When it comes to wedding stationery, there seems to be a never-ending list of inserts, upgrades, and add-ons to choose from. Often, couples go into wedding planning with the thought that the term “wedding stationery” simply refers to a wedding invitation—and they soon discover that there’s a lot more to it than that. In fact, the list of stationery needs and deciphering which items from the long list of available options you’ll use at your wedding can be downright overwhelming. To aid in the process, here’s a checklist of all things wedding stationery to ensure you have everything you need as far as a paper trail goes for your big day.
Save the Dates
The first stationery item you have to order for your wedding is save the dates. These are sent usually about eight months to a year before your wedding date to ensure that guests keep your date open on their calendar. It doesn’t need to contain much information besides your wedding date and city and state where the event will take place. You could also opt to include your wedding website URL so that guests can check that out while they await the more formal invitation. Save the dates are particularly important for couples having a destination wedding that will involve travel for most of their guests. This gives guests a heads up so they can start making travel plans.
If you’re having a short engagement, you can probably skip save the dates and just go right in for your more formal wedding invitations.
Wedding Invitation Suite
The next stationery item needed is your actual wedding invitation. This will include the main invitation with the bulk of the information on it including the date, the host, the location, and times. With your invitation is also the response card and its coordinating envelope. You should pre-address and stamp this little envelope so guests can easily return the response card to you. Another item commonly included in an invitation suite is an “additional information” card. This will have information on hotel accommodations, directions to any part of your event, information about additional events associated with your wedding such as a welcome party or after-party, and transportation information.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to have all of these different stationery pieces in your suite—how in-depth yours is remains up to you! For instance, you could have guests RSVP online, which would negate the need for a response card. If you want to cut down on invitation costs, you can also put a smaller additional information card in the suite that directs guests to visit your wedding website, where they can easily read all of the necessary information you want to provide.
Rehearsal Dinner Invitations
If you’re having a rehearsal dinner or welcome party, you may want to consider sending a separate invite for this. If all of your guests are invited to this extra event, you could include that information in your wedding invitation suite. However, if only select guests are invited, it’s wise to send out a separate invite. Keep in mind that this can be an informal invitation and doesn’t have to match your invitation suite. You could also opt to send this as an e-vite if that’s easier or more pleasing to you.
Wedding Ceremony Program
Another item to check off your stationery list for the big day is a ceremony program. These usually include the order of the ceremony, list any readings or hymns that will be included, and list of important members of the wedding party and families of the bride and groom. Programs typically also highlight the order of the wedding processional as well as the officiant. A wedding program also presents a perfect chance to add in a special note from the couple to their wedding guests, a favorite love quote or passage, and an “in memorial” of deceased loved ones of the bride and groom. Wedding programs can be as simple or as luxe as you want, so feel free to tailor yours to your tastes and budget.
Escort or Place Cards
Another important stationery need for your wedding is escort or place cards so that your guests can be best directed as to where they are sitting at the reception. If you have open seating, obviously this is not a necessity. However, if guests have assigned tables or seats, you’ll need to make sure that this is on your list. Just like everything else on this checklist, escort or place cards can be as simple or as fancy as you want. They can be typed or handwritten. This is an area of your stationery that can be really unique and personalized to your event, so feel free to have fun with these!
Reception menus are another item to consider for your wedding stationery needs. These aren’t a complete necessity, but are definitely a nice touch and can surely add to the look of your reception tables. If you don’t want to splurge on these, check with your venue to see if they are willing to provide simple, printed menus of the offerings. If your guests chose their meal ahead of time, then you don’t need these and if you are doing a buffet or stations, you can also skip menus.
Thank You Cards
The final piece of your wedding stationery puzzle is thank you cards. These are a must-have, as it’s important to acknowledge the presence and contributions of your guests after the day has passed. These can match your invitation suite or can feature a totally new design. As long as you send handwritten thank you notes on some kind of stationery, you’re in the clear.
While this list may seem like quite a bit of paper needs, it’s important to at least consider all of these items as you plan your big day!