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The Essential Wedding Stationery Guide: Everything You Need to Know

As a wedding planner, we get asked all the time about invitations.  Wedding stationery has a bad rap for being "unimportant", but we couldn't disagree more!  Your wedding stationery is the FIRST thing your guests will see and will set the tone for your entire event.  For example, If you opt for a casual invitation, but are hosting the wedding in a ballroom, you may have guests show up underdressed.  On the flip side, if you send a formal invitation, but opt for a country barn wedding, you may have guests show up in tuxes and long dresses.  The invitation should match the vibe of the wedding, and shouldn't be an afterthought.

colourful wedding invitation

Custom vs Online Ordering

Should I go custom or order from a website like Shutterfly or Minted?  We LOVE a good custom invitation, but that's not in everyone's budget.  They have perfectly good styles to choose from online if hiring a pro calligrapher or stationer is out of the realm of possibility. If you opt for ordering an invitation online, our favorite is Minted They have GORGEOUS designs and use high quality materials.  Plus, you can save all the addresses in their site and use them for future ordering (think Holiday cards).  They will also address the envelopes for you, which is a huge time saver!

Use code WEDPLWHIMSICALV for 25% off invitations and 30% off save the dates! 

Types of wedding stationery

When it comes to wedding stationery, there are several key pieces that are essential for a cohesive and well-planned event. Let's explore each type in detail.

simple wedding invitation

1) Save the Date Cards

Save the date cards are the first glimpse your guests will have of your upcoming wedding. These cards are typically sent out six to eight months before the big day to give your guests ample time to make arrangements. They should include the date, location, and a brief message to let your loved ones know that they are invited to help you celebrate your special day.

When designing your save the date cards, consider incorporating elements that reflect your wedding vibe or personal style. This could include a photo of you and your fiance, a custom illustration, or a unique font that matches your overall aesthetic. Remember to include the wedding website URL if you have one, as this will provide your guests with additional information and keep them updated on any changes or updates.

2) Wedding Invitations

Wedding invitations are the most important piece of stationery in your wedding suite. They set the tone for your wedding, and their design should reflect the overall vibe and style. When choosing your wedding invitations, consider factors such as color scheme, typography, and paper quality.

The wording on your invitations is also crucial. It should be clear, concise, and include all the necessary information. This includes the names of the hosts, your names, the date and time of the ceremony, the location, and any other pertinent details. Be sure to proofread your invitations multiple times to ensure there are no errors or omissions!

3) What Should be Included in the Invitation Suite

You should include an outer envelope addressed to the recipient, an unsealed inner envelope, the ceremony and reception invitation (can be combined as one or separate if the ceremony and reception are in different locations), a response card and a self addressed stamped envelope.

Helpful Tip: When mailing out your wedding invitations, include a numbering system on your reply cards.  Write a number on the inner envelope and have a corresponding journal or note the number wherever you are keeping track of RSVPs. This will save you lots of headaches when you get those cards back with NO NAME.  I know, it sounds silly, but it happens every time.

Invitation Wording

This is going to be highly dependent on the formality of your wedding. Here are some tips:

black and gold wedding stationery

1) Request line:

We request the honor of your presence (formal) or We would be delighted by your presence at the marriage of their children...

2) Bride and Grooms names: 

Separated on different lines

modern wedding stationery

3) Date and time: 

Spell out the time and opt for "in the evening", "in the morning" or "in the afternoon" instead of a.m. or p.m.

4) Location: 

Don't use the physical address, you can include this on your wedding website.  Instead, state the name of the church and venue and include the city and State spelled out and not abbreviated. Example- Station 3, Houston, Texas

5) Reception Line or Card: 

If the ceremony and reception are in the same space, they can be on a single invitation. If the reception is held elsewhere, a separate card might be helpful.

6) Special details: 

If your event won’t include a full meal, it’s courteous to inform your guests. Use phrasing such as “cocktail reception to follow” instead of the classic “reception to follow" 

If you want to stress the importance of the style of dress, place that information in the lower right corner, or on the reception card. The only thing that should not be included anywhere on your invitation, not even as an insert, is your registry information

RSVP Cards

RSVP cards are an essential part of the wedding invitation suite. They allow your guests to respond to your invitation and indicate whether or not they will be attending. The design of your RSVP cards should be coordinated with your invitations to maintain a cohesive look.

When designing the RSVP cards, include a space for guests to write their names, indicate the number of attendees, and choose their meal preferences if applicable. You can also include a self-addressed and stamped envelope to make it easier for your guests to send their responses back to you!

floral wedding stationery

Wedding Programs

Programs are generally in the form of a booklet bound together by ribbon.  They are great for a church wedding and often include the date, ceremony location, bridal party information (and relationship to the bride and groom), the order of events and the titles of readings and songs. Couples may also choose the program to honor deceased loved ones, to thank important people and/or to explain unfamiliar rites of the ceremony. These can be as simple or as elaborate as you wish, depending on your personal style and budget, and should be ordered 6 weeks before the wedding. 

More affordable option: Choose a one pager and include only the bridal party names and order of ceremony or opt for non-traditional and include your love story or favorite poem.

Menu Cards

A menu is great if you are serving a plated dinner. This will inform guests of what they are about to enjoy instead of playing the guessing game! You can also include why you chose a particular dish.  Perhaps you had it on your first date, or it has a cultural significance. These can be displayed individually on each place setting or as a larger menu board for guests to peruse. You can also include any special dietary options or allergen information to ensure everyone's needs are met.

Helpful Tip: If you are serving a buffet and don't want to do a menu card, but would like to have some fun stationery on the table, opt for a fun note from the bride and groom like a heartfelt thank you or a fun game of marriage advice mad libs they can drop somewhere later.

Place Cards and Escort Cards

Place cards tell the guest which chair to sit in whereas escort cards inform the guests of what table they are at.  Place cards are typically used for seated dinners, while escort cards are used for open seating arrangements. Both should be designed with clarity and legibility in mind.

When designing your place cards or escort cards, consider using a font and style that matches your overall wedding theme. You can also get creative with materials, such as using small, personalized trinkets or attaching the cards to unique holders or objects that reflect your personal style.

You will need these if you are serving a plated meal and allowed guests to make a selection.  You will want to order 4-6 weeks out.

Helpful Tip: Instead of writing each guest's table assignment on the escort card itself, slip the card into a small envelope that's tagged with a table number. This way, you give yourself more time to get the escort cards made and can easily swap guests' table assignments up until the last second

wedding thank you card

Thank You Cards

Thank you cards are a thoughtful way to express your gratitude to your guests for attending your wedding and for any gifts they may have given. These cards should be sent out within a few weeks of your wedding to ensure your appreciation is timely.

When designing your thank you cards, consider using a photo from your wedding day or a design that complements your wedding stationery. Include a heartfelt message expressing your gratitude and personalize each card with the guest's name and a specific mention of the gift or their presence at your wedding.

Going Green

Lots of couples are "going green" and doing their entire invitation online or just doing online RSVPS.  This is fine for less formal weddings, however, we do suggest that you still send out formal invitations to your older, more traditional guests and save the informal web version for more hip friends and family.

There you have it, a complete guide to wedding stationery.  I know, it's a lot, but have fun with it!  Couples are opting for less traditional invitations and playing with different papers, textures and colors.  It's your wedding and like I mentioned before, it's the first thing your guests will see.  Make it unique and a part of the story you want to tell. 

Why Early Booking Matters: Insider Tips from Jo's Paper Kitchen

Booking your stationer early is not just a suggestion—it's a savvy move that ensures your wedding vision becomes a reality without a hitch. As Jo's Paper Kitchen wisely advises, while stationers often juggle multiple weddings, securing your spot well in advance guarantees they can dedicate ample time to your project. Trust me, I've been there with the last-minute vendor scramble, and it's not a fun place to be! Aim for that sweet spot of 4-6 months lead time, especially if you've got a sizable order or unique materials in mind. Don't let the fear of being late to the booking game hold you back—there's no shame in planning ahead to make sure your invites are as perfect as can be. So, take a cue from Jo and beat the rush by reaching out early to ensure your stationer can work their magic on your big day.

Alright, ladies and gentlemen, now you’ve got the lowdown on how to jazz up your wedding stationary! These details might be small, but trust us, they’ll leave a lasting impression. Congratulations on finding your lobster! Time to make your wedding stationery dreams a reality!

Click here to check out some stationary designers located right in Texas! 

Happy Planning!


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