Wedding Invitation and Stationery Guide
This guide is meant to give you an overview of what goes into the process of creating your wedding invitations and stationery. Not everything may apply to you but it generally covers the needs for most couples. If you’re just starting the planning process, this will help educate you on what’s available and to focus on what meets your needs best.
Learn more about:
What makes up an invitation
Save the dates
Save the dates are generally sent out first. Not every couple sends them and it really depends on your specific needs. For example, if it’s a destination wedding, it’s helpful to give people a long-range heads up. For other couples, if the wedding is local and they’re already let most of their guests know verbally, they skip the save the dates.
Most invitations contain the at least the following:
- ceremony information
- reception information
- RSVP information
Ceremony and Reception information
Many weddings today have the ceremony and reception in the same place, one following the other so usually we put all that information together. If they are being held in different locations, you may want to put them on separate cards, especially if there’s a lot of addressing information to go along with each. Another reason why you’d have two separate cards is if not all the guests are invited to both events.
RSVP cards are what guests send back to inform the couple if they will be attending or not. A stamped and addressed envelope included so all your guests have to do is pop it in the mailbox. Some couples opt to do a postcard RSVP to save on buying envelopes.
If you’re asking guests to respond by phone or electronically (email, wedding website) we can just include it in with the ceremony/reception information. However, some couples still like the look of a separate card and it’s totally fine to put the RSVP information on its own.
Depending on your needs, you may want to include additional inserts for the following:
- Travel information
- Pre and post event
- Hotel and transportation information
- Culture-specific event information such as Maiyans, Mendhis, and wedding party/entourage listings
Wording is very specific to each couple so we don’t provide any wording. What we can offer are examples of common wording and it’s up to you to modify it to suit your needs. IMPORTANT: the spelling and correctness of the wording is the sole responsibility of the client. While we try to catch any obvious errors, we don’t edit or proof any of the content.
The design and production
Custom affords the opportunity to get creative but here are the most standard formats. Most couples start with one of these and then customize it to their liking.
Exactly as it sounds, the invite is made up of individual cards, with printing on one or both sides. If you have multiple flat cards, they can be bundled together with ribbon or a paper band. Here’s an example.
Like a greeting card, the invite is folded in half evenly. The format is popular for invites that are mimicking the look of a book.
This format has the card folded into thirds, though it doesn’t have to be even, with some parts wider than others. This is a popular format as it allows for a lot of information and we’re able to tuck additional loose cards inside. Here’s an example.
Like a flower, this format has a center portion with flaps opening up on all four sides. Here’s an example.
This format has lots of variety but in essence, it involves a pocket to hold loose cards and a couple flaps that fold up so that it’s all contained. Here’s an example.
Jacket pockets, poster size, passport style… the varieties are endless. Custom designs allows you to be creative and a chance to do something different. See our portfolio for more examples.
There’s as much choice in paper as there is colour and it can be overwhelming. The most common options are:
- Smooth, matte paper
- Metallic/shimmer paper
- Textured paper such as linen
- Other specialty paper such as kraft, cotton and wool
The kind of look and feel you’re going with will likely help you narrow down the paper choice. Depending on your design, some paper stocks will be better than others. For example, if you want to print full colour imagery, then a smooth option is best.
- We suggest most invites to be printed on a white or cream colour as it’ll print colour best. If you choose a coloured paper, the results may not be what you intended as then ink is now sitting on top of an existing colour.
- Printing on very dark colours will require special ink such as white or metallic which is more expensive.
- Choosing paper that’s readily available will be the most budget friendly. Opting for hard to find paper, especially for small quantities is expensive as the printer will likely have to buy a quantity far exceeding what you’ll need, and those costs will be passed down to you.
Envelopes, addressing and mailing
There are several ways in which you can address your envelopes, both for the return address and the guest address:
- Handwrite: least expensive but most time consuming. Consider if you have nice penmanship and make sure you leave enough time to address them all.
- Labels: There are lots of options here and you can either have us design ones that match your invite or you can print them on your own at home. Guest addresses can be printed on the labels as well. All we need are the addresses provided to us in an Excel spreadsheet.
- Ink stamp: You can get an ink stamp made for your return address and then simply stamp the envelopes.
- Printed on: We can have your return address and your guest addresses printed directly onto the envelope. This is the most expensive option but the results can be quite lovely and it saves you time from addressing and can get in the mail faster. All we need are the addresses provided to us in an Excel spreadsheet.
If you choose to use dark envelopes, keep in mind you’ll need to pick a pen colour or ink colour that will show up. This can be an additional cost. If you go with labels, then it’s less of an issue.
Your postal service has requirements as to how addresses should be formatted and where they are to be located on the envelope. Check with yours to make sure you have it correct to ensure the invites arrive as intended.
Odd sizing, thickness as well as weight all contribute to postage costs. We do our best to create designs that fall within typical lettermail requirements but will let you know if you are to expect additional postage costs.
The general rule is to set the RSVP date for 4-6 weeks prior to your wedding date and to have the invite arrive 8-12 weeks before the wedding date. For example, wedding date is July 1, RSVP could be June 1 and invites would arrive May 1. Of course, you’re free to change it to suit your needs. For example, if you’re having a destination wedding or are expecting a lot of out of town guests who need to make travel arrangements, then you may want to send them much earlier. If one of your vendors require you to submit a final count by a certain date, again, adjust accordingly. Be sure to consider the time it takes for the mail to arrive as well. During busy periods such as Christmas, you can expect your mail to be delayed.
Quantity to order
A common mistake that couples make is thinking they need one invite per guest. However, most guests are couples or families and for those units, you only need one. Depending on how your guest list is set up, some couples will order extra for last minute guests or “B-list” guests (those who are invited after the first round of RSVPs come in). Don’t forget to order a couple extra for your own keepsake. We also suggest ordering an extra 10-15% of envelopes in case of addressing errors. It’s always less expensive to order them all at once than to order a few here and there as you go.
Day of stationery
This is dependent on the number of people who reply yes to attending as it will also determine the number of tables you’ll have. For menus, it’s up to you if you want one per guest or a couple per table. For programs, most people take one per couple or family so it’s fine to print less. It never hurts to add a few extra just in case, it’s at your discretion.
Day of stationery
Day of stationery includes the following and more:
- Seating charts
- Table numbers
- Place cards
- Favour tags
There is a ton of variation for all these items so it’s best to do a search online or to browse Pinterest for inspiration. In general, we try to stick with formats or sizing that are easy and efficient to print but there’s no reason to not try something different.
Thank you cards
Thank you cards come in two basic formats: as a folded card or as a flat card. Folded cards are more traditional though flat cards are quite popular as well. We’ve have several clients opt for a post card style so they don’t have to pay extra for envelopes.
If you’re wanting to include a photo tucked inside, be sure to choose a thank you card size that will accommodate the photo size. For example, if you want to include a 4″ x 6″ photo, ensure your thank you card and envelope will fit the photo, such as a 5″ x 7″ card.
If you like the idea of using photos from the wedding day but don’t want to print photos for each guest, a photo collage is a good choice.
Thank you cards can be ordered at the time of day of stationery though if you plan on incorporating photos from the wedding, you will need to wait until the photographer is able to give the images to you.