A Rundown on All of Your Essential Wedding Stationery Needs
If you’re still buzzing from your engagement high, there’s a good chance you have not given your wedding stationery a great deal of thought yet. sure, you know the invitations will have to go out at some point. But that should be easy enough – after all, your guests just need to know the when and where of your Big Day, right? If only it were that simple. Believe it or not, there’s more to wedding stationery than just slapping some information on your save-the-dates.
It’s time to demystify this crucial component of your wedding planning so that you are set up for success from the moment you put your first stamp on your save-the-dates until you sign the last of your thank-you notes.
What’s the Big Deal?
Why put so much time and effort into your wedding stationery? For starters, it’s a precious memento you’re likely to keep for the rest of your married life. It is usually the first major completed milestone in your planning process, as well as one of the last remaining souvenirs after the dust from your wedding finally settles. You want your invitations to be a true reflection of your personalities as well as set the tone of your wedding celebration.
Your invitation suite is the very first element of your wedding that your guests will experience. You want to make a good impression. From the moment they open the envelope, your guests will already be forming ideas about what your wedding will be like. In other words, your guests will take a lot of their cues from the kind of stationery you send them. Stylized script with a sophisticated flourish? They are bound to think formal. Distressed paper with floral prints and twine? Probably going to guess shabby chic. Your stationery can help clue your guests in about what they should wear, or even their gift choice. Let the colors and themes of your wedding help guide your design.
Invitations By the Numbers.
Start thinking about how big your guest list is going to be to get an idea of how much stationery you will realistically need. But remember, the number of invites you send out is not equal to the number on your guest list. You will probably have a great deal of families and couples that only need one invitation per household.
Keep in mind, it’s a good idea to have at least five to ten extra invitations on standby. You never know when you might wake up one night in a cold sweat with the sinking realization that you completely forgot to invite dear Aunt Martha up in Minnesota. If such an occasion arises, those extra invitations will be a lifesaver. But apart from any last-minute stragglers, you will also want to make sure you have a few copies of your stationery suite to save for yourself. When your wedding day finally arrives, don’t forget to grab one to be photographed at your venue!
Tackling the Timeline.
While you might be chomping at the bit to get your stationery suite underway, you’re probably wondering when exactly you should get the ball rolling. Traditionally, save-the-dates are sent out eight to twelve months before the wedding date. Invitations are typically mailed about eight to ten weeks before the wedding – but this is not a hard and fast rule. Consult your vendors to see when they will need a final headcount, and then tack on a few extra weeks to give yourself some leeway. As much as we would all love for people to RSVP on time, chances are you’ll have to do some last-minute following up with some of your less punctual guests. When you finally send out your invitations, consider any holidays that might slow down delivery. You might have to bump back your mail-out date to make sure your invitations arrive on time. The same applies to guests who live abroad.
The shining star of your wedding stationery, the invitation suite is a package that includes the design of your invitation as well as all of the little details that make them uniquely beautiful (every tie, every ribbon, and every stroke of the fountain pen). Your invitation suite includes an outer envelope, many times an unsealed inner envelope, the invitation, a details card, a response card, and a response card envelope. Additional materials like printed maps, menu cards, and hotel information can also be included in your suite. It can be a bit overwhelming, so let’s break down the basics.
• Envelope – Use an outer and inner envelope to identify the invited guests. • Invitation – Indicate the who, what, when, and where of your Big Day. • Details Card – Include your accommodation information, wedding website, and additional guest information. Split into multiple cards, if needed. • Response Card – Give guests a way to RSVP to your wedding. It can also be used to gather dinner selections and the number of guests attending from each household. • Response Card Envelope – Include postage for guests and host’s address on the envelope. You want to make sure your guests can reply to your Big Day as easy as possible.
Once you’ve got your invitation suite ready to drop in the mail, there are a few other elements you will want to think about to round out your wedding stationery. These elements include your ceremony programs, table cards, seating chart, menus, favor tags, as well as your thank-you notes. Work with your stationer to keep your overall look and design consistent throughout your Big Day.
Don’t Forget the Thank-Yous.
Although it may seem like a tedious task, it’s incredibly important to send a thank-you note to all of your guests no more than three months after your celebration. These should be personalized, handwritten notes to show your love and appreciation for everyone who made your wedding such a special event. Take this time to thank everyone individually not only for their kind gifts, but also for all the amazing memories they helped you make.
Hand-writing every single thank-you note may sound like an endless endeavor, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Try carving out a time each week after your wedding when you can get a handful of them completed. Writing them in increments will be much easier than trying to get them done in one fell swoop. You might even turn an otherwise dull job into a sweet activity to do with your new spouse over Saturday morning coffee.
While there is a lot involved in creating your wedding stationery, the process doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Find a professional stationer who can give you the customized invitation suite you envisioned. He or she will guide you through the process from concept to delivery. Set yourself up for success by getting a head start, take things one step at a time, and you’ll be sure to get your guests’ seal of approval.