The Ultimate Wedding Stationery Checklist
“What wedding stationery do I need?” is a question I get asked ALL the time as a wedding designer and stationer, along with "what am I forgetting about?!". Well I’m here to answer that question today with a full list of all the stationery you COULD have for your wedding.
A lovely old caveat to start, the emphasis here is on what you COULD have. I am never about pressure, and I fully believe you should have whatever you want at your wedding, make up your own rules, have no stationery at all, it's your day. So with that being said, here's the most common things people have on their stationery list, for both before the day, on the day and after the day - in order of appearance (like in all our fave rom com credits). You can also download this in a printable checklist form here.
1. Wedding Party Proposals
Usually the first people you want to get involved in your wedding is your inner circle wedding party, and this means whoever you want to get involved and whatever titles you want to give them. Bridesmaids, Bridesmen, Best Men, Maids of Honour, Mates of Honour - basically, your crew. Your proposal can be as extravagant or simple as you want it to be, we make proposal cards for example, or we have a proposal box video you can watch - or even if you're just sending them a whatsapp, usually you would let your squad know their roles before any other communication goes out.
WHEN TO SEND?
Depending on the length of your engagement, this would usually be within the first couple of months of getting engaged.
2. Save the Dates
Save the Dates can be quite simple, and are literally what they say on the tin, just asking people to save your wedding date. You don't really need any specific details other than your names and your date, but some people like to put a location and something like "invitations to follow". Save the dates are a chance to be really creative and think outside the box if you want to, because you're less restricted by text. Our favourite Save the Date design is the holographic heart cut out.
9-12 Months before the wedding is your best bet, any later than that and you may as well go straight in with your invitations.
The most obvious thing you think of when you hear "wedding stationery" is probably your invites. There are SO many different forms of invitations, and before you go looking for quotes, the best thing to do is work out how much info you really need on there, and how you want to collect your RSVPs - that will determine your budget and the style of invitation you're looking for.
If you have a wedding website, you can usually get away with having a simpler invitation that just points people towards the website - like this one page design. If you like the idea of everything being a bit more tactile, and you want to collect your RSVPs by post, then a full suite is the choice for you, like our colourful design.
Another thing to think of is the style of invitation you'd like. There are so many possibilities - you can have pockets, concertina folds, gold foil, letterpress, different shapes... the choices really are endless and they all suit different price points, so it's a good idea to have a look around at the different styles you like before you start contacting designers.
I recommend 4-6 Months before (Some say the industry standard is 8-10 weeks, which is fine if you sent out save the dates, but I personally think it's cutting it a bit fine).
Now on to On-the-Day Stationery…
4. Order of service
This is one that catches people out, because they think they are 100% necessary and they aren't always that important. If you are having a super complicated, specific or religious ceremony, then they are useful for explaining what’s going on and the personal significance. For example for our wedding we wrote our own ceremony, and we had a group of our friends conduct it for us, so it was important to us that people knew what was going on and who was leading each section.
Doing an order of service for every guest at a big wedding can be a MASSIVE spend, (it's almost like doing your invitations twice!), so your other options are to make around half the number of guests so people can share, or have a larger board that has all the information on it instead.
Wedding stationers can often also make your signage for you to match the rest of your stationery. Things like a welcome sign, "toilets, dancing this way...", quotes, etc. You don't need to go overboard with signs, but they can be a really nice touch, and help with logistics too. A really popular one is an "order of the day" sign, so your guests can see what's going on when (which helps to avoid that "WHEN ARE WE GOING TO EAT" puzzle from hangry guests - we’ve all been there).
6. TABLE PLAN
Table plans or seating charts are one of the most fun and personal parts of your stationery, and also pretty important logistically if you're having a sit down meal where your guests are seated. You can be super creative with your table plan, they don't have to be a board on an easel (although those are cool too!).
We sell these individual cards that you can arrange yourself as part of a display, or you can get a full printed board, or do something else, like a wedding I designed once had a ladder with gin bottles all over it, and all the table names were gin themed. Consider the placement in the room - is it easy to see, is it well lit, is it going to cause a bottleneck of people gathered around it? It needs to be functional as well as cool.
7. Table numbers or names
Table numbers are great for keeping things simple, but this is also where you can really get your personalities across and have a little nod to something in your relationship with table names. You could do favourite places, tv programmes, music... Or go with something that suits the rest of your wedding, like famous people from the area you're getting married in, or names of constellations - again, the possibilities are endless.
It sounds obvious, but it's surprising how many people forget table numbers or names, and they get everything else put in place but forget that the guests need to know which table is which. Make sure they are easy to read, big enough to be visible and think about how you're going to display them. Do they need to be freestanding, or are they going in a frame, or hanging as part of a display, arranged in your flowers?
8. PLACE CARDS
Also called place settings, name cards or place names; place cards are only needed if your guests are going to be seated in specific seats. My personal favourites are ones that can double up as favours for your guests to take home with them, they are a small detail, but often a nice little keepsake, like these wood slice place cards.
Something to think about is how they're going to be placed on the table, and if you have a specific idea of what you want them to look like, make sure you TELL whoever is going to be putting them out, because chances are it won't be you. Also, bonus tip, don't make them the same colour as the table cloths!
Escort cards are another option, and they're not to be confused with place cards. Escort cards are usually displayed all in one place, and include the table number and the name. So they can be used instead of a table plan with place cards, or instead of place cards - just another way of doing it.
Another thing that people often panic about in their wedding budget is wedding menus. I would say that you probably only need 2 per table of 10 if you're on a budget, and it depends on what sort of food you're having. Think about what people need to know, and what's nice for them to know. Would you be better off having food signs instead? If you’re having a small and intimate wedding and your meal is the focal point, then having one menu per person can be a lovely touch, but for a large wedding it probably isn’t necessary.
10. Gifts and little extras
There are probably people you want to thank on the big day, so lots of people choose to give cards and gifts at weddings to their family and wedding party. These can include: parents cards, wedding party cards (insert roles here) and even things like favour tags for everyone if you're choosing to have wedding favours.
Take this with a pinch of salt, if your love language is giving gifts, then GO FOR IT, I love tiny details like this, but if the thought of buying one more thing fills you with dread, then feel free to skip and show your gratitude in other ways instead.
After the Day Stationery
11. Thank you cards
It’s often a good idea to get your thank you cards sorted out before your wedding, because you can have it match the rest of your stationery and it also saves you time after the day when all you probably want to do is rest. My top tip is when you're opening your wedding cards/gifts make sure to keep your guest list handy, and write down who gave you what - this makes thank you cards SO much easier. We make thank you cards to match each one of our collections, and they’re blank on the back for you to write your own messages.
Usually you can leave it up to a month or two before elderly relatives start to panic about not getting your thank you card, so you can leave these until after your honeymoon if you're going on one right away.
I hope this helps on your quest for stress free wedding stationery! I've got a free checklist/timeline for you to download, but as I said before - EVERYTHING is optional. Marie Kondo it - does stationery bring you joy? Brilliant, really go to town on it and don't feel guilty about it. Does it not interest you in the slightest? That's absolutely fine too! Do what you need to do to keep your wedding as stress free and amazing as possible.