.V.P. Mean, Anyway?

The term R.S.V.P. is an acronym of the French expression "répondez s'il vous plaît", which translates to "please respond". The term RSVP (with or without periods following each letter) is traditionally used as both a noun (essentially meaning the same thing as "response"), and as a verb ("Please RSVP", or "I got Fran's invitation, but I did not RSVP yet."

From an event perspective, when guests are asked to RSVP, this is a formal request to respond to the event host or organizer, regardless of whether you will be able to attend. Typically, the event organizers require a headcount of attendees, and it is considered inconsiderate or even rude if you fail to respond. Good etiquette requires that invited guests respond promptly - as soon as a firm answer can be provided, and in all cases before any date indicated on a response card.

Typically, an invitation ensemble includes a response card, and a prepaid envelope addressed to the host or organizer. Sometimes a response card includes a place to indicate whether you will attend, and the number of guests. In other cases, only your assent (if you can come) or your regrets (if you cannot attend) are requested. Finally, if a response card carries a notation indicating "regrets only," this means that the host or organizer assumes that you will be able to attend, and only requests a response if you will not be able to come. (In such instances, be considerate, and make your best attempt to be present unless you send your regrets. It is likely that the place reserved for you involved expense incurred by the host, whether or not you appear.)

Feel free to call on the telephone to provide a quick answer, but it is always best to mail back a response card with your RSVP. Not only is it common courtesy; strict etiquette requires a written reply to a written invitation.

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