You put so much thought into your perfect invitation. You found the perfect designer to create them (hopefully us!) and the final product came out beautifully. You picked matching envelopes and have the perfect return address label. You asked the post office for the cutest wedding-themed stamps. But now you actually have to address them.
This is usually where we all get stuck.
Unless you have the budget to hire a calligrapher (or in many cases, only using a calligrapher for the invitations, not the save the date) the only options here are to handwrite each one, print on mailing labels (which many people do), or print directly onto the envelope (which looks much more professional).
We navigated through the tricky process of turning your guest list into printed envelopes. We created this handy step-by-step guide for doing a mail merge from your spreadsheet of guests into envelopes or mailing labels.
Note: I am using Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac so my steps may not align exactly with your version of Word. If you notice any differences, please post helpful tips in the comments!
1. Setup your Excel document
You likely have a typed out list already of your guests and their addresses. Be sure it is formatted in a way that includes the appropriate salutation (e.g. “Mr. & Mrs.”) and has each address line separated out into different columns. (For example, “123 Main Street” should be a separate cell from “New York, NY 10000” so that you can separate them on separate lines later.) So you will likely have these columns:
A) Salutation & Name
B) Address (you can also have an Address 2 column if you have a lot of people with long addresses)
C) City, State Zip
2. Setup your Word document
Open Microsoft Word and create a new blank document. Go to Tools > Mail Merge Manager and from the pop-up window, follow the steps:
Select Document Type: select “Envelope” and set the size. If the preset envelope size isn’t there (e.g. A4, A6), you can add a custom size and enter the envelope measurements yourself. Do NOT change the orientation of the page or it can cause your envelopes to print sideways!
Select Recipient List > Open Data Source. Select your Excel file from your computer. Choose the data range that you want to include (which may just be the tab, if you have multiple tabs) and press OK. Alternatively, you can just include all data.
Placeholder fields will populate based on how you named your header rows, such as <<Name>> <<Address>> Drag each field into your text box and arrange the way you want placed on your envelope. For example, mine looked like this:
You may have to move the text box so it is centered appropriately on the envelope template.
Optional: From there you can do “Filter Recipients” if you want to filter anyone on the list out. (I find it easier to do this first in the original Excel file.)
3. Preview Results.
On step 5 in the Mail Merge wizard, click the <<ABC>> button to preview the names and how they will appear on the envelopes. Click through with the arrows to view several envelopes.
NOTE: You may need to go back to your Excel file to fix typos or spacing on some of the longer names that may run onto multiple lines. Try to preview your longest names on the list. You can edit within the Word document or (if you plan to reuse your Excel document later) edit directly in the Excel file and Save. If you do this, you may have to go back to Step 2 and re-open the “data source” with your saved file.
4. Style the Text
Highlight all of the placeholder text and choose the appropriate font, color, spacing, size and style you want.
On Step 6 of the mail merge tool, choose “Custom” and print only the first few by entering “From 1 to 5”. Click the printer icon “merge to print” on the mail merge tool . Print a few to make sure the alignment looks correct.
Troubleshooting potential issues while printing:
- If it prints blank or off-center … your sizing on your page setup in Word might be off. Double check the page setup is correct and make sure the orientation is defaulted to “portrait”. Test by printing on a blank 8.5×11″ paper first.
- If your envelope prints sideways …. depending on the shape of your envelope, you may have to choose “landscape” layout when printing. We found we had to change this when printing on a square envelope.
- If the text prints on a slant …. your envelope likely got turned when it was fed into the printer. This is likely a one-off issue so try re-printing. If the problem persists you may have to only print a few at a time.