Wedding stationery involves more than just a wedding invitation, and each piece serves a unique purpose. From save the dates to place cards, every element of wedding paper goods guides and informs guests for the most seamless experience possible.
Your wedding stationery also has a unique role in your wedding design. Your wedding stationery is the first element of your wedding your guests encounter, and the perfect opportunity for personal, unique details.
Wedding stationery design has endless opportunities for personalization, perfect for creating artful, thoughtful heirloom keepsakes documenting your love story.
In our wedding stationery guide, we’re exploring the main elements of wedding stationery and their purpose. Wedding stationery can be divided into two main categories: before the wedding and day-of paper goods.
Wedding Stationery Before the Wedding Day
Wedding stationery sent before the wedding day serves to notify guests of your wedding date and location and important details, and give them guidance as they plan to attend the wedding. It’s a courtesy to provide guests plenty of notice, especially for destination weddings necessitating advance planning and travel.
Save the Dates
Save the dates serve as an announcement of your wedding and include two main pieces of information: the wedding date and location. The save the dates precede the wedding invitations, which will come later with more detailed information.
If you haven’t finalized your venue yet, the location on your save the dates does not have to be exact. Giving guests a heads up on the general location (like the city and state/destination) helps them plan ahead and know what to expect, especially for destination weddings where travel is involved. For destination weddings, save the dates are an absolute must and we recommend mailing them as early as possible.
It’s also incredibly helpful to guests to create your wedding website beforehand and include the URL on your save the dates. This gives guests a place to check in and find the more detailed information you add to your wedding website. For example, some couples reserve hotel blocks for their guests, and oftentimes hotels will provide you with a link to the reservation you can add to your wedding website to make booking rooms as easy as possible.
Save the dates often include the wording “formal invitation to follow,” letting guests know they will receive a more detailed invitation closer to the wedding.
Save the dates are an amazing asset for weddings. While they are sometimes overlooked, in our experience sending save the dates has a big impact on the overall guest experience. Save the dates give guests plenty of time to plan ahead and connects them with your wedding website early on in the process to keep everyone in the loop.
For guidance on when to send your save the dates and wedding invitations, visit our post on When to Mail Wedding Invitations.
Wedding Invitation Suite
Next is your wedding invitation suite, which serves as the formal invitation to the wedding. Your wedding invitations can include a wedding invitation card, RSVP card, details card, envelopes, and embellishments.
Wedding Invitation Card
The wedding invitation card lists the names of the couple and the time and exact location of the wedding. The wording of the invitation varies from couple to couple depending on their personal preferences. Sometimes the invitation card will list the names of the couple’s parents, indicate a reception to follow, or advise on the dress code.
The RSVP card, short for “répondez s’il vous plaît,” or “respond, if you please” in French, is how guests will reply to your invitation. The RSVP card lists the RSVP deadline by which you expect guests to respond to your invitation, a space for guests to write the names of attending guests, and a space to indicate whether the guest is accepting or declining the invitation.
Oftentimes, the RSVP card will also have a space for guests to write in any allergies or dietary restrictions, and/or select a meal choice from a list of options.
Some couples opt to ask to guests to RSVP online, and will instead list their wedding website URL. If you opt to have guests submit their RSVP responses via your wedding website, you will need to create an RSVP form on your wedding website. Linking this form to auto-fill into a sheet is incredibly helpful for organizing your RSVPs and simple to implement on most popular wedding website platforms.
The details card is optional, but very helpful for many couples to share additional information with their guests. The details card will often list additional information like related wedding events, wedding weekend activities, accommodations, hotel block information, transportation information, parking information, your wedding website URL, or a venue change if the ceremony venue is in a different location than your reception venue.
There are countless opportunities throughout your wedding invitation suite to incorporate embellishments. Embellishments are aesthetic details that personalize the wedding stationery to your vision.
Embellishments are design-oriented; however, they are an amazing opportunity to make your wedding invitation suite special and custom. Some of the most-loved wedding stationery embellishments:
- Wax Seals
- Envelope Liners
- Custom Crests
- Silk or Velvet Ribbons
- Venue Illustrations
- Die-Cutting and Embossing
- Custom Maps of Your Wedding Destination
- Custom Illustrations
- Curated Stamps
These embellishments and countless more are an incredible way to customize your wedding invitation suite to your tastes and wedding color palette, as well as your story as a couple for a truly personalized result.
Wedding Stationery on the Wedding Day
Many couples do not realize that there are stationery needs for the wedding day, also commonly referred to as day-of wedding paper. Day-of wedding paper serves to inform and guide guests through the flow of your wedding day for a seamless experience.
Wedding programs are present at the wedding ceremony to inform guests about the procession of the ceremony. Programs traditionally list the names of those in the wedding party and the flow of your wedding ceremony, like the exchange of vows, traditions, music, or readings.
Some couples like to add more personal details to their wedding programs, like sharing their love story with their guests, as they wait for the ceremony to begin. It can also be fun to get creative with your wedding programs with unexpected interpretations, like creating fan programs to keep guests cool at a warm summer wedding.
A bar menu is placed on the bar to let guests know what’s available at the bar. Bar menus are especially helpful for listing the ingredients of custom signature drinks that aren’t well-known classic cocktails. The bar menu allows guests to quickly and easily choose from your bar selection and improve the flow of traffic at the bar for effortless service.
Escort cards serve to guide guests to the reception in an organized way. Traditionally, escort cards are arranged in a display and each card will list the name of a guest and the number of their assigned table. Escort cards help guests find their seats at reception quickly and seamlessly.
Table numbers organize each wedding reception table for guests as well as catering staff. A table number card is placed on each table to indicate its number. The table number on each guest’s escort card guides them to their assigned table.
Once guests have found their assigned tables, place cards help guests find their assigned seats. Place cards are small cards placed at each place setting with the name of a guest.
While it may not seem necessary at first to assign seats, seating assignments are incredibly helpful for wedding logistics as they make it very simple for guests to find their assigned seats rather than searching for seats. Assigned seating also avoids the awkwardness of guests searching for seats and greatly speeds up the process.
Assigned seating is a must for seated dinners for organized dinner service to ensure each guest is served their selected meal. Assigned seating helps your catering team plan ahead for and seamlessly service guest meal selections, allergies and dietary requests, and children’s meals.
A dinner menu is placed at each place setting to detail the meal being served. The menu lists each course of the meal with information about each course being served.
Although we only covered the basic must-haves of wedding stationery in this post, wedding stationery is an art and there are many other pieces of wedding day paper you can utilize on your wedding day. We highly recommend working with an experienced wedding stationer to create a collection of wedding paper best suited to the experience you want to create.
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