All the Stationery You’ll Need for Your Wedding
One early step you’ll take in the wedding planning process involves picking your wedding invitation suites with a stationer so you can properly announce your pending nuptials to all your loved ones. But there’s a lot that goes into the invitation suite and there are plenty of other items you may consider adding on, so wedding stationery can become confusing and stressful. To help break it down, we got with Holly, designer, calligrapher, and writer from Sablewood Paper Company.
A Complete List of Wedding Stationery
Holly notes right away what you are likely already quickly learning — the list of wedding stationery is long! “A lot of couples I speak with don’t really know how many options there are available to them. There are definitely some pieces that are 100% necessary, while others are more of an extra or fun item.”
Essential Wedding Stationery
Save the Dates
Holly explains, save the dates are mailed out 12-18 months prior to the wedding day to give guests plenty of notice about the wedding date. “Ideally, you would work with a stationer to develop a wedding ‘brand’ that would be carried out through the wedding from save the dates, to invitations, to day-of-goods — that way, your guests have a cohesive feel for your big day and it feels put together, thoughtful, and intentional.”
“An invitation suite typically consists of an invitation, reply card + pre-stamped envelope, details card, and mailing envelope. This is THE most important part of your wedding paper goods, as it lets guests know all of the details about your wedding: when, where, accommodations, how they can let you know if they’re coming, weekend activities, and so much more. I recommend mailing invitations between 10-12 weeks from your wedding (if you already sent save the dates) and 15-18 weeks from your wedding (if you didn’t send save the dates). Working with a custom stationer (like me!), you’ll need to get in touch at least 6-8 months before you want to mail your invitations to get on schedule.”
Wedding Day Goods
This is an area where you want to make sure you are being communicative with your stationer, you’ll want to talk to them about all the ideas you have for your day-of pieces ideas while you’re discussing invitations, Holly reminds us. “Chances are, you can finalize everything down the road a bit, but sometimes certain pieces (like large-scale installations) require extra time. The sooner you know what you need, the better!”
Wedding signage is a tried and true element for many weddings, but in recent years, we know (and Holly confirms), welcome signs in particular have become more fun! She says, “Welcome signs are a signal to guests that they’re in the right place for your wedding, but also allow you to set the tone of your wedding even further.”
Seating Chart or Escort Cards
According to Holly, with seating charts of escort cards, this is where you’ll want to choose your own adventure! “Either of these do the same job: letting your guests know what table they’ll be sitting at during your wedding reception.”
Pro tip from Holly: “If you’re having more than 30 guests at your wedding, please organize your guests alphabetically by last name to alleviate the bottleneck effect of guests searching for their names and speed up the ceremony-to-reception process. Your wedding planner/venue coordinator, caterer, DJ, and other vendors will thank you for keeping everyone on time!”
Used in conjunction with a seating chart or escort cards, place cards can be very effective. “If you are having a plated meal (meaning guests have pre-selected their meals prior to the wedding day) or want to assign seats, place cards are a necessity. There is no other way to direct guests to their seats as quickly or efficiently,” Holly explains.
“Menus are also a necessity! Whether your guests have pre-selected their entrée for a plated meal or there will be a buffet, it’s important to let your guests know the details about what they will be served for dinner.”
According to Holly, bar signs can be personal and functional. She explains, “Chances are you’ll be having an open bar, a limited bar, or a cash bar at your wedding, so cut out the time guests spend asking what liquor or wine is available by serving up a bar sign! I love when couples add fun touches to these, like pet illustrations or drink illustrations. Any extra personalization you can add makes your wedding stand out from the crowd!”
Signature Drinks Sign
“This is a play on the bar sign above: instead of listing every liquor, wine, or beer you have, recommend your favorite (read: Signature) cocktails to your guests! Designate one for each of you, appealing to different types of guests. I highly recommend a more fun, fruity drink along with a bold, traditional drink for guests to choose from.”
“Another must-have are table numbers. How will guests know where they’re sitting if you don’t designate them? Traditional table numbers are easiest for guests to read quickly, but I also love seeing fun ideas like your favorite cities you’ve visited together, photos of you both growing up, etc.” As Holly points out, there are plenty of ways to make this necessary item personal or aligned with your theme for continuity.
One item you might not have thought about are vow books. “If you’re writing your own vows, ditch the folded up notebook or computer paper and get yourself some vow books,” Holly suggests. “Not only do these look WAY better in your wedding photos, but they’re pocket-sized for easy storage and they double as one of the few parts of your wedding day that you can treasure as a keepsake.”
Wedding Stationery that are Fun Extras
Custom Illustrated Cocktail Napkins
More opportunities for personal touches lie with the cocktail napkins — another paper good. Holly’s tip: “Add an illustration of your pet, a signature drink, or fun facts about you as a couple here for some fun! I recommend ordering cocktail napkins early (these can take 2-3 weeks to produce) and work directly with a stationer for the best results. Have fun with colors and make these statement pieces pop!”
Fear your guests getting lost or turned around? If so, directional signage would be an important element to add. “Don’t assume guests will know where they’re going at all times, or where they should be at a certain time. Commission a ‘Schedule of Events’ if you’re having a full-day fête, add signage directing guests to the lawn area for games, and don’t forget the restroom direction signage!” Holly says.
Large-Scale Seating Chart
Consider large-scale seating charts a notch above a seating chart; they add a certain W-O-W factor to the day. If you’d looking for one way to achieve this, Holly suggests, making it more “interactive or meaningful with a large-scale installation — think a giant wall instead of a sign on an easel! These can get pricey when you add in the labor, set-up and tear-down, so make sure your budget can stretch to accommodate this upgrade.”
Photos courtesy of Sablewood Paper Company
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