GENERAL PLANNING

Everything You Need to Know About Wedding Stationery

Not sure how to get started with your wedding stationery? We totally get it! Stationery is a much larger part of the wedding planning process than many realize because it spans way beyond just your invitations. Thankfully, we’re here to break it all down for you-- one letter at a time.

What Exactly Is Wedding Stationery?
Wedding stationery ecompasses all of the designed paper products through your big day. From your save-the-dates to your reception menu cards, wedding stationery can include any and all official paper elements to be sent out, distributed, or displayed throughout your wedding journey.
Types of Wedding Stationery

While what you feel you do and don’t “need” is ultimately up to you and those helping to plan your amazing wedding, stationery is typically used for the following:

Save-the-dates

Engagement Celebration/Shower Invitations

Wedding Ceremony Invitations

Wedding Party Proposals

Bachelor/ette Party Invitations

Rehearsal Dinner Invitations

Table/Seating Assignments

Programs

Menu Cards

Thank You Cards

Check out some Pinterest-worthy bridal shower stationery ideas here.

Getting Started with Your Wedding Stationery

Well, there are three basic elements to wedding stationery: design, production, and delivery. Let’s walk through all of them!

Design

First things first, you want all of your stationery to coordinate. And, ideally, this goes alongside fitting the style of your wedding. So, if you haven’t already, then this may be a great introduction to figuring out your nearlywed style and individual vibe-- the ceremony should reflect who you are as nearlyweds. Your save-the-dates and invitations are the first glimpses your guests will get into your big day, so make sure they set the stage right. Here are some general themes and trends to get you thinking about your unique nearlywed style:

Boho
Boho

floral details, succulents, lace, kraft-inspired elements

Classic
Classic

clean, simple layouts, monograms, light color palettes

Modern
Modern

daring patterns, bold typeface, neutral color palette, modern calligraphy

Glamorous
Glamorous

black-tie affair, stunning metallic details, elegant floral touches

Indie
Indie

bold colors, watercolor-inspired detailing, twine, handwritten elements

To learn more about stationery styles ad vibes, check out this article:

Designing your stationery could be as simple as printing the relevant information on a piece of paper and sending it off in an envelope. But, if you’re an intricate planner trying to pull out all the stops, then you might be considering more detailed elements regarding your stationery design. It’s important to note that when it comes to designing your stationery, there are two primary routes-- pre-designed and custom. Pre-designed stationery templates can make your job a whole lot easier by creating the fonts and layouts ahead of time. All you have to do, in most cases, is choose your colors ad type in your information.

If you have more of a specific vision for your documents, then customization is the avenue for you:

Layouts

The layout of your stationery depends, first and foremost, on what it is. Is it an invitation? A wedding party proposal? A menu? A simple starting place is with identifying your priority information and putting that clearly visible somewhere in the top-center, center-center, or bottom-center of your document. If you don’t want information centered, then play around with left and right alignment until it looks right to you! Figure out your heading(s), main details, secondary details, and closing. For example, if you’re creating a wedding ceremony invitation-- then your heading might be “You’re Invited” or just “Name One and Name Two”, your main details would include occasion/date/time/location, secondary information might include your wedding website and registry information, and your closing might be a cute sign-off or “we hope that you will be able to join us”. If you’re creating your individual or table menu stationery, then your heading might be “menu” or “eats”, your main details are your food offerings, your secondary details can include dietary precautions and alternate options, and your closing can specify your catering or chef.

Also keep in mind that you don’t have to put everything on one document. For example, when sending wedding invitations you can have your main invitation documents, smaller sized card with your registry information, and a smaller business card sized document with your wedding website information.

Paper (Material, Color, Size)

When discussing the paper for your stationery, the options and combinations are endless. Depending on what you’re designing you can mix-and-match different types of paper within the same package or stick to on type throughout. The first element when discussing your paper is your specific paper material. Here are a few of the more common wedding paper materials:

Cardstock
Cardstock

can be matte or glossy, thick, can come in a variety of colors and finishes

Mylar
Mylar

metallic and shiny

Parchment
Parchment

old-fashioned look

Vellum
Vellum

btraditionally made from calf-skin, similar to leather

Glassine
Glassine

water and grease resistant, glossy

Handmade
Handmade

made from cotton, coarse, more expensive

Recycled
Recycled

eco-friendly, thin

Linen
Linen

made from fabric, has texture

For more information on wedding paper finishes and types read here!

You could also dare to be different and not use paper at all! Some opt for clear acrylic plates as their stationery base instead. When considering the color of your material, a big tip would be to first consider the color scheme of your wedding. Perhaps you would like to utilize your accent colors or maybe you would rather keep the vision for your big day a surprise and stick with neutral colors? Either way-- start at the vision for your wedding and make decisions from there. And don’t forget to think about the size of your paper. There are no rules, but there are conventional sizes for different products:

Invitation: 4.5” x 6.25”, 5” x 5”

Menu: 5” x 7” (individual), 8.5” x 11” (table)

Thank You Card: 4.25” x 5.5” (A2)

Typography (Font, Ink Color)

Just as important as your paper choices is what’s written on it! Considering the type throughout your stationery is an important discussion to have-- especially if you are looking for a consistent visual flow throughout all of your wedding elements. You should consider your font type, font pairing, and ink colors when designing your gorgeous stationery. Font types typically fall under these four main categories:

Serif
Serif

small projections at the end of the letter strokes, grand and confident feel

Sans Serif
Sans Serif

no small projections at the end of the letter strokes, minimalist feel

Script
Script

links letter to letter, romantic and ethereal feel

Decorative
Decorative

custom typefaces that don’t follow any specific rules

You could also bypass all of this font discussion, if you decide to have your stationery handwritten in script or calligraphy. For your ink colors, consider first the color of your paper materials. If you’re using colored paper, then consider using a neutral color for yours type (i.e. black, white, grey). If you have a more neutral color for your paper materials, then test out color combinations based on your wedding color palette. You can even just use one of your colors in your headings and then return to a neutral color for the body of your document. Play around with it!

Packaging (Types, Color, Seals)

This section is for those stationery items that you need to be delivered and distributed in some fashion--like invitations, cards, and notices. There are a few options when it comes to packaging, depending on your wedding’s style, as well as a few things to keep in mind. First, decide if your stationery will be in an envelope alone or alongside an array of items in a gift box or basket? No matter what you decide, the color of your packaging is a point of discussion. Similar to your typography, if you’re actual stationery has a lot of vivid color action, maybe you’ll opt for a solid, neutral colored envelope. But, if your document has a more neutral color palette, go for a bold color or pattern with your packaging. Lastly, there are multiple ways to seal or finish off your packaging:

Standard
Standard

Use whatever sealing options traditionally come with your packaging

Ribbon
Ribbon

Tie or stick a nice bow on your packaging

Washi tape
Washi tape

Use decorative washi tape to add some color and originality to your envelopes

Wax seal
Wax seal

Take it way back with this old-school method

Stickers
Stickers

Find some nice stickers that go with your vibe or get custom stickers made just for your wedding

Get some inspiration with this article on the most popular stationery design trends!

So you’ve got your stationery looking amazing…. now what? How are you getting it from the drawing board to a physical copy in your hands?
Production

So you’ve got your stationery looking amazing…. now what? How are you getting it from the drawing board to a physical copy in your hands?

DIY

DIY is becoming more and more popular in modern weddings. Not only can you save some money--but it’s also a great way to bond with your wedding planning crew! Taking on this task isn’t necessarily a walk in the park-- it consists of designing, printing/writing, cutting, packaging, and delivering everything yourself. A pro tip is to find a template you like online to cut your designing time in half. And it may take some trial and error, but given all of the designing tips above-- it shouldn’t be too difficult. Plus, the result is amazing stationery that you can take pride in and show off to your guests! Just don’t forget to proofread!

DIY
Outsourcing

Outsourcing the production of your stationery is just as valid as doing it yourself. The majority of involvement is when it comes to the printing. You can choose from a few printing techniques:

Engraving
Engraving

Uses a copper plate an ink, gives a classic and traditional look

Thermography
Thermography

Uses heat to press the ink, cost-effective

Letterpress
Letterpress

Uses heavyweight paper and an inked metal plate

Foil stamping
Foil stamping

Exactly what it sounds like, adds a nice metallic touch

Digital printing
Digital printing

Uses a computer to reproduce the image, most common technique

Embossing
Embossing

Similar to engraving without the ink

So you’ve got your stationery looking amazing…. now what? How are you getting it from the drawing board to a physical copy in your hands?
Delivery

And once you’re holding the physical product in your hand, you have to deal with how to get it to your guests. If they are documents that need distributing, the two main ways you might consider delivering them are shipping and hand-delivery. Here are some tips and ideas for each

Mailing

Mailing your packages can take the pressure off of you to hand deliver your stationery depending on what it is. Leave it in the mail carrier’s hands and enjoy your recipients’ reactions.

Take precautions to prevent your ink from smudging. This can be done by wrapping your document in tissue paper. It may raise the cost of your postage, but it’s worth it to keep your stationery intact.

Use the right amount of postage! Know what size packaging requires what amount of postage to prevent mailing delay.

Hand deliver them to the post-office if you can. Try not to use dropoff bins to prevent unwanted folding, smushing, and stains.

If what you have created is hard to reproduce, then get insurance. Especially if you are delivering larger, more involved packages.

Hand-delivery

Hand delivery can add such a memorable and personal touch to the delivery of your document. This is an option often used for asking people to be in your wedding party, inviting people to your engagement party, or for those that are closest to you. It is also cost-effective; you get to save so much money on shipping and mailing costs.

For a smaller group like a wedding party proposal, think about gathering everyone at the same time so that they can all receive their packages simultaneously!

Know the right place for the right person. For example, don’t show up at someone’s job if they work at a closed-desk office.

Be timely. Try to reach everyone within the same two weeks; try for a month if it’s a larger group.

delivery
Easy Wedding Stationery Hacks
Eco-friendly
Use Recycled Paper

By cutting out just one ton of traditional paper between your save the dates, invitations, and day-of materials, you can save up to 380 gallons of gasoline. (Woah.) Consider options like bamboo or hemp-based papers instead – they provide a beautiful texture and loverly feeling for invitations.

Eco-friendly
Work Your Wedding Website.

If you’re open to straying from the traditional route of sending stationery, you can use a custom wedding website to announce your wedding date, collect mailing addresses, and track replies. Plus, your guests will love being able to RSVP, book a hotel, and send a gift all in one place.

Eco-friendly
Pick Non-Traditional Place Cards.

Get creative and go green with each person’s place setting! Consider printing each of your guests’ names on a stone, or write their name in gold cursive on the folds of a leaf. Show your love for the great outdoors while being eco-conscious.

Eco-friendly
Practice Your Calligraphy.

Consider hand addressing your save the dates and invites, and take it a step further by handwriting the names on your escort cards. Snag a recyclable earth-friendly pen and paper, and you’ll skip all the toxic inks, labels, and wasteful printer paper!

Eco-friendly
Opt for Plantable Paper.

Plantable invitations are made of post-consumer materials and embedded with the seeds of your choice. By sending out plantable stationery, your guests will be able to create their own flower, herb, or vegetable gardens from your invites.

Eco-friendly
Get Guests to Share.

Does each guest really need his or her own program or menu? Instead, print one program for every two to three people and one menu per table. Encourage your guests to share, and get to know each other while they’re at it.

Eco-friendly
Ask an Expert.

If you’ve fallen in love with an invitation or another printed piece that isn’t so eco-friendly, discuss different options with your stationer to decrease the carbon footprint. Many printers have access to soy or vegetable-based inks and are familiar with other alternatives to help keep your impact in check.

Cost-effective
Opt for a Sign Over Stationery.

Programs, menus, seating charts… If it can be printed on paper, it can probably be displayed on a sign. While there’s certainly a cost that comes with buying a nice chalkboard or a vintage window, you’ll only need one. The sheer lack of volume is sure to save you some money!

Cost-effective
Skip the Place Cards.

Escort cards or a seating chart — which tell people which table they should sit at — are a necessity. But place cards — the ones that tell them exactly which chair to sit in — are not. Save yourself a couple hundred bucks by skipping these cards, or use them only a the head table, where you may have stronger feelings about exactly where everyone sits.

Cost-effective
Print As Few As Possible.

Yes, every guest needs an escort card, but some printed pieces can be shared. Consider placing one or two menus at each table and letting guests pass them around. And if you’re printed a note of tag with your favors, opt for one favor per couple to minimize costs.

Cost-effective
Forgo the Fancy Printing.

We’re big fans of letterpress and foil (stunning!), but while they make a big impact on invites, those details may go unnoticed on the wedding day. When it comes to day-of paper products, which are more likely to get tossed than posted on the fridge, skip the fancy detailing and considering digital printing.

Cost-effective
Go the DIY Route.

If you’ve got the time and the skills, do-it-yourself stationery can be a great time-saver. Do you or your spouse-to-be have a knack for Photoshop? Design and print your own programs. Have great handwriting? No need to hire a calligrapher.

How Much Does It Cost?

Now we know this is a lot of information… and you’re next question might be “how much is this gonna cost me?” Don’t worry, we’ve got you. Truth is, you can design the most gorgeous stationery and have your delivery process all planned out-- but the real planning factor is how it fits into your budget. Stationery doesn’t have to break the bank. Here are the average price ranges from 2018 of the most common stationery items to help guide you:

Invitations
Invitations

$223

Save-the-dates
Save-the-dates

$112

Menus
Menus

$125

Thank You notes
Thank You notes

$90

Programs
Programs

$128

Table Placements
Table Placements

$85

Best Places To Start

If you are looking for gorgeous and convenient pre-designed stationery, or just looking for some inspo to start designing your own, then check out these sites:

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Minted
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Papersource
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Shutterfly
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So basically...

Understanding all of the different forms of wedding stationery and paper goods can be overwhelming, we know. But, ultimately, the main things to keep in mind are your individual wedding style, which stationery you want and don’t want to include, and your budget. If you want to learn more about wedding stationery, check out any of our articles below!