I love stationery. Of all the fiddly little details that go into a wedding, I think stationery might be one of my absolute favourites. And I personally prefer actual paper stationery to digital… Yes, I know. I’m an awful tree-killer. But having an invitation suite or a program physically in your hands is so satisfying- it’s like having a physical book instead of an e-book. Except it’s smaller and prettier and potentially harder to read (you know the wedding fonts I’m referring to).
Here’s how this is going to go: I’m going to list EVERY POSSIBLE PIECE OF STATIONERY YOU COULD POTENTIALLY WANT (probably), with a brief description of what it is, if necessary. Then, at the end of this ungodly long list, I’m going to cut the whole thing down to what are (in my personal opinion) the most basic necessities. By now, you’ll know that I’m not the most traditional wedding planner… I maintain a very laissez-faire, “to each their own” attitude about weddings, traditions be damned. So if my basic necessities list doesn’t work for you, that’s fine- I won’t be offended! This is just my advice to you- not doctrine.
THE LONG LIST
For the sake of keeping this simple, just assume that everything on the Pre-wedding and Post-wedding list needs its own envelope.
- Engagement Party Invitations – Generally, you only need to send invitations for events that you are hosting, yourselves. So if someone else is hosting an event for you, it is up to them to send the invitations.
- Bridal Shower Invitations (If you’re hosting it yourself)
- Bridal Shower Thank You Cards
- Bachelorx Party Invitations (If you’re hosting it yourself)
- Bridal Party Invitations/Proposals – To ask your most beloved, trusted, and/or obligatory humans to be in your bridal party.
- Save the Dates – Only send these to folks you plan on inviting to the wedding. Otherwise, things get very awkward.
- Welcome Dinner Invitations – Welcome dinners are generally done for Destination weddings, but if you like the idea, no one’s stopping you from hosting one!
- Any Welcome Basket/Package Stationery – Again, welcome packages are generally given for destination weddings. But don’t let convention stop you from living your best life!
- Rehearsal Dinner Invitations (If you’re hosting it yourself)
- Invitations – The actual invitation. Includes your names, the hosts’ names (if applicable), the date, the time, and the place.
- Reception Cards – If you’re having your reception at a different location or on a different date, you’ll likely want to include a reception card with all of the relevant information.
- Direction Cards – Contains directions on how to get to your wedding.
- Accommodation Cards – If you have guests coming in from out of town, this card will tell them about where they can stay, as well as any information about blocks of rooms you may have booked.
- Wedsite Cards – The address and (if applicable) password for your wedding website.
- RSVP Cards – Response cards for your guests to send you.
- Three envelopes: RSVP envelopes (self-addressed, for the invitees to use), Inner envelopes, and Outer envelopes.
“What is the difference between inner and outer envelopes,” you ask? The practical answer is: The inner envelope contains the entire invitation suite, and bears the name of whomever you’re actually inviting to the wedding. The outer envelope contains the inner envelope (and all of its contents), and bears the mailing address you’re sending it to. The outer envelope is there to get dirty and creased, so the inner enveloped doesn’t have to.
I know. The part of my that loves elaborate, superfluous things is “ooh”ing and “ahh”ing with glee. And every other part of me is laughing at how silly and unnecessary this whole “two envelopes” business is. But as we know, fancy people with too much money to spend generally get to set the tone for how weddings are supposed to work… so here we are, sending party invites with expensive paper and three envelopes covered with foil or glitter or wax or something.
- “Tourism” Brochure/Package – This is just the name/wording I like to use. This is a brochure, pamphlet, or package designed to give your guests all of the information they might need to plan their trip to your wedding. Places to stay, places to eat and drink, and things to do in the area may all be included here.
- Welcome Sign – “Welcome to the Wedding of XYZ!”
- Direction Signs – If you’re getting married in a bigger venue or in the middle of a large, outdoor space, signs telling your guests where to go are usually very helpful.
- Ceremony Seating Signs – Whether you’re team “Side A and Side B” or team “Pick a Seat, Not a Side,” these tell guests where they should be sitting.
- Reserved Seating Signs – If you’re reserving the front row for immediate family, or reserving a symbolic seat for those who can’t be there, you should probably let your guests know.
- Ceremony Programs – Think of it as a set list for the ceremony.
- Unplugged Ceremony Sign – Do you want your guests to keep their phones, cameras, and devices in their pockets? Let them know!
- Seating Chart or Escort Cards – You don’t generally need both of these. One is a big board telling your guests where to sit, and the other is a display of cards with your guests’ names on them, telling them which table they’re seated at.
- Place Cards
- Table Numbers
- Memorial Sign(s) – If you want to honour loved ones who have died before the wedding
- Menu Cards – These tell your guests what they’re eating.
- Buffet Station Cards (if applicable)
- Favour Cards – These are usually just little tags attached to your wedding favours.
- Any Additional Directional Signs – “Where are the bathrooms?” “Can I smoke out here?” “How do I get to the bar?” Your mileage will vary.
- Thank You Cards
- Wedding Announcements – For those who weren’t at the wedding, but you still want to keep apprised of the situation.
…And that’s the long list. Chances are, you’re either feeling very overwhelmed or (if you’re weird like me) oddly delighted.
Fear not- I can condense this list into about ten necessary items. And some of them may not even apply to your particular wedding:
- Wedding Invitations
- RSVP Cards
- Envelope for the RSVPs
- Envelope for the Invitations
- Welcome Sign – Let your guests know they’re in the right place.
- Ceremony Seating Sign – Tell them what’s expected, re: where to sit.
- Reserved Seating Signs – If you don’t want people sitting somewhere, tape a sign there saying so.
- Seating Chart/Escort Cards – Tell people where to sit.
- Place Cards – Really tell people where to sit.
- Table Numbers – Which table is number four? Spoiler alert: It’s the one with the giant “4” sticking out of it.
- Thank You Cards
That’s it! And if you really want to save money (or the environment), at least half of these can be done digitally.