Once you’ve started to plan your wedding, you’re going to need to think about wedding stationery! We asked wedding stationery expert, Vaishali Shah, owner of Ananya Cards, to explain everything you need to know about your wedding stationery.
Wedding Stationery: The What
What is the first step?
The first step as soon as you are engaged is to choose a wedding stationery designer – one whose designs you love and who can reflect your own style and personality.
When you have selected your stationer of choice, it’s important when placing your order for invitations to allow for mistakes and last-minute invitees, so add about 10% extra to the order. Ordering the entire suite of stationery at the same time as the invitations is likely to save you on the total cost; you may be able to negotiate with the printer or designer if you are ordering various items such as menus and thank you cards at the same time.
What items of wedding stationery do we need?
In addition to the invitations themselves, save the dates are an excellent way of giving advance notice to your guests as well as providing a first hint of the style and theme of your wedding. As we expect more weddings in 2021 and 2022, given the postponement of 2020 weddings, getting your date known and reserved by friends and family is increasingly important.
Additional useful items of stationery could include RSVP cards, order of service booklets, place cards, menus, table numbers, a seating plan, as well as thank you cards. Think about what your guests may need – you may want to provide directions and a map to make it easy for them to plan.
What information should the invitation include?
Your invitations should have the following information:
- Who the invitation is from – from the parents, the couple, both families, for example
- The names of the couple
- Where the wedding is taking place and its full address
- The date
- The time
- The name or names of the invitee(s). Remove any doubt by clarifying if they can bring a plus one. Are children allowed?
- Any accommodation information, if required
- A map and directions if necessary or helpful to the guests
- Specify if there is a dress code – for example, black tie for a formal wedding or traditional attire for a cultural wedding
- Gift policy – for example, gift list if you are having one, no ‘boxed gifts’ when you want money (usually mentioned at Asian weddings), or money for a honeymoon
- RSVP cards to help your guests reply. Include a request for any dietary requirements or preferred food options if you are offering a choice of menus
- A wedding website, if you are having one
What is the timescale for sending out the invitations?
Sending save the dates is usually done between 6-12 months in advance of the wedding, but this will depend upon the venue and your guestlist. For those deciding to have a destination wedding, you should consider giving the invitees more notice to allow them plenty of time to make the necessary arrangements, for example, booking time off work or arranging childcare.
Invitations are generally sent 2-3 months in advance of the wedding, but it is not a hard and fast rule. Do what suits you and works best for your wedding planning.
Usually, the RSVP responses arrive about 4-6 weeks before the wedding, giving you the final list of guests. Ordering thank you cards at the same time means that once gifts begin arriving, you are ready to send them then or after the honeymoon. Roughly 2 weeks before the wedding is when the seating plan is finalised as there are often last-minute changes.
Between 2- 4 months ahead of the wedding you should discuss your reception stationery with your stationery designer; items such as order of service, menus, place cards, table numbers, signage, etc.
How can we make sure a stationery designer creates the kind of style we love?
A designer with experience in the industry will make it a point to fully understand the type of look and feel of invitation that appeals to you. However, if you have a particular style or theme you love, such as heritage, monochrome, romantic, rustic, classic or botanical, you should let your designer know. Provide examples if you can and look at their website to see if their designs reflect what you are looking for.
How can we make our wedding memorable?
We always say to our Ananya couples that the best source of ideas is them, their stories, and all the things they love and share. You can certainly inject your personality into your stationery and make it memorable. Take a step back and think about what matters to you most.
Suggestions for making your wedding personal and different would be to have unusual stationery items such as ‘words of wisdom’ advice cards for the newlyweds, luggage tags if it’s a destination wedding or coasters for a cocktail reception.
How do we create a sense of overall harmony between the colour scheme of the invitations and other aspects of the wedding?
To achieve an overall harmony in colour and theme between the invitations and other aspects of the wedding, try having floral arrangements and table centres that complement table stationery such as table numbers and place cards. When every piece of stationery is consistent in terms of style and colour palette of the wedding, it succeeds in creating a truly elegant look.
Why are the above steps important?
The above steps are designed to help you have a stress free and seamless wedding. For example, you want to make sure you have the right designer who will be able to match your style, such as a cultural wedding which honours your heritage. You need to make sure of their availability, especially as we predict that 2021 and 2022 will be particularly busy for weddings, as so many have had to be postponed due to the Covid-19 restrictions. So, getting the timeline right will be essential.
It will give you sufficient time to get organised for the different timelines, for example, if your stationery designer needs to get the menu designed by a certain date, then you will make sure to have the food tasting finalised before then. By the time the stationer starts working on the table plan, you would have worked out where guests would be seated. Knowing when RSVPs will be received will have an impact on the stationer.
Being aware of the timelines and dos and don’ts helps with the overall planning and execution, especially as you are bound to get busy close to the wedding. Reducing stress and confusion where all concerned know what is expected and when, makes for a smooth and enjoyable process.
To find out more from Vashaili, be sure to visit the Ananya Cards website.