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A wedding invitation is a letter asking the recipient to attend a wedding. It is typically mailed four to six weeks before the wedding date. Wedding invitations may be printed using one of the following methods: engraving, lithography, thermography, letterpress printing and sometimes blind embossing. They can be ordered from an artist, or vendor, specializing in invitations. For the artistically inclined, they can be handmade.
Often, wedding invitations are mailed in double envelopes. The inner envelope may be lined, is not gummed, and fits into the outer envelope. The outer envelope is gummed for sealing and addressing. Tissues are often provided by manufacturers to place over the engraved text, originally this tissue protected the engraving against smudging or blotting, but improved printing techniques mean they are now simply decorative. Traditionally, the mother of the bride addresses the wedding invitations. However, if she chooses not to, the mother of the bride may outsource this responsibility to a professional calligrapher or a friend with good penmanship.
In countries that issue them, the envelope may be franked with love stamps. The United States postal service issues a love stamp each year specifically denominated to cover the double weight of the invitation and reply (a rate slightly less than the cost of two regular stamps).