Most people know the essential elements included in wedding stationery. However, there are several components that often get forgotten or left out. Below are all of the elements that make up your wedding stationery package. Of course, you do not have to incorporate all of these elements into your wedding. It just depends on you and what you are comfortable spending.
Before the Wedding:
- Engagement announcement
- Engagement party invitation
- Save the date – Announces the date and location of your wedding.
- Wedding shower invitation
Announcing the Wedding:
- Invitation – The focal point of your entire stationery package. Aside from the physical invitation, this ensemble should include some, if not all, of the following:
- Reception Card – Necessary if the reception is being held at a location that is different from the ceremony.
- Response set* – Card and stamped envelope that guests fill out and mil back to RSVP.
- Directions/map card – Detailed directions to all wedding-related venues.
- Hotel card – Notes he address, price range and phone numbers for hotels with rooms for guests.
- Activity/itinerary card – Typically sent out if most of your guests will be visiting from out of town.
- Parking arrangement card – Informs guests that parking has been arranged in a nearby garage or parking lot. Can also serve as an admission pass if parking fees have been prepaid.
- Special transportation card – Informs guests of shuttle services to far away or off-the-beaten-path sites.
- Rain card – Notes an alternative venue in case of inclement weather. Appropriate for outdoor ceremonies.
- Within-the-ribbon card – Identifies VIP guests suchs as grandparents to ushers.
- Outer envelope – An addressed and stamped envelope
- Inner envelope* – An unsealed envelope that holds the invitation.
- Calligraphy, printed addresses and reply addresses or address label
- Custom postage
- B-list invitation
- Wedding party itinerary
- Rehearsal dinner invitation
- Post wedding brunch invitation
*Traditional etiquette calls for two large envelopes and a smaller envelope for the reply card. Although, a more modern approach has been taken with this formality. Most couples that I’ve worked with opt out of the inner envelope and, instead of a reply envelope, response postcards are sent out (eliminating the cost of envelopes and reducing the cost of postage).
For the Big Day:
- Welcome basket card/tag
- Program – Notes the names of your wedding party and any readings, songs or prayers in the ceremony.
- Menu – Lists the various courses and dishes served at the reception.
- Favor card/tag
- Escort card – Notes the table assignment for each guest. This is typically located near the entrance of the reception in alphabetical order.
- Place card – Indicates the name of each guest. This is located at their assigned seat.
- Seating chart – Used in place of escort cards.
- Table Numbers
- At-home card – Announces the newlyweds’ new address.
- Thank you notes
You may not realize just how many steps go into organizing and preparing your wedding stationery. From creating your guest list to finalizing all your ceremony and reception details, many things affect your wedding stationery preparations.
There are no absolute deadlines for many of the steps involved in this process. However, there are some approximate time frames that you may find helpful to avoid last-minute rushing.
8 months – 1 year
- Begin working on your guest list so you will know how many wedding invites (and possibly save the dates) to eventually order (one per single adult, couple, family or household invited).
- Contact TEN:THIRTEEN design to begin your custom wedding stationery process.
- If you are planning to mail out save the dates, TEN:THIRTEEN design can create those as well.
- If you will be sending save the dates, place your order.
5 – 6 months
- If you have ordered and received your save the dates, prepare and mail them. If you prefer, I can take care of mailing them for you.
- Select your wedding invitation design and gather all the details that will be printed on them such as date, times, name and address of location(s), etc.
- Determine what stationery extras you will also be ordering. You can refer to the Wedding Stationery Checklist on my website for a complete listing. The more items you can order together, the more you will save by avoiding separate printing costs later.
- If you are including response cards, check with your reception/dinner location to see how far in advance they need your final guest count. This will help you select the reply date that will be printed on the cards (typically 2-3 weeks before wedding). You also need to decide whose address will be printed on the response envelope or postcard (meaning they will receive the replies).
3 – 4 months
- Finalize your wording and place your wedding invite order. Remember to add at least 10 extra or 10% to your order now so you do not run out later.
- Review your guest list to make sure you have current addresses for everyone.
- If you are having TEN:THIRTEEN design create address labels, be sure to email the names and addresses in an Excel spreadsheet. You can request an Excel spreadsheet sample if you are unsure of how to set it up.
- If you would like to have calligraphy done, let me know. I have several go-to calligraphers who do extraordinary work with competitive pricing.
TEN:THIRTEEN design can take care of the following:
- Fold and/or assemble your wedding invitations if necessary.
- Print reply address on the back flap or print and apply labels.
- Purchase and apply postage stamps to the response card envelopes or response postcards.
- Assemble all wedding invitation pieces and insert them into already addressed envelopes.
- Take one fully assembled invitation to the Post Office to have it weighed to determine the correct amount of postage needed.
- Create custom wedding stamps if you choose to use them.
- Purchase your stamps or order custom stamps with appropriate postage amount required for mailing.
6 – 8 weeks
- TEN:THIRTEEN design can also seal the envelopes, apply postage stamps and mail your wedding invitations if you like.
3 – 4 weeks
- If TEN:THIRTEEN design created any other wedding related invitations (rehearsal dinner, post-wedding brunch, etc.), I can prepare and mail them as well.
- Keep track of the response cards as they are returned by checking off their names on your invitation guest list.
- If you would like for me to design your “day of” pieces (programs, table numbers, escort cards, etc.), send all of your details (names, readings, etc.) to me.
2 – 3 weeks
- Contact any guests who did not mail back their response cards.
- Provide final guest count to reception/dinner location.
- If you ordered any “day of” pieces, make sure to get them to the appropriate locations. If you are crunched for time, TEN:THIRTEEN design may be able to do this for you.
After the wedding
- Send personalized thank you notes to your guests.
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