We asked one of our favorite vendors, Ivory Isle Designs, to provide some tips on designing and picking out wedding stationery. After reading, make sure to contact Josie to start working on yours today!
Your wedding stationery is the first glimpse of your big day that your guests will get. It’s important to choose stationery that sets the right tone, while also getting across the important information your guests will need (and the information you will need to get back from them!) Sounds like a big job? Overwhelming maybe? It can be, but we’re happy to help break it down with these 7 tips to wedding stationery success:
Define your Style and Color Story:
When getting started, think about your wedding and the venue that you have chosen. Is it elegant or casual, traditional or modern? Whichever it is, let your stationery match the feel of the day, to paint the best picture for your guests of what they can expect from the experience. Then pick a stationery that offers designs in that style, designs that speak to you. Your stationery should feel how you want to feel on your wedding day, so make sure to work with a designer who gets you and can put your personal vision to paper. Discuss the color story for your wedding and find design options that can include those shades. Carry those colors throughout your wedding in the linens, florals and other stationery pieces such as programs and menus, to create a cohesive look.
Know What To Say, And How To Say It:
Wording a wedding invitation can be a fine art. There are some basic rules, such as all words should be spelled out and not abbreviated, the year should be written out without containing the word “and” after “two thousand” among others.
Traditionally, the first people listed on the wedding invitation are those who are hosting the event. It’s a good idea to check with parents to see if they have strong feelings about their names appearing or not appearing on the invitations, and how they might want them listed.
If you are having a ceremony and reception at the same location, it is acceptable to mention “reception to immediately follow” at the bottom of the invitation and forgo a separate reception insert, but I always do recommend mentioning some brief detail about the reception if at all possible. Stating something as simple as “please join us for cocktails, dinner and dancing following the ceremony” will let your guests know what to expect from the day. They can then know how late to book a sitter for, or if they should eat a large meal ahead of time, or if there is time to run home and let the dog out between the ceremony and reception or not. It’s these little details that help your guests feel comfortable about the event.
Wedding websites are a wonderful invention. They are most often free and can be set up to include all of the detail that you otherwise would have to print on additional insert cards. Use the website to list out accommodations, directions and things to do in the area. You can fill in some personal backstory on your relationship and share your engagement photos as extra bonus material. The website is also the correct place to mention your registry information, instead of printed anywhere on the actual invitation suite. Then, you simply include a smaller sized insert in your invitation suite that says “For additional wedding details, please visit www.ourwebsite.com” .
When should this all be done? Save the Dates are sent 6-12 months before the wedding. Invitations are customarily sent about 8 weeks before the big day. Production times can vary by company, but for Ivory Isle Designs, we need 2-3 weeks for production of most invitation jobs, and we like a few weeks before that to really delve into design with you, and revise art/files based on your input and feedback. Then leave a week for shipping to be safe. Therefore, starting an invitation order six weeks before you need it in hand is about as short of a time frame as we recommend, just to avoid feeling rushed during this process, which should ideally be stress-free and fun!
Another question we often get is when to request Response Cards back. Most caterers want your final guest count two weeks before your event. You want to give yourself one solid week to call anyone who hasn’t RSVPed on time, so I suggest an RSVP date three weeks before your wedding (up to four weeks is also acceptable). I like to pick a day that might stick out for people, so the first or fifteenth of a month, a holiday, or even a day like tax day – April 15th; something that will stay front of mind with the guests.
Keep Costs in Mind:
I’m a sucker for a gorgeous foil and letterpress card, no doubt! However, stunning designs can also be produced by printing beautiful artwork with digital offset printing at a fraction of the cost. There are high-quality production options at almost all budget levels so I suggest starting with a budget in mind that you feel comfortable with, and then letting a trusted stationer show you what is possible within those numbers. We have had clients fall in love with a suite that was just outside of their comfortable budget. If that happens to you, ask what you can do to make it work. We’ve let the client handle some light assembly, like tying on the last ribbon, to bring production costs down for them and make an out-of-reach invitation suite possible within their budget.
At an initial consultation, we will ask how many invitations a couple will be needing and many times, we get an answer in the number of people. Keep in mind you only need one invitation per household, not per person. Adult children living at the same home as their parents would traditionally get their own invitation. Minor children are invited with their parents.
Speaking of children, we are often asked how to let families know if kids are invited or not. Technically, the people who are invited to the wedding are the people whose names appear on the invitation envelope. If the envelope is addressed to Mr. and Mrs. John Doe, then no children are invited. If the invitation is addressed to Mr. and Mrs. John Doe, Amelia and Sam, then the two children are included. The most open-ended way to address the envelope would be to The John Doe Family, in which case you are giving free rein to John Doe to bring with him whichever family he chooses.
The Importance of Response Cards:
So how do you know how many people are coming? This is where the response card plays its part. They can be sent as post cards (most cost effective) or cards with envelopes. Often you see a response card with an M line (where guests will fill in their name, starting with their title that begins with M: Mr, Mrs, Miss or Ms.) Then you will see a check box for Accepts and another for Declines. If you choose to go this way, I suggest also include a _ of _ guests attending line, where you will fill in the second box with the number of guests invited and they will fill in the first line with how many will attend. This limits your guests from adding additional attendees and it also gives you a very clear answer as to how many of the family will be joining you.
Last thing to note on a response card is if your guests need to select an entrée for their meal. If so, remember to have them initial an entrée choice, not just write how many of each entrée are wanted, because you’ll need to know which guest is having which entrée when you make your place cards.
Posting Your Invitations:
When your invitations are complete and all envelopes are addressed, they are ready for mailing. It is etiquette to stamp your response card or postcard with postage before sending your invitations out to you guests so remember to do that before you seal up those envelopes!
When selecting stamps for your invitations, it’s a good idea to take a full set to the post office to be weighed to ensure you purchase the correct amount of postage for their weight, keeping in mind that square envelopes or envelopes that are extra thick will need additional postage.
I hope these tips help to take away any fear from the process of creating your wedding stationery. It should be a fun process of deciding what design elements speak your language, and then building stationery that says what it needs to say, within that language. Work with a professional team who you trust to cover all the necessary bases for you, so they can take care of the technicalities while you just focus on the beauty and emotion of the printed pieces, which will forever be a part of your happily ever after.
*** Do you have your own questions for Josie? She’s always happy to help with technical questions or complimentary design consultations. She can be reached directly at (612) 425-5567 or firstname.lastname@example.org ***