Wedding stationery is made up of wedding invitations and bridal shower invitations, programmes and place cards, service sheets and labels, menus and maps, serviettes and seating plans, reply and thank you cards.
Your wedding invitation gives your guests their first hint of your special day so your invitation needs to reveal your style, theme and unique touch that represents you. A traditional posted invitation is much more special than sending out invitations via e-mail.
There are various types of ‘save the date’ invitations such as cards, fridge magnets or
e-mails. These should be sent out as soon as you’ve decided on a wedding date and at least six months before the big day, so that guests know to reserve this date.
Place cards indicate where guests are to sit and are found at individual place settings. A table card is placed on each reception table and it displays the name or number of the table itself. Escourt cards are usually hung up or placed on a table outside the reception area and inform guests of which table they will be sitting at.
Begin by choosing a theme that has a special meaning to both you and your partner. Use the same colours, typeface and unique design for instance a ‘duogram’ (created by combining the initials of the couple’s first names), motif or monogram on your invitations, service sheets, menu cards and thank you notes. There are many companies who specialise in wedding invitations and other wedding stationery.
While many brides still prefer the classic cards in white or beige there are those who would like to be more daring with bursts of colour such as plum, red, coffee, navy blue and black paper. There’s also an assortment of different inks to choose from. So you could decide on any thing from copper ink on aquamarine paper to your classic black on white.
When it comes to selecting paper, there is a plethora of different textures, shapes and colours. The quality of paper is significant, with heavier and more substantial types making a statement. Brides who are eco-friendly may decide on recycled paper, or consider an invitation card that can be folded then sealed so an envelope is not necessary.
There are also several printing techniques to choose from such as letterpress, a plate is used to create indented lettering on thick paper or thermography, this involves applying a resin powder over ink to raise the lettering. In the engraving process, invitations are pressed out from the back, creating raised type on the front of the paper.
The invitation should communicate essential information about the wedding as simply as possible. As well as giving the names of the bride and groom and their families, other essentials include the wedding date, time and venue of the ceremony and reception as well as both physical addresses. Also include the expected dress code.
Normally wording reflects who is hosting the wedding, generally it is the bride’s mother and father and should be cleared with them first. Below are examples of both a traditionally worded invitation and a less formal invitation sent out by the mother and father of the bride:
Mr & Mrs Cecil Smyth
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
son of Mr & Mrs Paddy O’Grady
on Saturday 14 January 2012
at four o’clock
reception immediately following
at Bedfordview Community Hall
Cecil and Wanda Smyth
invite you to join in celebrating the marriage
of their daughter
Date: 14 January 2012
Venue: Edenvale Baptist Church
and afterwards a the reception at Bedfordview Community Hall
RSVP by 1 December 2011
Cecil or Wanda: 011 453 0121
If the bridal couple are hosting the wedding, the invitation may be less formal and might read as follows: Amanda Smyth and Patrick O’Grady take great pleasure in inviting you to their wedding, etc, or Amanda and Patrick invite you to share in their celebration, etc. You may perhaps include a quotation, such as lyrics from a song or a poem or scripture verse to personalise your invitation.
The brides parents might be divorced, in which case either the bride’s mother or father could host the wedding and issue invitations.
If the bride’s parents are divorced but hosting the wedding together the invitation would read: Mrs Wanda Smyth and Mr Cecil Smyth, etc or Mr Cecil Smyth and Mrs Wanda Cook, etc if they have remarried. If the mother of the bride has not remarried, she may also use her maiden name.
In the event that the bride’s mother has remarried and is hosting the wedding with the bride’s stepfather, the invitation could read: Mr and Mrs Scott Cook … at the marriage of their daughter Amanda Smyth, etc.
If the bride’s parents are deceased, the invitation could either leave out their names or be worded to read: … daughter of the late Mr and Mrs Cecil Smyth, etc.
Where the groom’s parents host the wedding the invitation could read: Mr and Mrs Cecil Smyth and Mr and Mrs Paddy O’ Grady would like to invite you to the marriage of their children, Amanda Smyth and Patrick O’Grady, etc.
If the hosts are not immediate family, the invitation could be worded: Mr and Mrs Derek Peterson … at the marriage of their niece/god-daughter/cousin, Amanda Smyth, etc.
Be sure to mail invitations about three months and not less than eight weeks before the wedding to give guests enough time to reply. Invitations ought to be sent to all members of the wedding party (except those hosting the event), including the marriage officer. If children are being invited, then each child should be named. If children are not being invited to the wedding, this should be made clear in your invitation with wording similar to: ‘adults-only reception’ or ‘regret no children’.
The invitation should include a reply card with an addressed, stamped return envelope to enable guests to RSVP. An example of wording is: I/We …………. will be able/unable to attend. Number of persons ……. Guests should also be able to indicate any special dietary requirements, such as vegetarian or kosher.
Some couples are choosing to do away with the reply card and include a telephone number at the bottom of the invitation instead.
Remember to provide a reasonable cut off date for RSVP’s of at least four weeks before the wedding. If guests haven’t replied by the RSVP cut off date, you need to do follow ups, they may simply have forgotten to mail the reply card. Get a friend or family member to give them a call or e-mail to find out whether they’ll be attending or not.
Keep the list of addresses once you’ve posted your wedding invitations, you’ll need them to send out thank you notes.
Additional inserts may include information about the bridal registry. This could be provided by the store in which the wedding gifts are registered, and is usually a small card with the name and address of the store and participating branches. If your wedding venue is out of town, details about accommodation at or near the reception venue could be helpful, as well as a map.
Choose a printer by comparing examples of their work and getting separate quotes. Order a few more invitations than you require in case you need to make changes to the guest list and you might also want to keep some as mementos.
Place your order about four months before the wedding, this will give your printer a month to process the order and yourself another few weeks to address and mail the invitations.
Make certain you are given a sample of an invitation before they are printed. Proofread the text carefully and double check that there are no spelling mistakes or omissions.
To work out the number of invitations you’ll need to order, count one for every couple and one for each single guest.