When it comes to a wedding, there are hundreds of details to attend to and it can often feel like a full-time job. From how to budget, to ordering timelines, this post will help demystify the wedding stationery process and set you up for a stress-free experience. Here's our five tips to make planning for your wedding stationery easy. By Montana Bride Vendor Seventh & Anderson
1. KNOW YOUR BUDGET
That's right. Before you book your venue, photographer, florist or any other vendor, 𝐤𝐧𝐨𝐰 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐓𝐎𝐓𝐀𝐋 𝐰𝐞𝐝𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐛𝐮𝐝𝐠𝐞𝐭. Then take that budget and break it down based on 𝒘𝒉𝒂𝒕'𝒔 𝒎𝒐𝒔𝒕 𝒊𝒎𝒑𝒐𝒓𝒕𝒂𝒏𝒕 𝒕𝒐 𝒚𝒐𝒖. Now, you may be asking yourself, "What in the world is she talking about? It's all important!" While that is true, the things I'm talking about are the "non-negotiables." These are the items/vendors that (if available on your date) you absolutely want and are willing to let go of other things in order to make that happen.
When discussing expenses with couples, one of the most common things I'm told is, "I have no idea where to start" when budgeting for their wedding stationery. I get it. While I wish I could give you a quick answer, there are a number of variables that will contribute to the overall cost of your stationery. Printing method, size and number of enclosure cards, and the addition of any accessories, such as wax seals, are just a few examples of the things that factor into the cost. When budgeting, I recommend setting aside 8-10% of your total wedding budget for your invitations, and 2-3% for your wedding day paper goods and stationery.
2. KNOW YOUR NUMBERS
When it comes to weddings, knowing your numbers is key to staying stress-free and on budget. Many wedding related costs are based on your guest count, and invitations are no different. Consider this: Your headcount is likely bouncing around in your head as a critical number for every vendor from the ceremony site to the caterer - since this is the number they are looking for. Want to know a secret? The number of invitations you need is NOT the same as the number of guests you are inviting. Many, if not most, of your guests are members of the same household, which means you can double (or triple, or quadruple!) up to how many individuals a particular invitation is addressed to.
Even with the most diligent planning, mistakes can happen to the best of us - I get it! But knowing how many wedding invitations you need is one scenario you can avoid with proper planning. While you don’t want too many invitations (we don’t want those beauties to go to waste), you also want to make sure you have enough with a handful to spare. Here are some helpful tips to determine the number of invitations to order for your wedding.
One invitation per household
Send one invitation to a married couple or a couple living at the same address. Parents and children living in the same household, i.e. - your uncle, aunt and three cousins - can all be listed on a single invitation. *Note - Children over the age of 18 should receive their own invitation, even if still living in their childhood home.
One invitation per single person
*Note - You can send a single invitation to a non-married guest who is invited to bring a date, if you so choose. Simply add “and guest” to the envelope following the person’s name.
Inviting a set of roommates?
Send roommates their own invitation, even if they are living in the same household.
2-3 for keepsakes, 5-10 extra invitations
Any stationer you talk to will encourage you to order extra invitations. I promise we aren’t trying to “get extra money” from you. We’re actually trying to save you money! Ordering 5-10 invitations later will cost approximately 5x as much as adding a few to your original order, not to mention the additional rush printing and shipping fees.
Extra wedding invitations are helpful in case you:
Forget to invite a friend from work
Have initial cancellations and have room in your guest list to invite additional guests
Have an invitation returned from the postal service and you need to resend and/or it was damaged during mailing (the most common reason brides contact me in a panic to reorder)
If there is an error during assembly or addressing of the envelope
3. WHOSE WEDDING IS IT ANYWAY?
Prior to ordering your wedding invitations, there are some important details you’ll need to have finalized to ensure your guests have all of the important information they need to celebrate with you. HINT: There’s more to it than just your wedding date, time and location. Below is a short list of information you’ll want to know prior to ordering your wedding invitations. Not all of these are going to apply to every celebration, but the list should help you get started.
Names of the hosts
Couple’s names (specifically how you want them shown on the invitation)
Date and time of ceremony
Ceremony and reception location
Menu options (if you are asking your guests to select their meal choice)
RSVP Date (I recommend 4-6 weeks prior to the date your caterer needs your final count)
Preferred hotel recommendations
Directions to venue/map card
Welcome Dinner/Brunch information
Guest’s addresses (if you are wanting the envelopes printed with your guests addresses)
RSVP Return address
Invitation Return Address
4. STATIONERY 101: WHAT PIECES TO INCLUDE IN YOUR INVITATION SUITE
A complete invitation suite includes more than just the date and location of your ceremony. It invites, guides, and informs your guests of pertinent information. Guests may need to know how to find the reception, where to stay and what the dress code is. Today I’m going to walk you through the various pieces and components that make up a wedding invitation suite. The wedding invitation and response card are the obvious pieces, but what about everything else?
The following pieces are the most common items you’ll find in a wedding invitation suite. You may need all these pieces (and more), or just a few of them – it depends on your wedding! If you’re having a casual wedding in your home town, chances are you can skip the directions cards. But if you’re planning an elaborate destination wedding you may want to provide your guests with a lot of information (or maybe just direct them to your wedding website). Still wondering what pieces you truly need? Discuss this at length with your stationer. You may be surprised at the amount of information that can be shared on a single enclosure card.
INVITATION - This is the main component of your invitation suite. It lists all of the important details; the couple’s names, wedding date, time, and ceremony location.
RESPONSE CARD - Your guests will mail back this card indicating who is attending as well as their meal choices, if applicable.
LARGE ENCLOSURE - Commonly used to list preferred hotel accommodations for out of town guests, directions or parking information. Other uses include transportation and shuttle, pre- or post-wedding activities, brunch details or rehearsal dinner details.
SMALL ENCLOSURE - Commonly used as a reception card. If your ceremony is at a different venue than your reception, you will want to use the small enclosure to note the reception address and start time. Other uses include wedding websites, registry details, wishing well requests, or any other brief information you’d like to share.
ACCESSORIES - While not necessary, finishing touches such as wax seals, envelope liners, and belly bands, can elevate your wedding invitation and create a unique and unforgettable look.
5. TIMING IS EVERYTHING
How far in advance should you order your wedding invitations? It’s a good question…and I get it all the time. Invitation designers and stationers have a bit of a different timeline, since all of the preparation is done prior to your wedding day. Unlike other wedding professionals, we are able to work with couples who may share the same wedding date, so while there isn’t a mad dash to reserve your wedding stationery, there is still a time frame to keep in mind.
You will want to reach out to your desired stationer prior to ordering to discuss your wedding invitation ideas in advance. This will help ensure their timeline fits yours and their skill set(s) cover the items you desire. Additionally, they will be able to advise you if additional time is needed for the design/printing process. Want letterpress and/or foil stamping? This automatically adds 5-6 weeks to the printing process alone.
As a bride, you need to keep track of a lot of different dates and information. Like most things, there is an “ideal” amount of time for the invitation process, but every couple has a different amount of time in which to work with. Whether your wedding is in three months or three years, this breakdown will help you decipher when to start your invitation design process.
Stationery | Seventh & Anderson