If you are eloping or only inviting a very limited number of people to your wedding, you may not need any or all of the stationery options that are available. However, for most weddings there are many items that need to be considered. Today, with save-the-dates, invitations, response cards, escort cards, and thank you notes, along with other printed material to choose from, making decisions can seem like an overwhelming task. If budget is a concern, choose what is most important to have printed professionally and what can be handled personally.
The following are tips to consider when selecting your wedding stationery:
- Save-the-dates are becoming quite common. This is one item that can be a do-it-yourself project and is a place for the budget-conscious to save some money. As this is the first printed information guests will see, it is nice to keep it in the same color scheme, theme, or destination as the wedding itself. Whether having them done or doing them yourself, ideas are abundant on the Internet. Save-the-dates are sent anywhere from 4-6 months in advance.
- The formal invitation is the most important of all the wedding stationery as it sets the tone for the event. Everything that follows should continue in the same theme as the invitation. Included with the invitation will be the outer envelope, the unsealed inner envelope, the response card with an addressed and stamped envelope, and possibly a reception card if the reception is to be held elsewhere. Maps and information on hotels may also be included. Invitations are sent 6-8 weeks prior to the date – 10 weeks for guests coming from abroad.
- The response card is next in importance after the invitation. This card is filled out and returned by the addressee, letting you know who they are and if they will be attending. It is a good idea to put a light pencil number on the back of the response card that coordinates with the guest list. This makes it easier to keep up with who has responded – especially if they forget to write in their name. The response card may also contain the guest’s choice for their main course if that is an option. There should also be a “please respond by” date. This number is key information to have for catering, rental, seating, favors, and printing of other materials.
- A ceremony program is another item you may choose to do yourself. If marrying in a church, you should check to make sure if there are specific guidelines you need to follow before proceeding. For other venues, be creative while staying with your theme.
- Escort cards let your guests know at which table they will be seated. If you are not having assigned seating, you will not need escort cards. Here again, you may choose to make your own. You may find creative ways to display them that will show your guests you thought of every little detail.
- As wedding gifts begin to arrive, you will need to have thank you notes at the ready. You may choose to have personalized notes or buy them pre-made.
Before you start looking for your wedding stationery, determine the type of wedding you will be having – themed, destination, formal, casual, etc. – as well as your paper needs, and strive for consistency throughout. Be mindful of what you have budgeted. Meet early with vendors and give yourself plenty of time to proof, order, and address.