You’re going to need a heck of a lot of paper, and you’ll want it to be as pretty or stylish as possible. The list includes:
- Invitations (possibly for two venues. These need to be sent out between six and twelve
- weeks before the wedding.)
- Gift lists
- Orders of service
- Place cards
- Table plans
- Wedding favour boxes
- Thank you cards
Most big companies offer other options, like save the date cards (but an email could be better for that). They can usually also supply balloons, table runners and other decorative items.
Some brides or grooms make their own and the handmade touch is charming. You don’t have to make everything from scratch, as most wedding stationery companies have a range of pre-cut paper and card, embellishments, lace and ribbons. Or you could visit a craft shop. There’s such a huge variety of paper-craft items, you could make unique items that match the style and colour palette of your wedding.
Wedding planning is time-consuming though, so adding pressure by making your own stationery might seem too much for you. If you want the handmade look, you could look for a local crafter/designer to do it for you. A quick internet trawl will turn up several people who specialise in working from home to make bespoke stationery. They will have lots of ideas, some of which you might not have thought have and you can talk to them about the style you want. Etsy is a good place to look too. You might even consider asking a local artist, whose work you admire, to change their direction slightly to make stationery for you. If you are not able to visit the person’s workshop or home in person, ask for some samples. This would be a bit pricier than the standard mass-produced stationery, but you would be helping to support local artists and small businesses, which is always a good thing.
When commissioning your stationery, consider what people will need to know and what you need to know from them. When you send out the invitations, it makes sense to include a gift list and an information sheet that tells your guests all they need to know. If you are having a daytime reception and an evening party, you might want to send out an invitation for each event, especially if you have different guest lists for each. If your menu includes options, ask your invitee what they would like to eat. Include an RSVP card and a return envelope, with a stamp, so that guests can let you know whether or not they will attend. Ideally, you want to gather all the information you need for your planning in this one mailing, so follow up with a phone call or email a week or so later if people don’t reply.
When you receive the RSVP cards, keep a careful record of who has confirmed that they will attend, as you will need to inform caterers. Don’t get caught in the trap of inviting someone else to replace those people who say they will not be coming. It’s too complicated, and you have enough to do already.