Your ABC of Wedding Stationery

So you’ve started your lists, you’ve got the main essentials sorted - where, when and how - so now you just need to TELL everyone…and that’s where stationery comes in.

On the simplest level, your stationery (both pre- and on-the-day) is just about finding a way to give your guests the information they need to enjoy the day. You then bring in elements like colour and form to communicate the vibe, and weave in little details personal to you. It’s how you tell the story of your day.

But I know when you start your planning, it can seem a little confusing, trying to work out what you need and why. After all, wedding days can be so individual and therefore when it comes to getting your message across there really isn’t a ‘one-size-fits-all’.

So, really you need to take a look at the options in a little more detail and decide how you can utilise them for your own celebrations.

I get asked a lot by couples what I think they really need for their day so I thought it was a great time to put together a little guide of printed products, and how you can utilise them to get your message across.

So here goes, your very own ABC of Wedding Stationery…

Save the Dates - keep everyone in the loop and give them a first taste of your plans.

Saves the Dates are a brilliant tool if your day is 10 months or more away - they allow you to get word out quickly, before you are perhaps ready to commit to specific details, and therefore make sure your guests know they need to be available. They can be small and simple cards (I print them at A7 normally) that state the couples’ names, the wedding date, and (sometimes) the venue or location. That’s literally all you need.

Invitations - the necessity. Your official confirmation of the firmed up plan.

This is where you get specific - you need to think about exactly who you are addressing, as well as what details they need from you - date, time, venue, reception venue, end time, what you need them to do next (how and when to RSVP). In many cases this is also the first real taster your guests will get of your wedding vibe, so make sure they reflect what you have in store from a design point of view.

Information Cards - tell me more, tell me more…

It’s often the case that you have a bit of extra info you want to tell your guests - about travel, or accommodations, or gifts, for instance. To avoid cluttering up your invite, adding an Information Card is the best way to do it. Put yourself in the shoes of your guests and think about every detail that would be useful to them - the aim is to minimise the annoying questions, but keep back a few fun surprises for the day! Between the invite and the info card, the guests should feel confident in where to be and when, what to bring, how to get there and when to leave.

RSVPs - love to receive post? Yeah, me too... Go for a physical RSVP card and enjoy the flurry of responses landing on your doormat!

I surprised myself with how excited I go when the first RSVPs starting rolling in when planning my own wedding a few years back - and the competition between guests to be the first to reply was pretty fun too! RSVP’s not only tell you who is coming, but they are also a great way to gather a bit of info and create a little excitement for the day. Make sure you include details about allergies, etc so that job is taken care of, then consider adding a song request to fill the playlist, or a good joke or quote to use (anonymously) in your favours. It’s a great way to help guests feel more a part of your day.

Order of Service - an old-fashioned name, but a handy tool to keep your guests clued up on the day's events.

Traditionally, an order of service was a guide for the church service noting songs, prayers and the main ceremony events. These days, however, where many ceremonies are shorter and simpler, Order of Service cards have found a secondary use - instead of just covering the ceremony details, they list all events and rough timings for the day. In reality, weddings rarely run on time, so use timings as a guide, or if it will bother you just leave them off and create a simple list.

It’s a lovely way to help your guests know what’s up next and can come in the form of an invitation-sized printed card or booklet, or if you are spending your whole day in one venue, a sign near the entrance can work perfectly.

Welcome Sign - a pretty way to say HI to everyone.

A welcome sign, featuring your names, wedding date welcome message is a lovely way to dress the entrance of your reception venue. Finished in your wedding colours, it can be hung or stood on a table, and dressed with florals or other decor - if your set up suits it can also make an impactful display alongside the table plan and/or welcome drinks. I also think the welcome sign is such a lovely keepsake to display in your home after the day.

Table Plan - not only a practical item for your day, but a great momento.

Unless your wedding breakfast includes less than around 20 people, the table plan is definitely one of the most important and useful pieces of stationery for your day. There are a million ways to do it - just take a look at Pinterest for some awesome inspiration - but at it’s simplest you are creating a plan to show everyone where they are sitting and who with. It doesn’t need to cover the layout in granular detail, just give people a nudge in the right direction, so you can choose a design that is visually pleasing as well as practical.

Table Cards - these could be simple numbers or a selection of your favourite places, records or...pets...? It's your choice.

These of course relate to your table plan and help your guests find their place. Numbers work perfectly, but something personal is so much more fun - I love to see a selection of the couple’s favourite songs, or places they’ve visited together. It all tells a story.

They can be displayed in a number of ways, either in a metal or wooden holder, or consider framing for a more luxe look.

Menu Cards - choose the option that works for your meal.

Depending on your wedding set up, the menu can take a number of forms. If you are having a buffet style affair, cards for each dish work well. For a small reception, one large menu sign placed so it can be easily viewed by all guests might be ample. For a formal, sit-down meal you could either print enough for every place setting to create a luxurious look, or simply add 2 or 3 to each table (aim for 1 between 4 people as a minimum) that can stand on the tables and be shared by guests - this option also helps spark a bit of conversation between guests.

Place cards - a simple, printed or handwritten card so everyone knows where they're meant to be.

It’s becoming more popular for couples to leave exact seating arrangements to their guests - this can be really fun if you have ample, informal seating and a buffet style meal. However, for more formal set ups it’s really important to specify seats for each person for a couple of reasons. Firstly, if you are catering for any allergies or have vegetarian or vegan guests, it helps to know where they will be so they get served the correct meal without confusion. And secondly, if you have a strict number of seats and no plan, it could end up with couples or friends being split up and having to sit elsewhere - this may not be a big deal to everyone, but as someone who is quite shy, it would be my worst nightmare to sit on the other side of the room to my plus one, amongst people I don’t know! Seating plans and place cards really do put people at ease so they can enjoy your day. Place cards can be printed to tie in with other stationery, or handmade and handwritten (ours were origami birds and frogs with handwritten names). They are also a good place to add details if you choose to make a charity donation rather than have physical favours, for example.

Ok, I think that just about covers the stationery options available to you for your wedding day. Some of these might be the perfect thing, some surplus to requirements. You may print some and make others - there is so much scope here for creativity so I hope you embrace it and - most importantly - make it work for you.

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