Choosing your wedding stationery can be either a fun or daunting task depending on who you ask. Here at Story Amour, we think it’s one of the key design elements that sets the tone for the entire wedding. So it’s important to get it right!
If you’re sitting there thinking what stationery do I need? You’re in luck! We’ve created a wedding stationary checklist just for you. We’ll cover all the pieces you need before, during, and after the wedding in our comprehensive and detailed list.
In our 10 years of experience photographing weddings, we always love seeing what couples have chosen. The wedding stationery is a great way to bring out the personality of the couple and always makes for nice vignettes to photograph.
Whilst in our opinion, there are a few must have stationery items on our list, such as save the dates, invites, and thank you cards there are also items that are purely suggestions. These are stationery items that we’ve seen over the years and think work really well.
However, we know that each wedding is individual and budgets and priorities vary. Use our checklist as a guide and pick and choose the items relevant to you.
Grab a pen and let’s start ticking that checklist!
What is Wedding Stationery?
Simply put wedding stationery usually refers to any paper based print materials at your wedding. Think of things like invites, menus, table plans, etc.
Wedding stationery is a bit like the wedding signs we’ve covered in a previous article. However, the difference is that wedding stationery is usually a little more detailed. It tends to be small with quite a lot of text. It can give your guests more information about your wedding and what’s expected of them.
However, not only is it practical but it can also determine the style of your wedding. Having an outdoor wedding? Then some terracotta colored menus might work perfectly. Or are you having a ballroom style shindig? Well perhaps black and white with gold accents would be more suitable.
What we’re saying is that the stationery can tie the whole wedding together. So don’t underestimate its importance. You can decide on your theme first and then tie in your stationery choice. Or your stationery choices can dictate the theme of the wedding. Ultimately it’s your decision.
The Ultimate Wedding Stationery Checklist
This is our list of stationery ideas for your consideration. Like we’ve said we’ve been to thousands of weddings over the years so know the importance of wedding stationery. We understand that not every piece on this list will be relevant to you. However, we hope the checklist provides you with some inspiration for your big day.
Engagement Party Invites
So you’ve just got engaged! Whoop Whoop! Congratulations. It’s now time to start planning your engagement party.
Once you’ve decided on your guest list it’s then your chance to send gorgeous invites to your nearest and dearest.
Not everyone has an engagement party but for those who do it’s a great chance to start looking at the world of invites. Who knows it might inform your decision for your wedding day stationery as well.
Save the Dates
Another great opportunity to play around with the style before you decide on those main invites.
Once you’ve set the date for your big day it’s time to let people know who you’re thinking of inviting. This is usually a very short message saying something like “Save the date. The marriage of Jon and Carly will take place on 07.08.24. Formal invitation to follow”
We have created these before for couples using photos from the pre-wedding shoot and they worked a treat. They’re a simple and effective way to tell your guests to keep that date free in their diaries.
Bridesmaid Proposal Cards
It’s not compulsory to have a bridal party. However, if you are having bridesmaids this can be a cute way to ask them to be a part of your special day. You could casually pass them the card whilst out socializing or send it in the post.
It’s a trend that’s definitely catching on and makes an event out of this important question. They’re usually quite simple saying something like “will you be my bridesmaid”. However, we’ve also seen them with lovely poems.
Bridal Shower Invites
If you’ve decided to have a bridal shower it’s a good idea to let your invitees know at least 6 weeks before the event. This will allow them plenty of time to make sure the date is free and also purchase a bridal shower gift.
It’ll usually fall on the host of the party to select these so as a bride you might not have much say on the style. The invites for this should tell the invitees the date, time, and venue of the shower.
Bridal Shower Thank You’s
As the bride, it can be a nice touch to thank all the attendees that showed up to your bridal shower. This is particularly true if they’ve purchased you a bridal shower gift.
You could either go for a generic thank you card or add a personal note to each addressing your guest directly. This is a wonderful touch that will make your BFF’s feel truly appreciated.
Wedding Shower Invites
You and your partner may also choose to host a wedding shower. If you’re inviting some of the same guests from the bridal shower it might be an idea to send a new and unique invite.
At the same time, it might be polite to add an additional note for returning guests that you don’t expect them to bring a gift. The same protocol applies as with wedding showers that you should send them a thank you within a week of the shower.
Wedding Invitation Suite
By this point, you will have had some practice with sending out save the dates and invites.
However, this is the big one! This is arguably the most important piece of stationery on this list and should ideally set the tone for the style of your wedding.
What you choose for the design of your invitation suite will be down to your personal choice. However, there are a few key pieces of information that we think they should all include.
First appearances count but your outer envelope also needs to be practical to ensure its safe arrival to your invitees. This should obviously include the recipient’s address and stamps so that it arrives at the correct location. You can never go wrong with a simple brown paper envelope to get this job done.
Inner Envelope and wax seal
This is where you can get a bit more creative with the type of envelope you choose. This will be the first thing your invitees see of the aesthetic of your invite.
It’s a very popular option for the closure of the envelope to be a wax seal. This can be the custom initials of the couple or a more generic symbol. It’s really up to you.
This isn’t essential but does hold the contents of the invitation nicely in place. It can be made of paper, card, or fabric and can be stylized or plain. If you use paper or card you can use your wax seal once again and they’re so therapeutic to use!
This is the main event of the invitation suite and should be the largest piece in the collection. It should state who is hosting the wedding, who is getting married, where it’s being held, and when it’s taking place.
This can be the section of the invitation suite that has the most design elements. Whether you hire a wedding invitation designer or do it yourself it’s important to get the styling right.
We usually photograph these at most weddings to tell the complete wedding story.
If you’re having your reception at a different venue than your ceremony this can go on a separate card. It’s not 100% necessary but will prevent any confusion.
It’s important to include a response card with your invitation. This way guests can let you know their intentions to attend or miss out on your celebration. The RSVP is essential as it will give you the guest list for the wedding.
Self Addressed Envelope
A nice touch is to include a self addressed envelope with the invite. This will of course contain your address so your invitees can post the RSVP to you. Include stamps on the envelope as well so that you make it super easy for your invitees.
It might be tempting to just include the address and rely on your guests to use google maps. However, if your venue is particularly tricky to find, some more information can be a nice touch. Equally, we’ve seen hand drawn style maps that really add to the overall design element of the invite.
Another nice touch is to include nearby accommodation recommendations. Obviously, if all your guests are local this isn’t necessary. However, for those who may be out of town or are flying over from abroad, some recommendations go a long way to keeping them happy.
Website, Email and Phone Number Card
This is usually like a business card and can be great for guests to keep in their wallets or purse in case of emergency. Equally, it may be all you need if you’re on a budget and have decided to have an online wedding invitation.
Another popular addition to the wedding invitation suite is to provide wedding gift registry information. You don’t need to list all the items on your registry but instead, provide them with a link to the website that they can browse at their own leisure.
Related Reading: Wedding Registry Etiquette Guide for Guests
The rehearsal dinner is a great opportunity to plan out the wedding so that no one misses a beat on the day.
This is typically kept to close family and the bridal party and anyone that has a significant role to play at the wedding.
They’re usually held the night before the wedding but you need to let your guests know. You can either send special invites to these specific guests or include the information bundled in with your invitation suite to these people.
Bachelorette and Bachelor party invites
Chances are that the duty of planning these parties will be down to your maid of honor and best man. Therefore it’s really up to them to sort out the invites.
Chances are that you’ll have a Whatsapp group for all the gory details of the debauchery but it can still be nice to send physical copies. The invitees can stick this to their fridge as a constant reminder of the upcoming party.
Ceremony order of service
We’re now on to the wedding day itself and some essential wedding stationery is the order of service. This lets your guests know the running order of the ceremony, who is giving a reading as well as any hymns or songs you’ve chosen.
It can also be used to give thanks to your bridal party. If it’s designed nicely it can be a lovely keepsake for your guests to remind them of the day.
The information can be presented on one single piece of card or it can be intricately folded like a book. The possibilities are endless here.
Something you should aim to keep for your entire life as a happily married couple is the guest book. Choose a nice one in a timeless design that you can look back on in 50 years’ time.
They’re a great way for your guests to leave you special messages and their best wishes.
Lots of couples get creative here by having something like a fingerprint tree or a jigsaw that they can frame and mount on their walls.
Another opportunity for a bold statement is with your seating plan. This is usually a large piece of card or wood that details where everyone sits for the wedding reception. You’ll usually find them positioned outside or at the entrance to the reception so that guests can see where they’re sitting as they enter.
Table names and numbers
Table numbers and names work great as prints in vintage frames but that’s just our opinion! Do what you like. These go hand in hand with the seating plan for your wedding reception.
Make them big enough that your guests can easily identify their designated table.
Once your guests have found their table they should be able to find their seats provided you’ve got place cards. These can be kept quite simple or can be elaborately designed. The choice is yours.
We find that they’re often simple white or brown pieces of card folded over with a fancy font displaying the guests’ names. However, make sure they fit in with the rest of your wedding and do what’s right for you.
Wedding signs are a good way to tell your guests directly what you expect from them at certain points of the day . For instance, you could print some nice instructions for how to use your guestbook or photo booth.
Wedding breakfast menus
The menu for the wedding breakfast is a vital piece of wedding stationery. This allows your guests to know their options and also whether there are any allergens they should be aware of. These are usually placed on top of the plate to make up the whole table dressing and make the reception room look fab.
Wedding favor notes
If you’re providing your guests with favors it’s also a nice touch to include a little note of thanks. This can be addressed to each individual or can be something a little more generic like “Thanks for celebrating with us”. At a lot of weddings we attend, these are usually handwritten but you could also consider getting them printed.
Thank you cards
Arguably as important as the invite itself is sending out those thank you cards after the wedding.
You could design these in a similar way to your invites to keep them on brand. Alternatively, you could use photos from your wedding photographer if they’ve got a preview for you yet.
Whatever method you go for, be sure to thank your guests on a personal level for their attendance. Equally, if they got you a gift be sure to mention it and how it’s going to be used in the future.
Try to get your thank you cards out as soon as possible (it can be a long job!) your guests will really appreciate this.
Does wedding stationery have to match?
Short answer no, you won’t be arrested. Long answer, it should be of the same theme and this will stop the stationery cops from knocking at your door.
If you keep everything close to matching then it should form a cohesiveness throughout your whole day. As an example using very formal stationary at a backyard wedding wouldn’t look right and we trust you not to do that anyway.
From a photography perspective, we can tell you that it definitely helps if your stationery matches. Or it is at least of the same brand and style. It definitely makes the photos look better, trust us!
As you can see wedding stationery plays a vital role before, during, and after your wedding.
It’s a crucial design element that should be highly considered to help set the theme of your day.
At the same time, it also serves a practical purpose in letting your guests know what’s going on and when.
Remember that it is wise to start planning your wedding stationery as early as possible. This is particularly true if you’re hiring professional designers. During peak seasons they’ll be particularly busy so contact them now!
Hopefully, our thorough wedding stationery checklist has given you some ideas about what you do and don’t need. As we’ve said everyone is different and will prioritize certain pieces over others. What’s important is that you do what is right for you as a couple.