Your wedding invitations are the first impression that your guest will have of your forthcoming wedding and the overall style of the celebration. So when the day comes to announce your wedding to all your friends and family, you will want to make sure it is with impact and style.
From the save the date card or wedding invitation to the wedding breakfast stationery and thank you cards, your wedding stationery sets the scene and tone for your wedding day and stamps your style on the wedding that will leave a lasting impression on all your guests.
SET YOUR BUDGET
Unless you are in a lucky position not to have to consider costs, probably the first decision to make before you start to consider your wedding stationery requirements is to establish your budget. If you are having a large wedding, the cost of wedding stationery can soon mount up. The idea of bespoke wedding invitations may appeal to you but if you are have 200 guests you need to know that you can afford the costs of a bespoke designer! Similarly, you may like the idea of hand crafting your own wedding stationery for that personal touch but be sure that you are up to the challenge of sticking, gluing or printing dozens of invitations when you have dresses to buy, photographers to interview, cakes to choose.
WHAT STATIONERY DO I NEED? MAKE A LIST!
To set a budget it helps to make a list of all the invitations and other stationery that you NEED and then if the budget allows you can consider the additional extras that you can afford to add those stylish extra touches to your wedding. Place names, menus, favour boxes - the list is as long as you wish to make it! Here's our guide to the wedding stationery you may wish to consider:
- Save The Date Cards/Engagement Announcement
- Wedding Day Invitations
- Evening Invitations
- Rsvp Cards
- Information Cards
- Order Of Service
- Order Of The Day
- Guest Books
- Table Seating Plans
- Name Place Cards And Table Numbers/Names
- Favour Boxes
- Cake Boxes
- Thank You Cards
- Photo Albums
- Personal Wedding Wedsites
HOW MANY INVITATIONS AND WHO TO INVITE?
Before ordering your wedding stationery you should be clear about the quantities you will require as some companies, particularly bespoke stationers, may need several weeks or even months notice to produce extra invitations. It could also work out more costly to make additional orders. You should allow one invitation per family or couple.
If you are inviting children, their names should also be included on the wedding invitation. Younger adults above 16 would probably appreciate their own invitation. It is also courteous to send an invitation to the groom's parents, the priest/minister and any guests that you already know cannot make it but would find an invitation thoughtful (perhaps a relative abroad). Always make sure you order some extra invitations in case you make mistakes or have to invite guests on your reserve list. So who should you invite? Here are some points to bear in mind when compiling a guest list -
- What is our budget. How many guests can you cater for within our budget?
- Start your guest list early as it can be a long and complicated job!
- The first guests on your list should be those people who you really care about, close family and friends you see on a weekly basis.
- Then you can consider people who have played an important part in your life in the past.
- Consider if you want to start inviting work colleagues. Do you want to invite them or do you feel under pressure to invite colleagues? Remember, if you invite a couple of colleagues, others may be offended.
- Consider the opinions of those who are contributing financially to the wedding - should they have a say in the guest list?
- Do the bride and groom have similar size families or would it be sensible to invite more guests from one side of the family?
- Do you want to entertain children at the wedding?
CHOOSING THE RIGHT STYLE OF WEDDING STATIONERY
So you have decided the number of guests you are inviting and the wedding stationery items that you will need but how do you choose your stationery and order it? The wedding invitations or save the day cards that you send out will give your wedding guests the first view of the style and feel of your wedding day. It's the first opportunity for you to showcase your big day and let everyone know what is in store.
Your wedding stationery should reflect the style or theme of your wedding as well as the appropriate formality of the day.
Many wedding stationery designers will offer a wide range of styles and colours while others may specialise in one type of invitation style such as letterpress for more formal invitations or handmade invitations for a more luxurious touch. The first thing you need to decide is the formality of the wedding. Formal wedding invitations would general suit a more traditional wedding. Typically, formal wedding invitations are of a classic design using simple, traditional fonts. The wording is often engraved onto high quality cream or white card in black, silver or gold using techniques such as letterpress or thermography, or you could hire a calligrapher to professionally hand write your invitations.
For more informal weddings there are many styles of invitation to consider - contemporary wedding invitations, handmade wedding invitations, printed designs, photo cards, humorous; the list is endless. Certain design studios also offer a bespoke service for brides who have their own ideas about their wedding stationery but who need an individual design service.
Themed weddings are also becoming increasingly popular. The theme may simply be a range of colours that run throughout the wedding and are incorporated into the wedding stationery, bridesmaid dresses, flowers, table decorations, venue decorations and so on. Or you may choose a more structured theme such as a beach theme (sand, seashells, nautical, tropical), nature, floral, seasonal (Christmas, Easter, Summer, Autumn) landmark cities (New York and London are not surprisingly popular themes!), cultural (oriental, South American, Caribbean) musical (Jazz, country) historical (Tudor, medieval). Almost any theme can be adapted and incorporated into your wedding stationery!
Once you have decided which style you are looking for, the quantity and the budget you can afford the next step is approach wedding stationery shops or designers to discuss your requirements, order samples and finalise prices and ordering times. Some companies may offer to send you one or several FREE Samples, others, particularly bespoke studios, may ask for a small fee for sending samples, though this is usually refunded if an order is placed.
Once you have chosen your invitations you should agree a production time with the designer or studio to make sure that you will receive your invitations and the rest of your stationery in plenty of time. Bespoke wedding invitations in particular can take several weeks to complete. During busy periods, such as the beginning of the year, many studios are inundated with orders and you may have to wait up to six weeks for your wedding stationery (though most suppliers will produce invitations first and then complete the rest of the order several weeks before the wedding). If you have left insufficient time to order your wedding stationery you may wish to consider the larger outlets which have many off-the-shelf invitations to choose from.
MAKING YOUR OWN WEDDING STATIONERY
Many brides choose to make their own wedding stationery for budget reasons or simply to add their own personal touches to their wedding stationery. This can be a great way, to get into the spirit of the wedding and add your personal touches. You could make a party of it and invite your bridesmaids to help create! Before you consider the DIY option, you should make sure that you are up to the task. Some designs may appear to be very simple but you may find yourself battling with printers that cannot print on the card you have bought and ribbons that you cannot tie into tidy bows. The whole experience could end up being very stressful and almost as costly as buying your invitations from a professional studio. Remember you may need to buy a paper cutter, adhesives etc., not just the card and embellishments.
Have fun and good luck with your wedding arrangements!
This guide was brought to you by Sam O'Brien, a writer for The Wedding Invitations Shop - the one-stop online resource for bridal couples who want to find all their wedding invitation and wedding stationery needs in one convenient place. It showcases the very best wedding invitation and stationery designers in the UK, as well as offering ideas and advice for brides and grooms to help choose the perfect wedding stationery for your special day! Please visit out site for the complete guide to wedding invitations.