A GUIDE TO FABULOUS, STRESS-FREE WEDDING STATIONERY
Invitations are such an important part of your wedding day. Besides containing some pretty pertinent information, your invitation sets the tone for your entire day - it signals the formality and style of your event, reflects the personalities of you as a couple and has the potential to fill your guests with anticipation and excitement. When it comes to ordering your invitations there are so many variables that the process may seem a little overwhelming. So before you jump in head first, we’ve compiled a list of things to keep in mind to ensure you leave a fabulous paper trail without losing your sanity.
GIVE YOURSELF A HEAD START
Like anything with wedding planning, it’s never too early to start. You should place your order 5-6 months prior to your wedding or 10-12 months if you want to send Save the Dates first or are planning a destination wedding. Invitations are typically sent 6-8 weeks prior to the wedding so allow yourself and your designer plenty of time to explore all the options - this is not the place to be making a last minute decision.
CRUNCH THOSE NUMBERS
The cost of your invitations is going to depend on a handful of variables - complexity of design, quantity needed, method of printing, choice of paper and how many pieces you require. When formulating your spreadsheet you will need to consider the elements that are of utmost importance to you. When it comes time to ordering your invitations be upfront about your budget but also be informed, knowing how your choices will affect the price will ensure you get the best possible outcome within your price range.
THE A LIST
The number of invitations you will need won’t be the same as the number of guests. For example, you only need to send one invitation per household, or couple. So once you’ve compiled your nearest and dearest into a neatly ordered list, work out who you can group together and finalise your numbers.
CONFIRM YOUR DETAILS
In addition to your wedding date, you’ll also need to check with your venue to determine when they’ll need a final head count. This will help determine your RSVP date. You will also need to know what time your ceremony and your reception will start and the location of both.
PENCIL IT IN
Sending out a Save-the-Date can help generate excitement and take a bit of the pressure off. Not only are people busier and more distracted than ever before, guests can be scattered all over the country or even the world. By sending out your Save the Date 6-12 months prior to your wedding, you can relax knowing your guests now have the most important piece of information and are just waiting for the full details.
DEFINE YOUR STYLE
Are you aiming for a glamorous black-tie soiree, a chic garden affair or a DIY backyard bash? Will it be traditional, romantic, extravagant, minimalist, sophisticated, elegant, fun, and casual or a mix? Knowing your wedding style will make narrowing down your options easier as your invitations should reflect the type of event you’re planning. Draw inspiration from your style to create a colour scheme reflective of the overall mood you wish to create.
A WAY WITH WORDS
The rules and etiquette guidelines that govern how you ‘should’ word your invitation are numerous, often arcane and sometimes contradictory, leaving even the savviest of wordsmiths perplexed. These guidelines can prove useful if you’re having a super formal soiree, but if all that old-fashioned formal speak makes you want to vomit, then don’t stress, the rules have mellowed and these days there is no reason your invitations can’t be as personable and as down-to-earth as your relationship. As long as what you’ve written makes sense, feels right, and isn’t going to offend - you can’t go wrong!
COORDINATING ITEMS AND ADDITIONAL INSERTS
An invitation is more than just the who, what, where and why of your day. You may need to include information such as RSVP cards, accommodation suggestions, transport information or directions. Coordinating these with your main invitation is beautiful way to inform your guests.
BE ORIGINAL. BE CREATIVE
Wedding invitations are a chance to show off your personality so think outside the box and have some fun with it. Don’t just do something because it’s typical, do it because it’s not! Be inspired by the plethora of amazing stationery out there, but make sure you’re not plagiarising someone else’s work.
LEARN THE LINGO
Letterpress, embossing, engraving, laser cutting, thermography, offset and digital - your invitation can be printed in more ways than you probably thought possible and it is important to understand your options because this is usually where budget and turn-around time become significant issues. Doing a little research will help you choose a style that will contribute to the overall feeling you wish to create, one that fits best within your budget and one that makes the most sense to achieve the look you’re after.
As a general rule, order 10 – 15% additional invitations on top of your final quantity. Guest lists have away of creeping up, often suddenly and at the last minute and the cost of ordering more as part of your initial order is far less than the cost of ordering a small number at a later date, especially if you’re using specialty printing techniques. Similarly always allow for more envelopes than you will need to allow for errors in addressing.
I BEFORE E, EXCEPT AFTER C
I cannot stress this enough - proofread your invitation. Typos are not only traumatic for both designer and bride they can also be costly. So check, double-check, then check again. Then get your fiancé/mum/friend/neighbour to check again. No one knows the details of your wedding or how to spell your fiancés name more intimately than you do so it’s your responsibility to make sure everything is correct.
Before you buy stamps, take a finished, fully assembled invitation to your post office and have it weighed and checked for size to determine your postage cost. Supplying insufficient postage can mean your invite may be returned to sender or worse, your guests can end up footing the bill for the missing postage in order to collect their invite.
PUSH THE ENVELOPE!
A lot of people don’t give envelopes a first thought, let alone a second thought, but there is no excuse for ugly envelopes. All that time and effort has been spent on beautifully designed invitations, why shouldn’t your envelopes be pretty too? There are so many creative ways to give your envelopes the attention they deserve – envelope liners, custom return address stamps, calligraphy, personalised postage stamps or something as simple as some carefully placed washi tape.
SIGNED, SEALED, DELIVERED
Now that you have taken our advice above and you have beautiful envelopes, don’t just drop them in the post box and leave them to the wrath of the postman. Take your invitations to the post-office and ask the clerk to hand-cancel them and put them into the post for you. This will ensure nothing is bent, torn or soiled and your envelopes will remain lovely and pristine.
THE FINISHING TOUCHES
‘Day of’ wedding stationery provides the perfect opportunity to infuse your wedding decor with little details that pair with your invitations to pull your look together beautifully. ‘Day of’ items can include menus, programs, place cards, favour tags, thank you cards and even signage - the options are endless. These items are usually completed about 2 months out from the wedding when all your details have been finalised but should be taken into consideration right from your budgeting stage.
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